I wish I was one of those people who couldn’t wait to hop out of bed in the morning to hit the gym at some ungodly hour. But I am SO not. A night owl by nature, my natural body clock would keep me up until around 2am, and sleep until 10 or 10:30am. Not exactly on par with societal norms.
Once I’m up I’m ready to work, and I hit my über-productive, fabulously creative stride in the afternoon. At some point, I think, “I should exercise today.” But by then, I’m on a roll with work and don’t feel like I can stop to work out. By nightfall, I’m tired. No exercise happening here.
I’m making progress on the bedtime/wake-up time thing, but the exercise thing has eluded me. I just haven’t felt motivated. That is, until recently. My wake-up call (so to speak) came thanks to my parents. Around the holidays, I spent roughly five weeks with them (two each at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and one when I headed back east to take part in the Women’s March on Washington.)
They’ve both been diabetic for a good two decades. My Dad has had a couple of mild heart attacks and a mild stroke. My Mom has autoimmune issues. And though I’ve known this, seeing their day-to-day again firsthand was an important reminder.
“What can we eat? How many carbs do I shoot for? Did you shoot your insulin? Check your blood sugar.” These phrases dictate their life. They constantly have to think about what they eat, what they just ate, and what they’ll eat later. If they don’t shoot enough insulin, their blood sugar is too high. If they shoot too much, their blood sugar can fall too low and cause a diabetic attack (think Julia Roberts’ character, Shelby, in the beauty shop in the film Steel Magnolias.) Scary as hell, and potentially life threatening. I wish they didn’t have to live like that, but I’m grateful that they are managing it fairly well. And I finally decided, I want to avoid dealing with that if I can.
Which brings me back to the exercise thing. I know I have to do it, and it has to be a lifestyle change. So I am praying to God and sweet baby Jesus that I will stick with what I’ve just started—the Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) Weight Loss Challenge.
I had no clue what Orangetheory was until recently. At a pre-holiday dinner (read: WINE) with some girlfriends, several were RAVING about their workouts at this new place. I was like, “Good for you guys!” and I thought, “That sounds hard. I’m not a gym person. More power to ‘em.” But my curiosity was piqued. Fast forward several weeks of witnessing my folks’ daily diabetes adventures and what did I do? I signed up at Orangetheory Fitness Westside, hoping to become a workout fanatic.
The challenge lasts six weeks. You have to work out at an OTF location at least three times per week. “OK, I can do this!” I psyched myself up. Hubs was totally supportive. “You’ve got this, Baby,” he said. I went to OTF before the challenge to get my fitness tracker (they’re all high-tech over there). I walked in a little unsure, and Bam! It was like a wave of positivity hit me – everyone was so friendly and encouraging. They got me set up and I weighed in. That was another wake-up call. I knew I’d gained weight the last few years but seeing 170 on that scale did NOT impress me. They showed me the place (nice digs, lots of orange) and by the time I left I felt like I’d just joined a fitness support group. Which I guess I kinda have–and truth is, I need the encouragement. So that’s a good thing.
I kicked off the challenge the following Monday with a 7pm class (great for my body clock). They’ve got a row of treadmills, a row of rowing machines (say that real fast) and a weight area. I put on my fitness tracker and boarded a treadmill.
“OK, where are my power walkers at?” the instructor, Bobby, yelled into his microphone. Power walker, that’s me! No jogging here (at least not yet). “Okay, I want you to start at base level for 2 minutes, then we’re going up to a 6 percent incline.”
Six percent. Okay, I can do that. Oh holy crap. That’s harder than I thought. I’m doing it anyway. “I will NOT be a diabetic. I will NOT be a diabetic,” I repeated to myself. Bobby took us through a series of what they call “pushes” and “all-outs” where we switch up our speed and incline for one to two minutes at a time. I was huffin’ and puffin’ and sweatin’ but I kept moving. I also kept looking at the big screen that had my real-time fitness monitor stats. More sweat and heavy breathing and I finally hit the Orange Zone!
Woohoo!!!!! That’s when you reach your optimum heart rate for burning calories. The longer you stay in it, the more you burn, and that calorie burn continues for another 24 – 36 hours after the workout. More bang for my workout buck. I’ll take it.
For every minute you’re in the orange zone, you earn a “splat point” (I’m still learning all of the cool terminology). Their splat symbol represents a fat cell bursting. Kinda gross to think about, but good. Burst little fat cells, burst!
After 25 minutes it was row time. We started with 400 meters. I pushed back with my legs and pulled the handles back with my arms in one fluid movement. Well, I was supposed to, anyway. It took a bit to get in the rhythm, and soon, my quads were on fire. But I was determined to finish those 400 meters! I was the last one to do it and head to the weights. We used hand weights to do bicep curls. Then we did sit-ups while holding a weight. The last exercise was using a TRX band to pull up our own body weight.
Bobby yelled instructions and encouragement. I kept checking my progress on the board. Come on, splat points! My calories-burned number kept increasing. Awesome. I sneaked peeks at the people beside me. Consistently, on the treadmill they were faster or at a higher incline; on the rower, they were faster; and they did more weight reps than me. But at least I did it.
