Friday, May 28, 2010


“Woo Hoo”, often erupts during Boot Camp like the blare of a trumpet.
I don’t know where she comes from, her goal, “I just want to have fun”.
Sounds like a California type thing.
You know, California girls, Valley girls, just wanting to have fun, Beach Blanket Bingo, Frankie Avalon, the Beach Boys.
But “Woo Hoo” is not really Valspeak (Valley Speak) but instead a phrase more recently popularized by Homer Simpson.
The Urban Dictionary defines “Woo Hoo”: (A word used when you are overly excited, hyper, having fun, or when something great happened to you. You can also use this word repeatedly when you are bored and want to annoy someone as an expression of excitement meant to annoy.)
“Woo’ Hoo” is defined by the internet free dictionary as a sailfish.
“Woo Hoo” the song, was recorded by the band, Rock-A-Teens, in 1959.
“Woo Hoo” the song, has been featured in such films as Kill Bill Vol.1 and Glory Road.
The French psycho-billy band Le Wampas featured the song under the title “ye ye punk”.
Chevrolet used “Woo Hoo” in the ads for the Chevy Cobalt, and to think, we bailed them out.
If you change the spelling slightly to Wu Hu, you are then referring to a nomadic Chinese tribe that lived from the 4th to 5th century AD.
It was Tex Avery who created the original version of Daffy Duck in 1937. Daffy established his status by jumping into the water, hopping around, and yelling, "Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo! Hoo-hoo! Woo-hoo!".
So where does that leave “Woo Hoo/Wu Hu” in Boot Camp?
An ancient Chinese Nomad just passing through, a fan of Daffy Duck, Homer Simpson, Kill Bill Vol. 1, possibly a seafood fanatic or an owner of the Cobalt, your guess is as good as mine.
“Twenty-five jump squats and now”, is where it leaves the group when too many “Woo Hoos” fill the air.
I guess it has been good for my quads but standing too close, it does seem to find its way into the deeper recesses of the brain and occasionally “jiggles” the hind brain.
In Freudian Theory the thoughts and desires banished to the unconscious mind motivate the behavior of the conscious mind.
So be careful when you “jiggle” the hind brain or you may release a Hyde from a Jekyll.
And boy, do Hyde’s ever love jump squats.

What Time Is It

“What time are you going to the gym tonight”?
“5:30 P.M., tonight is spin, I am going to try to get a bike”; “I think I will stay and lift after the class or maybe even lift before spin if I get there in time”.
“Well I won’t be home until later, most likely 8:00 P.M. or so”.
“There are more "black bean" burgers in the freezer”.
“I might just get a protein shake”.
“What time is it”?
“5:00 A.M., I’m off to spin and get strong”.
“Have a good one; you should spin in the evening or on the weekend one of these days with me”.
“As soon as I get comfortable with this whole bike thing, I will”.
“What time is it”?
“It’s about 8:30 P.M.”.
“Did you spin tonight or just work out”?
“Well I am going to bed as I am really tired”.
“I will be right behind you”.
“What time is it”?
“Looks like 2:45 A.M.”.
“Are you having trouble sleeping”?
“Yeah, I think I have too much energy to fall asleep”.
“Well don’t get any ideas, I have to spin in the morning”.
“Well that’s a new spin on an old story”.
“What time is it”?
“4:45 A.M., guess I will go ahead and get up and get to the gym early to spin”.
I think to myself sometime later, “What time is it”, as I roll over and look at the clock, 5:24 A.M.
“Might as well get up and start this day”.
“What time is that luncheon”?
Note to wife, call me and let me know, “What time is the luncheon”?
“Are they serving something I can eat”?
“Just quit complaining and go with the vegetables”.
“What time is it”?
“I think it is, uuuh, it looks like 1:45 A.M.”.
“Why are we talking at 1:45 A.M.”?
“Guess, because we can’t sleep”.
“Is the gym open”?
“Yeah I think the one in Newburgh is open”?
“Want to go spin”?
“I thought you would never ask”.
“We can eat the leftover sprouts on the way”.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


