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A pretty good week, fitness-wise. The end of week and weekend provided me with the chance to cycle. Friday I simply rode to taekwondo, Saturday morning I got a bit over 12 miles in, and Sunday I got a solid 22 miler in. Sunday’s ride was both hard and eye opening. Part of me wants to reclaim the form I has in my youth. This ride was the longest I’ve had in years; over a decade. I covered a small part of one of my favorite rides. One that is built for climbing. One that showed, glaringly so, how much work I have in front of me.

My feelings weren’t negative, though; not at all. Tranquility really defines my attitude afterwards. I pushed hard, but was mostly able to meet it. I know I can reclaim something.

Oddly, I’m really not trying to “reclaim”. I’m looking for a whole different way. My youthful eating was horrible. The habits I formed dreadful for my long-term health. So, the only piece of reclamation is the time I spent on fitness. Above that, I seek to add a better diet, with deeper insights into health.

I am trying to build a truly healthy, fitness focused lifestyle. And I can see the transformation. It feels great.

On a regular basis, I get hit with complaints that I didn’t respond to a message. “I left a message with you 10 minutes ago. Why haven’t your replied?” I get hit with this in all sincerity and, sometimes, with angry vigor. Another colleague was lamenting to me that they’d sent several emails and left several voicemails that morning and were ANGRY that the hadn’t heard back. She was a bit taken back when I pointed out that this person has 100s of clients and is extremely over-worked, and that I was certain there was no insult meant by her less-timely response. 

I think that this stems from our always-on world. Email, texts, etc, come fast; we have nearly instantaneous communication. We get answers from Google/Bing instantly. We are accustomed to immediate response. So, waiting even several minutes feels unreasonable.

I notice, though, that when people are drawn out of themselves, raising their focus, they easily see the bigger picture. They see that I really can’t respond instantly to each of the 100 some odd emails I get in a day. And that taking some time to respond isn’t disrespectful.  

Perhaps we need to just slow down. Perhaps we can. Perhaps….

The first thing I do when one of those obnoxious, over-loud video ads launches on a website I just opened starts playing is to close the whole page. I have to be pretty committed to reading the article for me to stick around through that, or to try and locate the “off” or “mute” button for the bloody thing. 
So, for those of you promoting advertising on your website, you now have something to consider. Of course, I should look at running Ad-Blocker or something like that and move this nuisance into historical reference. 

The first thing I do when one of those obnoxious, over-loud video ads launches on a website I just opened starts playing is to close the whole page. I have to be pretty committed to reading the article for me to stick around through that, or to try and locate the “off” or “mute” button for the bloody thing. 

So, for those of you promoting advertising on your website, you now have something to consider. Of course, I should look at running Ad-Blocker or something like that and move this nuisance into historical reference. 

I loved this piece from Fast Company, “Why Productive People Take Better Notes. As a student if effective living, these sorts of articles grab my attention.

Ah, notes…glorious notes! I’ve been an avid note taker most of my life. The hints here include a few I already use, and some clever ideas that need to incorporate.

My main note taking tool has long been pen & notebook. My favorite combo is moleskine and a good pen. Yet Evernote is another favorite tool. I’ve combined the two for quite sometime now. Sometimes I’ll take notes directly into Evernote. Often, for many reasons, I’ll opt to write out the notes and then enter them into Evernote. Evernote’s strength, to me, is the ability to search, quickly. Also, I have it installed on all my computing devices: iPhone, tablet, work & home computer, and I can access via the web.

Oddly, though, I prefer to read from my pen & paper notebooks. Searchability aside, reading is more pleasurable to me in paper. This keeps me using this tandem system.

There is an additional benefit to this. By taking a few minutes to review notes before, and them typing them, it refreshes and renews the information. Drives it deeper into my mind, transferring it into long-term memory.

I like the suggestion of taking multicolored pens during review. Sounds brilliant! It’s these little tricks I love. Do you have any?

Gave the “About Me” section a bit of a tweak. Give it a gander and tell me what you think.

http://notjustseattle.com/about/

Hope everyone enjoyed the delightful weather this weekend. It was a great time to be outdoors.

Just weighed myself. To my horror, I’ve gained 6 pounds! Huh? I’ve been diligent about taking my calories, having solid confidence in my data. My pants are another belt notch tighter. I can see better definition in my upper body. “How could I have slipped”, you might ask. My answer: it’s more complex.

Besides running and cycling, I’m into taekwondo. Actually, martial arts is my primary fitness activity. And that’s the main complicating factor. Recently, I’ve focused heavily on core training. My abs, arms and back have been worked hard. I was frustrated by failing to get past ten pushups. And I’m getting results. I can do more, way more pushups and crunches. But muscle weighs more (pet unit volume) than fat. Thus, significant muscle growth often gains weight faster than fat loss will lose it.

So many folks’ single health metric is weight. Really, we should add other pieces: arm, leg, chest size, distance, time, weight lifted, etc… All of these are more important measures of fitness. And, if fat loss is the goal, then BMI.

My goal is better health, to grow fitter. More pushup capacity, to be able to run with joy, and greater endurance with my running and cycling. Over the next year or so, I want to ride the Seattle to Portland, run a 5k, increase my flexibility and crank out more pushups than the twenty-year-olds in my taekwondo studio.

That will serve me better than simply focusing on weight. And my vision is long-term.

Though it’s a bit unusual for this time of year, I’m enjoying the grey skies this early AM, followed by the sun-shiny afternoons. Perhaps odd to some, grey skies are something I enjoy. They’re calming, tranquil. Yet, I understand why some find them depressing. I love that and mists moving through the trees.

It’s the little things, I guess.

As a parent, you get to have these zany birthday weekends. Tonight we’re going to Red Robin, tomorrow to a friend’s backyard, and then Sunday we’ll be spending several hours at the Lynnwood Pool. Cake and pizza in extreme, I’m sure. Fortunately, the back-to-back pool parties might give a chance to explore the other elements of the fitness center. I’ve seen the space via pictures and from the street. So, maybe, I’ll get in there and explore the space. Burn off some of those zillons of calories.

I’ll also try to fit in a ride or run (or two).

I remember reading Scott Cutshall’s story a little while back (read it here). My thoughts on running, fitness, and all that over the past few days brought it back to the front of my mind. Part of what connected me was his journey, but not just the effectiveness (massive weight-loss). No, what really struck me was a simple truth: he gained health by finding something he loved and letting it pull him along. I’ve long felt the way to a healthy life was to find something physical that you loved. That, even was dripping sweat, feeling exhaustion, facing your next appointment, you keep thinking “can I squeeze just a few more minutes?”

Passion, joy, that’s really what makes this happen. Go and find yours!

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