I made it through the first workout. Hallelujah! Red-faced, sweaty, and breathless, I felt like I’d really accomplished something. Because I had! After each workout, OTF emails your personal stats from your fitness tracker. I’d burned 538 calories and gotten 20 splat points! 20! Not too shabby!
Little did I know my numbers would soon plunge drastically, which I chalk up to traveling. I left the next morning for North Carolina to see my folks before heading to D.C. I found an Orangetheory in N.C. so I could meet my challenge requirements.
Again, the staff was super cool and high-energy. But my numbers weren’t. I was tired. Because of my trip schedule, I exercised in the morning. And I felt it. My energy was lower and I just didn’t have enough to give. My email from OTF confirmed my suspicions: 490 calories burned but only two splat points for my first N.C. workout. And 399 calories burned and zero splat points for the second. Zero!?!?!? Ugh!
The trainers said not to sweat it. They said the orange zone is optimal to burn calories longer, but lots of time in the green zone (just below orange) is still a great workout. I’d spent 38 and 39 minutes in the green zone, so I’m gonna consider that success. Surely at least some of my fat cells burst. Plus, at the Women’s March on Washington my personal fitness tracker said I walked over 12,000 steps. I’m totally counting that as a workout.
I was happy to have survived week one of the weight loss challenge. I’ll chronicle my workout journey and let you know how it goes. I’m excited to do it, and hope I’ll notice results that spur me on towards better health (and no Diabetes). Wish me luck. And lots of splat points.
Sessions and Russia sitting in a tree. Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath about meeting with a Russian Ambassador.
French presidential candidate and leader of the far-right, Marine Le Pen, could face jail time and a large fine for tweeting a violent image.
UNM is working on a 3D bio printer that could eventually print out material to use for bone and human tissue.
A man who recently took hostage and car-jacked hikers at the La Luz trail was arrested in Kan.
A woman had acid thrown in her face Monday night, that's the fifth recorded acid attack in Berlin, Germany since Dec.
A summation of the presidents of the HBCU reaction to meeting with Trump: Photo Op!
How accurate was Trump's first address to Congress?
Undoing all of the progress achieved in the last eight years is just beginning.
Wanna see a bot fight? Head over to Wikipedia.
A Russian airstrike hit US allies by “mistake.”
An emotional moment during the State of Nation speech could backfire for the Trump administration.
Casa San Ysidro, historic house and farm, is holding a free urban gardening fair on Saturday, March 11 between 1pm and 4pm.
Together with its partner ARCA Organics, Casa San Ysidro will welcome local farming and gardening organizations to encourage the rich cultivation of front lawns and balconies in our urban neighborhoods.
-ARCA Organics will conduct a seedling workshop and speak about their activities in Casa's Heritage Field.
-At 2pm, John Zarola, master composter for Sandoval County, will speak on composting techniques.
-Jericho Nurseries will be on hand to walk you through some important tools to think about when you are fostering your urban garden.
-La Cosecha CSA, a South Valley farming cooperative, will introduce you to their lovely produce and their success farming in New Mexico.
The public is also invited to tour our historic house and view the remarkable collection of historic agricultural implements that kept New Mexicans going for hundreds of years. These are the most valuable objects they owned. Throughout the day, we will help you start or enhance your garden, no matter how small a space you're working with.
Casa San Ysidro is located at 973 Old Church Rd. in the historic Village of Corrales. For more information call (505) 898-3915. You can also visit cabq.gov/
or find Casa on Facebook facebook.com/
Gas stations around the Duke City have been tampered with. APD recommends using cash to pay for gas if possible.
Dominique Perez, one of the APD officers who shot James Boyd, appears set to regain his job.
Latest President Trump revelation: former President Barack Obama and "his people" are responsible for White House leaks.
If you missed yesterday's massive rallies in support of Trump, the president is calling for another show of support this Saturday! This is known as "doubling down".
The Trump administration plans to begin enforcing federal marijuana laws, leaving states with legal medical and recreational cannabis with a feeling of uncertainty and provoking outrage throughout the marijuana industry.
New Mexico's burgeoning craft beer industry appears capable of infinite growth. Here in Albuquerque, new breweries and tap rooms continue to materialize like bubbles in a beer glass and year after year those breweries with a consistent, quality product find a place in a market that never seems close to its saturation point. According to Brewer's Association statistics, New Mexico is currently 11th among states ranked by number of breweries per 100,000 21+ adults, with 3.1 craft breweries for every 100,000 of-age New Mexicans (Vermont tops this 2016 Brewer's Association list with 9.4 breweries per 100,000). Clearly, craft beer has captured the hearts and wallets of New Mexicans to a degree only dreamt of by the state's wineries and distilleries, even spawning a beer-tourism industry … wait, distilleries? Wine, sure. New Mexico has a rich history of wine-making stretching from the days of the Spanish conquest to the present—world-famous Gruet sparkling wines are produced in Albuquerque—but whiskey and vodka aren't products that one readily associates with the Land of Enchantment. In point of fact, New Mexico is home to one of the very best American single-malt whiskeys on the market.