There are in this world a group of people I refer to as High Performance people, people with the characteristic of “hyper-formance”.
These are the individuals that push the limits of human endurance, strength and tenacity; the hyper-milers, the cyclists, soccer players, Iron Men/Women, gymnasts, the strong men, those that would attempt the Ultimate Triathlon;
(Swim the English Channel, cycle the Tour de France, run the Marathon des Sables, all in sequence).
As of this writing I don’t know if the above is a recognized triathlon but each leg does exist and one individual did try to accomplish this very daunting task, Mr. Chris Pountney (2007-2009; Search Ultimate Triathlon).
The challenge,
(The Marathon des Sables is a 240-km foot-race across the Sahara desert in which competitors must carry all food and kit. It is often described as 'the toughest foot-race on earth.'
The Tour de France is a 3,000km, 3-week bike race through Western Europe which even many elite riders are happy just to finish. The route changes each year but always takes in some intense climbs through the mountains.
Swimming the English Channel is an incredibly difficult 35-km swim in cold water which takes months of daily training to prepare for, and on average 14 hours to swim. It is regarded as the pinnacle of open water swimming
These are amazing people with amazing endurance and some of these “hyper-formance” people train at the local gyms in our fair city.
One, arrives early every day, stays late, trains people, exercises with the power lifters, leads Spin Classes, supervises and participates in Boot Camp, choreographs Power Pump and somewhere in all of this attends to the activities of daily life and family.
A few of the die-hard “Boot Campers” attend two sessions of Camp on the same day interspersing lifting or Power Pump between the Camps. These same people attend multiple Spin Classes and find time to put in several hours or miles on the treadmill many times a week while holding down jobs, raising children and even cutting the grass.
Others spend hours a week, like “Superman” or the “bench presser” (looking to best a 400+ pound bench press), both training for upcoming competitions.
The power lifters squat with bars loaded at 400 to 600 pounds.
Dumbbells flys with 100 pound weights are not uncommon.
The early risers, “the”, that gather three time a week for aerobics and strength training also gets a big nod (my wife can be counted in this group) because I am sure that even my blood pressure is not up at 5:00A.M.
The doctor in me wants to measure the aerobic capacity and study each of these people but if I instead accept them as role models, given time and a lot of sweat equity, I may yet achieve “hyper-formance” and discover my own Ultimate Challenge or extreme limit.
Has anyone ever Circum-Polared the globe on a bicycle or survived on a fiber bar a day?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Will I Ever Get It

Every time I convince myself of significant progress in my “quest” for health, vigor and new strength, every time I become a little too full of myself; there is Sparta.
An example.
A few Blogs ago, I wrote of weights, reps, speed; I was self-satisfied.
Being self satisfied is dangerous; it is like believing your own “press releases”.
It is OK to have “press releases” just don’t accept them as “true”.
Never put in writing, what may come back to haunt you.
Best of all worlds; let someone else write about your achievements.
This past Saturday, Boot Camp, followed by training.
The first machine, the reclining bench press; a machine to help build chest muscles.
Sparta readies the machine and loads up a small amount of weight; do the standard number of reps, wait a few minutes, more weight, again a specified number of reps but with a twist, “don’t do them so fast, slow the tempo”.
"This is different; it is a more difficult", I say, Sparta explains, “The momentum factor is gone, now it is all you”.
Finished, sweating some, more weight piles on, the magic 180, “now do slow reps”.
Sparta gets ready to assist. She never does this unless asked or she anticipates failure or possible injury.
No surprise, she helps me finish.
Next drop sets, again slowly and with each set I can feel the arms turning to soggy pasta, not even al dente.
It is like this at each station, light weights, slow motion movements and critiques of my technique.
Each little addition brings sensations of new muscles being recruited and old scars being pulled into action.
“Feeling anything different”?
“Yes” I say matter-of-factly, “I do believe this might pull my incision line apart; the next thing you could see is a live beating heart, mine”.
Concern appears to register until I start laughing, but truthfully I can actually feel the attachments on the sternum coming into play.
They fatigue quickly.
The last machine, the last set, "21", she says; more laughing followed by 21 with mainly Sparta doing the most work.
I know I am going to be sore in a few hours, for a few days and have a badly bruised “ego”.
The best remedy for that, pain relievers and another big piece of “Mom’s own Humble Pie”.
Luckily my wife knows me well enough to keep a large supply of that on hand.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Well It Is all About Ken

