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How to start getting fit and trim

11 Mar


It turned out that my mountain bike and somebody to ride with the key to getting started “fitting up”.   The bike provided the exercise platform and the friend provided the ‘Come on, let’s go!” call to action  The friend also provided the before, during and after feedback.  I think feedback is an important tool we often misunderstand.  

A 2.5 mile ride around town was followed a couple days later by a 5 mile ride out to a river dike and over the grass out to the end and back.  I was completely spent after the second ride.  Exhausted!  

We both continued riding, sometimes alone, sometimes together, but always sharing what we had done and sharing the joy and pain.  We would challenge ourselves and each other to ride a little farther occasionally.  “Hmm, I wonder if I could ride 8 miles out to the next town and back?”   It was helpful to plan out a few loops so the return trip covered different ground than the outbound portion.  At 13.5 miles we concluded that the mountain bikes were not the most efficient vehicle for these over the road trips, so we both got road bikes.  I happened to find a cool triathlon bike on Craigslist for my first road bike.   I still have and love that bike, but I did eventually get a regular road bike also.  

Within only a few months we were riding 20 miles no problem.  It would take about 2 hours because of occasional stops.  

A funny thing happens after about 2 hours of riding, or any other strenuous form of exercise, you run out of energy in your legs.  Runners and bike riders call it “Bonking”.  I was riding one time and my speed went from 13.5 mph to 8-9 mph kind of all at once.  I was just exhausted for no reason it seemed.  Another friend we were riding with asked “Have you eaten anything since we started”, to which I answered “No”.  He gave me a potato and a candy bar and said wait 10 minutes and you’ll feel better.  I did, but not 100 percent still.  Once you “Bonk” it is very hard to get back to 100 percent.  Since then I have been vigilant to consume some calories every 30 minutes or so.  

Bonking occurs because your muscles run out of glycogen in your muscles and liver.  The liver actually stores quite a bit of glycogen and your muscles do also.  Who knew our liver is part of the fuel tank of our body?  I didn’t.  

On really long rides I would alternate drinking a bottle of Gatorade, then plain clean water, carrying a bottle of each from the start.  Cold steamed potatoes and dried Mangos or a Candy Bar would fill in also.  It is amazing the stamina that eating some Mango before climbing a hill or long incline can give you.  Plan to eat the mango at least 3 minutes before the hill.  When you are tired of eating sweet things, switch to the potato.  The body food to fuel conversion process works really good with potatoes.  

The connection between Nutrition and Exercise became a fascination for me.  It led me to eat more healthfully.  An after ride meal is very important because your body needs to replenish all of the glycogen that was used up riding.  Immediately after a ride, a chocolate milk and banana are a really good choice, followed about 30 minutes later with a nice meal containing vegetables.  

I can’t even count how many different towns I have biked through on my way to another town.  It is really amazing travelling town to town using only pedal power!

I could not jog at the beginning of this journey because my knees would experience great pain after only a mile jogging every time.  After about a year of riding though, the physical therapy of bike riding actually improved my knees to the point where I could jog a mile without pain.   I even used my triathlon bike to enter and finish 2 triathlons.

The exhaustion experienced in the early rides seems funny now looking back, because about a year into riding, we rode the Seattle to Vancouver ride in two days, and the next year the 202 mile Seattle to Portland ride in one day!  50-100 miles in a day was possible after just a year of training!  This still seems quite remarkable to me.  A good friend made the comment one day that the rides never get easier, you just get faster and go farther!  I have found this a particularly true statement.  

So I did get pretty trim and fit!  By adding jogging and swimming I became pretty happy about my fitness level, and the improved knee fitness.  I also discovered Foundation Training which improved my back and hamstring-glute connection fitness.  

I never finished any race in first place, but I never really cared about that.  I just had fun and did my best, at a reasonable pace!

Start your journey today!  

Hit the Reset button!

30 Sep

I find it helpful to start each day by re-defining who I am.  This is really a re-affirmation of who I believe I want to be, and helps me to strive to make it happen again today.

Today I want to be aware that I am not in control of the universe.  I might need help today to survive.  That help may even come from a power greater than me.  I will pray and meditate today.  I will strive to be a benefit today to mankind.