Produced by Santa Fe Spirits, a small distillery that also makes gin, vodka and brandy, Colkegan Single-Malt Whiskey made just about every top five list of American single-malt whiskeys last year. Santa Fe Spirits' Colkegan is something special to emerge out of New Mexico's small craft-distilling industry and like Marble and La Cumbre once did for local craft-breweries, Santa Fe Spirits has set a high bar for the half-dozen fellow and future craft distilleries in the state.
Scotch is from Scotland, Bourbon is from Kentucky, Tennessee Whiskey is … well, you get the point. American single-malt whiskey is an increasingly popular new category of whiskey that, like single-malt scotch, is produced from one batch of grain, fermented and distilled, aged and bottled. Most American whiskey is blended whiskey, produced (in great volume) by combining multiple casks of whiskey from multiple distillation processes. American single-malts tend to be less complex in flavor than their Scottish brethren and far smoother and more delicate than traditional American whiskeys. I should point out one thing all single-malts have in common: a price point starting at 40.00 (Colkegan retails for around 53.00).
I was afforded two different bottles of Colkegan to taste. One was from Kokoman Fine Wine and Liquors in Pojaque, NM, the other came from Jubilation Wine and Spirits in Albuquerque. Both establishments had elected to sample and taste from the various barrels single batches of Colkegan whiskey is aged in, then select a particular barrel and decide—by tasting—when its contents were sufficiently mature for bottling under their own imprimatur, Kokomon #87 and Jubilation #226. Bottles of Colkegan on the shelves of most stores are going to consist of a single batch of whiskey blended back together after being aged in about 15 barrels, most of which are always used charred American-oak casks and a smaller number of which are always new charred American-oak casks. Because new barrels impart a heavier, smokier flavor—Bourbon is aged in new barrels—than used barrels, it's fair to say the smooth-as-silk whiskey in each bottle came from used barrels and is representative of the Colkegan any consumer might purchase. Adam Vincent of Santa Fe Spirits more or less backed up this assumption, though we didn't dive into the distillery's barrel notes and bottle histories which I imagine in bound form and occupying great heights of handmade bookcases. Just to summarize, every bottle of Colkegan contains whiskey made from a single batch of malted and smoked barley which is then aged in used and new barrels, the contents of which are reunited for bottling after three to four years.
Scotch is generally aged at least ten years; according to Santa Fe Spirits, Colkegan will never be aged more than five years. Besides mesquite smoke, the main native New Mexican ingredient in Colkegan is altitude. At 7,000 feet above sea level, whiskey mellows more quickly and develops its distinct flavors in a different manner than it would otherwise. Low humidity means the barrels don't swell as much, which exposes the whiskey to more air over a shorter period. The barrels are subject to the same variety of seasons New Mexicans know so well and the region's extreme cold and warmth contribute to the whiskey's maturation. Interestingly, the “angel's share”, the whiskey that evaporates over time during the aging process, is so great as to limit the maximum age of the Colkegan. After 4 years, the “angel's share” of Colkegan can be as high as half the contents of a single barrel! The coolest thing I may ever say about a whiskey is that Northern New Mexico's weather and altitude make for a uniquely aged single-malt that can't be replicated in Kentucky or Scotland. Or Ireland, for that matter.
And Ireland, my friends, is what the taste of Colkegan brings to mind. With a more straightforward and less smokey flavor and mouth feel than scotch and lacking the harsher, tannic “pow”, of American whiskeys, Colkegan immediately reminded this drinker of Irish single-malt whiskey. Both Kokomon and Jubilation have a sweetness in the aftertaste , with Kokomon #87 being slightly more vanilla in flavor and reminiscent of the black labeled Bushmills, while Jubilation's #226 has slightly more complex flavors comparable to the least smokey of single-malt scotches, Bruichladdich. The mesquite smoke really does contribute to a heavier, pelt-like mouth-feel that sustains the gilded sweetness of this wonderful New Mexican whiskey without any of the saltiness that many associate with the words “single-malt” (i.e. scotch). Each sip of this airy new-world whiskey introduces some slight peppery flavors that finish nicely with its overall sweet character and on the whole put Colkegan on par with the finest whiskeys I have tried. Colkegan borrows from other single-malt traditions, but in style and character this New Mexico whiskey helps carve out a niche for for the fledgling category of American single-malts, something Santa Fe Spirits and New Mexico should be proud of.
So British physicist Brian Cox says that if ghosts were real, we would have seen evidence of them through the Large Hadron Collider. Here's a Gizmodo article with legitimate criticism of Cox's comments (I still don't think I believe in ghosts, though).
A boy in Australia was saved by the largest dose of antivenom ever administered after he was bitten by a funnel web spider.
Whoa! Mars is developing rings from its moons!
Some scientists taught some bumblebees to roll a ball. Not only does it say something about their ability to learn complex tasks, it also looks awesome.
Here we go: The Chinese have built a robotic police officer. I think I've seen this movie.
NASA announced the discovery of seven earth-sized planets only 40 lightyears away. At least three seem to be able to sustain life!