Monday, get to the gym early and head up to claim a bike for the full one and one half hour spin class.
I am excited; I have never been in this class.
I usually end up in the 45 minute class on Monday and the one hour class on Sunday.
So I set up the bike and begin the ride.
The first 45 minutes goes by as expected, it takes 45 minutes, the music is OK.
Several new players file in at the break as some of the first group pile out.
I stay; I gave up a bike during the last one and one half hour session.
Then the question, “What do you want CD-1 or CD-2”?
Cheshire speaks up, “CD 2”.
“Ok, it is number 2”.
The first notes crash out over the loud speakers; the didjeridu intones and is joined by an African voice.
It is an eclectic mixture but hauntingly beautiful; it drives the effort.
I say to no one, “Good, I love this one”.
“Well, it is all about Ken”, says the trainer.
“Yeah it is all about Ken”, comes another voice from the darkened room.
Can you blush in the dark?
I did.
What the hell was that all about?
The trainer adds, “At least in Ken’s world”.
I am puzzled, usually an attack is frontal, this is more devious, Ninja style, striking from an unknown direction for an unknown purpose.
Maybe if I am saying it to no one I shouldn’t say it at all.
I turn to cement.
It is an easy transition.
I just need to be careful how far I sink since I need to hear the cadence and command changes for the class.
I turn the resistance a little harder on the flats, harder up the hill, harder climbing the wall.
I don’t even finish climbing the wall, “Only five minutes to go”.
I have worked harder than usual, but in spite of that the second forty five minutes is reduced to less than ten (at least in Ken’s World).
A time warp has invaded Ken’s world; it seemed to coincide with the “cement state”.
What is going on?
Is it psychology (to get more work from an angry peon), is it a reaction to a Blog, is it a form of subliminal torture or is it just carry over from the second grade, you know going after the odd kid?
Maybe 63 year old people are odd if they do the one and one half hour spin class.
Now I even wonder if they would pick me for Red Rover Red Rover.
I assume this new form of “persecution” will continue for an unspecified period of time, so it is good I have a large supply of Sakrete because in the end it is “All about Ken”.
Who said that?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother’s Day at The Gym

My mother never claimed I was bright.
Ooops! Looks like I and the guy behind the desk are the only people in the gym today.
It is Mother’s Day.
I have just gotten back from Baltimore (seeing our daughter, son-in-law and especially our Granddaughter-who is truly a special lady) and I really need to get the travel cobwebs out so I do what always works, head for the gym.
I was sure it would be packed with the post-brunch Mother Day celebrators trying to get rid of the Eggs Benedict or the really rare beef and potatoes.
No such luck.
The place was empty.
The question, "Are we going to go out tonight" suddenly took on new meaning.
An alarm bell began sounding way back, deep in the recesses of my brain.
Maybe I shouldn’t be here but home celebrating with the mother of our children.
Maybe this is a bad idea.
But, what the heck, I am already here so quit worrying and get with the program.
The Stair-Master beacons.
I set the intensity higher than the usual, maybe I can get in a really strenuous climb in less time (to get home-that alarm is insistent)
It works, at fifteen minutes the sweat covers the machine and I am breathing very hard, at twenty minutes the legs are feeling rubbery, it is getting harder to stay with the pace.
My toe keeps catching on the next step.
At twenty-five minutes I shut it down.
It is not the 3.9 or 4 miles but a respectable 2.19 miles with 375 calories burned.
Wait a minute, breathe, head to the weights.
I want to do chest today (move fast because the alarm bell is getting distinctly louder) so I start heavy, 75-15 reps, pull downs 120-15 reps 70-15 reps, pull downs 110-13 reps, 65-struggle to get 13 reps, pull downs 100-mangae 11 reps.
Reclining flys, go heavy and follow up with heavy reclining dumbbell presses.
Same routine.
Move to the recline machine, 180 as many as possible times three sets, sweating heavier (that alarm is making me sweat) wiping hands frequently, next machine 210-15 reps times two then 190-11 reps times one.
Grab a mat, military sit-ups as many as possible, the alarm in my head has moved to the frontal lobes as is starting to sound like a tornado siren.
It is taking too much time.
Danger, danger, some invisible robot seems to be saying.
I am having trouble concentrating.
But I persist, lateral crunches, foot off the floor, then the other side, now 100 crunches, straight legged.
I am getting dizzy from the continuous roaring in my head; I get up, decide I am finished and head to the locker room.
I may not be smart but I am a quick study.
As we are a little later sitting in the restaurant and I pick up the glass of wine to toast this wonderful lady, the mother of our children;
It is finally all quiet on the Cerebral Front.