If I don’t start the day this way I am more apt to fall into old bad habits and selfish motives that lead me to be someone that I don’t particularly admire.

So, I find it helpful to hit the reset button every morning when I wake up.  I roll off my bed onto the floor.  Say a few prayers about who I want to be, and then meditate for 5 minutes.  I use a timer on my phone to help me out with a friendly chime at 5 minutes.  It is amazing how helpful this is in setting myself on the right track spiritually and emotionally for the day.

Reset Button Pic

Thanks for reading, feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments below.    

Richard C.

Jungle Fever

8 Nov

Djembe is a popular drum throughout West Africa.

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I chronicled the successful results of Falling Awake.

Waking up by doing the opposite of trying to fall asleep.

  • Think of a bunch of random things
  • Start moving and making noise using a drum of some kind

I successfully woke my reluctant self up quite handily this morning at 5:55am despite feeling a slight cold coming on and muscle soreness from working out yesterday evening.  The random thoughts part did not really do much but the drumming gently woke me up for sure!

I happen to have a wooden Djembe hand drum like the one above.  The Djembe drum I have is about 24″ tall, which seems a little large to be dragging under the covers, but I leave the top out and just start tapping on it.  Pretty soon I want to hear its full sound so I have to pull the covers back to uncover it.  Then to get a nicer pop, I have to focus on hitting it better which engages my hand/brain coordination.  Next thing you know, I am jamming out a groove on it and I am awake.

You could use an old coffee can or something equivalent.  I think any smallish drum type thing would work really.

It is kind of a Primal way to wake up for sure.  Give it a try!

Next I shall have to work on a standard post wake up protocol, something along the lines of the Basic Day Template.  I could probably just use the BDT, but I would like to somehow automate it.

Falling Awake is a success

7 Nov

Noise Pollution

Image by agroffman via Flickr

To wake up – do the opposite of falling asleep!

  • start thinking of something,
  • start making noise,
  • start moving

I have researched on the internet a bunch on how to wake up and no one seems to know about this technique.

When trying to fall asleep you want to calm your mind, be quiet and still.  If you do these things when trying to wake up you will be sending the opposite message to yourself.

Think of something – I have tried counting to ten slowly, then again faster, then again faster until my brain gets up to speed.  Sort of a brain motor warming up exercise.  This is just a test of the brain CPU and operating system software so to speak.  Try thinking of random things, types of animals on a farm etc.  Don’t worry if you do not increase awakeness at this stage, the next exercise will take case of that.

Move and Make Noise – Get a drum or a pad of paper or something and start playing it like a bongo slowly, then gradually speed up the tempo until you are really goovin’.  (this accomplishes both the noise and the movement part).  This is really where the action is!  Even if my brain will not fire up very well from step 1, step 2 will launch awakeness.  Drag the drum into bed and just start tapping out a simple beat on it.  Get at least a finger from each hand involved.  Then as you climb towards awareness, start hitting the drum a bit harder and try a different more complex beat.  If you progress to where you can sit up a play you have pretty much made it awake.  Congratulations!

Now get up and blow a horn – or – if you might disturb someone put a pillow over your face and yell loudly something fun!

I have only just discovered this, but I think it will work on a pretty consistent basis.  

If you want to read what I think is also a good expose on waking up try Steve Pavlina’s post at

Steve’s post is pretty long, but I believe he has some good points.  Better than the other standard tips I’ve read.


25 Oct


Image by zigazou76 via Flickr


You don’t really have to be perfect.  I’m not.  Today I barely managed to get 4 of the 8 things in my Daily Template post accomplished.

  • Brushed my teeth with my weapon of mass destruction (tooth brush).
  • Showered and got dressed.
  • Ate a  healthy something.
  • Was thankful for not having a migraine headache like I did  Saturday morning.

I did not stretch, listen to music, clean up after myself, or be loving to those I live with (well, my housemate was out of town so I did not have an opportunity).

So I managed about 50% on my list.  At least I am somewhat keeping track.  I am really trying to monitor my own habits.  By recognizing my shortfalls I can try to show improvement tomorrow.

