Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hanging with Arnold Swarzenegger (pre governator)

There was a 12-day gap between our last two posts because I wasn't sure how to write about our main activity of late.  Nothing weird or dangerous or remotely criminal.  Well, maybe somewhat dangerous, for us at least:  We’ve been working out at the Air Force base gym.

Jim and I have long been hikers. In the last year we've also kayaked when we have an opportunity, i.e., we're someplace other than Tucson.  Jim worked as a forest ranger for 20 years, so he used to get a lot of on-the-job exercise. I lifted weights off and on, but was last serious about it when Salt Lake City’s Deseret Gymnasium still existed, and anyone from SLC knows how long ago that was. 

Now, however, we are both working out on elliptical machines and lifting weights. The extra muscle weight lifting creates is good for you. With more muscle you burn more fat just sitting around because it takes more calories to support muscle than it does to support fat.  More muscle helps stave off osteoporosis because it actually builds bone. Stronger muscles help keep your joints in good shape. And on and on. But in the time since I worked out at the DG many years ago, I've acquired bad shoulders and a repaired meniscus. So I thought it might be wise to get a personal trainer.  Enter Coach Kayla.

Before Kayla, Jim and I were usually exercising about an hour a day on elliptical trainers and Jim was lifting weights. Since Kayla, I’ve added three days of weight training, cut back on the elliptical, and am doing about 20 minutes of what’s called high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in my elliptical workout.  In a HIIT workout you go all out for 15 seconds, then work out at a slower, more comfortable pace for the next 45 seconds.  Repeat 20 times.  (But build up to that 20 minutes --- no one needs to stroke out.) I do a lighter aerobic (walking/hiking/elliptical) workout on the days I weight train because I’m not crazy and I don’t want to blow out my knee or some other body part.

Jim nixed the idea of a personal trainer for himself because, and I'm quoting him here, he "does not put much stock in someone else's opinion."  He also says he's "not coachable," which this recent conversation illustrates:
Me:  Coach Kayla says to use the “talk test” to tell when I’m going full out during HIIT.  That means to push yourself to the point where you could not carry on a conversation, then slack off to where it would be comfortable to talk. Then repeat.

Jim:  What SPMs [steps per minutes] are you at?

Me:  I don’t know. I’m not looking. I’m using the talk test.

Jim:  What are you supposed to get your heart rate up to?

Me:  I'm just supposed to go as fast as I can take it. A couple of times near the end I noticed I was in the 140s, but I’m not really paying attention to heart rate. I’m using the talk test.

Jim:  So you are talking out loud while you are using the elliptical?

Me.  No.  If I’m going too fast to talk, I’m not talking. I can just tell when I’d be able to talk or not. 

Jim:  How do you tell?


Jim:  Let’s go get a beer.

Like Jim says, he's not coachable.  But he's a great husband so I'll let it slide.


  1. I've never more admired Jim!

  2. Hi, just came across your blog searching for info about hiking up Telegraph Mt near Yuma. We've been fulltiming in our Lazy Daze now for over 5 years. Too bad you didn't join the group in Quartzsite, it was a fun time.I will bookmark your blog for hiking ideas. Maybe we'll meet up down the road one of these days!

    1. Hi Jim and Gayle! Thanks for checking in with us. We've camped "off season" at Quartzsite but not in January. We really do need to go. Next year, maybe? I just checked your blog and bookmarked it, too. Hope everyone's teeth are A OK!