Monday, April 29, 2013

Home gym vs 'real' gym

For years now, I have been sporadically working out in my home gym, which consists of a basic weight lifting station (with adjustable bench), a hanging heavy bag for boxing (sadly under-utilized!), and old but still working C-2 ergometer (aka rowing machine) and a combination of items which I use in the back patio.  These consist of a Swiss Ball, a medicine ball and various stretch bands which I affix to one of the walls and then push and pull in various directions.  Of course there is also an Atlas brand exercise mat for abs and other exercises.

About 3 years ago, using exclusively the home gym - plus lots of running - I was in peak condition with relatively low body fat, weight around 160.

Subsequently due to the on-going plantar fasciitis issue I have had to stop running,but I did join a regular gym (LA Fitness) and work out there at least twice per week with a personal trainer.

The results so far have been unspectacular, mostly because my weight has not dropped.  At least it hasn't increased any further either!

So what do I like most about the 'real' gym versus my back-yard gym?

There are other people around, for one thing.  Always interesting to see what other folks are getting up to, and it is inspiring to see some of the 'beach body' types.  Also you realize all too soon that there are many other people in even worse shape than you!

I like the fact that the gym has literally dozens of machines, one for practically every part/muscle of the body.  It is really quite amazing to have such a variety of equipment - often more than one in the same category.  There are also rows and rows of aerobic stations.  Some of which - alas - I can't use right now, such as the treadmill.  The time will come.

LA Fitness also has a wide variety of free excercise classing ranging from spinning to AbWorks and more.  In due course I am going to join one of these on a regular basis. 

The big advantage of the home gym is of course that you don't have to travel to get to it.  Always available - literally 24/7.  My LA Fitness gym is only about 2 miles away so just over 5 minutes to get to, which is not bad.  There is also an economic incentive to use the LA Fitness facility regularly - which is of course the fact that it costs me about $30 per month! 

Sunday, April 28, 2013


I haven't made much progress with the weight-loss:  not running has just not been any good for my waist-line.  I try to get out on the mountain bike for an hour every day and succeed about 4 to maybe 5 times per week.  While fun and certainly taxing on the legs, mountain biking is just not nearly as effective as keeping the pounds off, at least not for this individual.

Unfortunately the plantar fasciitis is still around.  It is not painful when waking up in the morning and doesn't present any real issues in just getting around.  So I can do all the routine things such as walking around, the grocery store, going to the movies, a sport event, or whatever.  As soon as I start to walk any longish distance - a half or mile or so - things change.   I  start to feel the stress on the leg and by the next morning there will be some low-level pain and disomfort.  Back where we started.

I am now really close to the point where I am going to seek out a surgeon to do endoscopic plantar fascia release.  Will give it another few weeks as I have an upcoming trip to Africa starting on May 21 and lasting until June 19.

Something that is going well is my photography, getting the 'hang' of my new Nikon D-4 camera.  Here are a couple of pics I took last week at the J Fred Duckett twilight event at Rice University. 
The lens I used was a Nikon 200-400 Zoom with 1.7 teleconverter. f/6.7, 1/3200 sec, ISO 3200. With my D-300 I might get 'lucky' and get a shot like this. With the D-4 firing at 9 frames per second there is (almost) no luck involved,  All you need is a good angle, some side-lighting and enough depth of field. It helps to be able to push the ISO and still get nice detail as is visible on the hair.