You obviously do not need to follow my list, but you might want to make one of your own and see how closely you can follow it.

Do your best most of the time and take note when you are slacking. 

Seek Challenge

24 Oct


Image by julie.froo via Flickr

What new challenge will today bring?

Challenges can:

  • cause fear – maybe it is something you are not looking forward to that is ahead.
  • bring excitement – a golf game perhaps, or that fishing trip
  • create progress – perhaps building something, or managing people (even a family)
  • cause growth – such as working out builds muscle later when you are resting
Yes challenges can be stressful, but stress is not bad, distress is bad, and a good challenge will almost always cause growth.  Getting out of bed can be considered a very simple challenge, but I swear it will cause you to grow!

Why seek a challenge?

  • There can be simple pleasure involved even in easy challenges such as taking a shower.
  • There can be enormous pleasure in accomplishing a big task.
  • Seeking a challenge is better than the opposite – hiding!

So get out there today and make a difference!

Be Thankful

20 Oct

Mickey Doodle the cat

Mickey Doodle - my cat (posterized!)

When you wake up, or somewhere within your morning, it is a great idea to think of something you are thankful for and say it out loud to yourself.

A friend suggested this, and that I add it to my daily template, so first I tried it out.

  • Yesterday I was thankful that I had the use of my legs.

Simple enough, but I am especially thankful because I was in a gnarly bike accident last weekend and managed to not break anything.  I repeated this out loud to myself several times throughout the day and it had an uplifting and grounding effect each time.  So I am officially recommending this practice and am going to go back and add it into my daily template post.

  • Today I am thankful for my cat Mickey Doodle (aka “Dude!”) shown above in the photo.
If you need a little help, take a visit over to Be Thankful. com

Music can make it happen

19 Oct

Music guitar

Image by doug88888 via Flickr

This set of Samba music is pretty good at starting some wiggle action in the reluctant morning body.

Latin music, samba, bosa nova, any island sounding music gives a happy feeling like I am on vacation somewhere exotic.  I know it is just a trick to pick up my soul tempo but I don’t care. It feels pretty good, that’s what counts.

You can easily make your own playlist too at


18 Oct

Focussing Hard

Image by Sam Judson via Flickr

Focus is something I seem to lack when I wake up.  I am a person that does not like alarm clocks in general, so usually I just wake up.  But when I do wake up it feels like everything is a blur.   It is like the whole world is mentally out of focus because I have been in the dream world.

By trying to focus on something, I can then climb into reality, and begin to function, get out of park and into drive so to speak.

Whatever you choose to focus on is up to you.  When you do focus, I think you will find getting up a little easier.

I try to narrow my focus to achieving one of the 8 things in my basic  day template like Yoga.  Then the other 7 things kind of follow.

Motivation or Inspiration?

13 Oct

W6 - Women

Image by Siddy Lam via Flickr

Motivation is a something that drives you. Intrinsically or extrinsically.

  • Being chased by a barking German Shepherd would motivate me to run away fast.  This would minimize impending pain!
Inspiration is something that leads you to be creative or inventive.
  • A beautiful woman with two ice cold Mai Thais would both inspire and motivate me to run towards her fast.  It would be a beautiful thing if I could get there fast to share that lovely Mai Thai with her.  Perhaps we could create beautiful music together!  It is motivational in that this could maximize pleasure!
Either way there is running!
I’m sure there is more to it than that.  But if you are lacking drive today  you might want to ask yourself which you are lacking in.  I suppose you can persevere or run for the sake of running some of the time, but it is nice to have a goal to run towards or away from.   That’s just my thought on it.
From wikipedia:

Inspiration or Inspire may refer to:

Motivation is the driving force by which humans achieve their goals. Motivation is said to be intrinsic or extrinsic.[1] The term is generally used for humans but it can also be used to describe the causes for animal behavior as well. This article refers to human motivation. According to various theories, motivation may be rooted in a basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, goal, state of being, ideal, or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruismselfishnessmorality, or avoiding mortality. Conceptually, motivation should not be confused with either volition or optimism.[2] Motivation is related to, but distinct from, emotion.