Sunday, February 19, 2006

Atlanta

Student teaching hasn't left much time for anything. I had planned on using President's Day weekend for touristic purposes, but instead it has been all about shopping and preparing classes. I haven't made it to the gym as many times as I had hoped (access to the shared rental car is the main issue), but I've been doing home workouts (pushups, bodyweight squats and lunges, abwork) and walking whenever possible. Had a nice long walk in the cold and drizzle yesterday.

The upside is that nutrition has been excellent - canned tuna, 6 x 1 omelettes, spinach, broccoli, carrots, cottage cheese - and knowing that I'm not getting the same workouts I normally would has been a motivating factor on the nutritional front. Hydration, not so great. I'm slightly under 3L of water most days, and since my hosts have Coke Zero around all the time I've started drinking it.

All the clothes fit, and speaking of clothes, I've had some great shopping expeditions here. All hail SuperTarget, Loehmann's and DSW. :-) It has been a strange experience; I'm still not in touch with my current size, so I invariably start off with clothes that are too big, and then have to return to the rack and get another size or two down. I'm shopping knowing that the project is not finished, but I don't think I will have to completely replace this new wardrobe; I expect to be paying for alterations but not for new clothes.

Atlanta is lovely, and people here are very polite and nice. I wish I had more time here, but I'm leaving Thursday night.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

New Look

Decided to change the template as the pink was getting annoying.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Back on Track

I decided not to blog again till I got off my butt and went back to the gym. I had gone on Sunday, then Monday and Tuesday we ended up staying late at school to do a debriefing with the mentor teacher after the school day ended. Wednesday night all four of us who are in Atlanta went to do some shopping at a local mall and by the time I got back to the house and ate dinner I was too tired to do anything. The shopping did have one fitness component; I went to a fitness equipment store to see if they had platemates, because the weight increments in the gym are too big for my needs. No such luck.

Thursday I told mentor teacher that I need to leave no later than 15 minutes after the school day ends. I think she was a little surprised because she asked if I had something to go to. The interesting thing is, I wouldn't mind coming in earlier. The student with whom I share the car asked if we could leave an hour earlier in the morning so that he could go to morning prayers in a synagogue close to the school, and I said no problem. But I do not like staying late.

Thanks to my on-time departure I got to my host's house and had time to eat well (omelette made with 5 whites / 1 yolk / 1/3 cup oatmeal), get my stuff together and go to the gym.
The training session began inauspiciously. There was no tricep bar, no small plates or collars to make up the weights I needed on the barbell curls, no locks... At this point I said the heck with it, I'll just do deadlifts until I feel I've had enough. This is what ensued:

Deadlifts
1 x 6 @ 55 lbs
1 x 6 @ 95 lbs
1 x 8 @ 115 lbs
6 x 8 @ 105 lbs
1 x 12 @ 45 lbs

Hamstring Curls
1 x 6 @ 20 lbs
1 x 6 @ 30 lbs
5 x 8 @ 40 lbs
1 x 12 @ 20 lbs

Towards the end of the deadlift sets one of the trainers came to the nearby plate tree to put away some locks, and I went to get said locks. He asked me if I compete in the deadlift and I said not yet. (That goes on the list of sweetest things anyone has said to me in a gym.) Then he said that he hosts a weekly local radio show about fitness, and would I like to be interviewed on it, because he would like to promote weight lifting for women. (Unfortunately it tapes right in the middle of the school day, so I can't.) He finished by telling me I have awesome form, which made me very happy because I have worked very hard on the deadlift form.

These few positive comments - that told me nothing that I didn't know before - made a huge difference in my evening. A few minutes earlier I was incredibly frustrated, and all I could think of was how much I miss my gym. Suddenly the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and all was right with the world. So if there is someone in your gym you were thinking of saying some positive words to but haven't yet, go ahead and say them. I suspect they'll be well received.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Food Challenges

Some of the posts this week are going to sound whiny. They really are not. They are observations of what is going on, and how I am dealing with the curveballs that student teaching is throwing to my exercise and nutrition habits.

My shoulders and upper back are sore from Sunday's workout. The seated row machine is at a different height than I am used to and cannot be adjusted. In addition, both it and the lat pulldown machine jumps in 10lb increments, and unlike the machine in Jerusalem there is no place to put a db on top of the weight stack and thereby increase the weight in sane increments.

It was raining incessantly all day, a sharp contrast from the lovely sunshine I encountered on Friday when I arrived. No gym today, but I did go to the grocery store and stocked up on old fashioned oatmeal and some pop top canned veggies to take with me to school tomorrow.

Nutrition is shaping up to be more of a challenge than expected. The mentor teacher (whom I met today) does not allow the students to eat or drink in class. She actually said something along the line of "I don't believe in this business where you hydrate yourself all day and then have to go to the bathroom a lot". (With that attitude, is it any wonder that teachers are prime candidates for kidney stones?) For the record, when I start teaching I will let my students drink water and eat fruit, veggies or a sandwich in class. I don't want to see my students eating junk food in my classes, and I certainly am never going to eat it in front of them. They are going to see me eating clean, and any student who wants to eat healthy food six times a day and needs to have one of those clean meals in my class, more power to him/her.

Anyway, since the students can't eat or drink in class, neither can the visiting student teachers. I normally drink 3.5+ litres of water a day, and today I barely managed one. Tomorrow I will be observing other classes beside that of the mentor teacher, and I plan to take in more food. I think I may have to sit down with mentor teacher and explain that I require healthy food 5+ times each day, and I am perfectly happy to step out of class, eat it quickly and come back, but that not eating for long stretches is not acceptable. I came here to improve my teaching skills, not to screw up my nutritional plan.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Landed

Arrived in Atlanta on Friday and only got slightly lost on the way to my host family's house. Said family is very nice, by the way, and they have an adorable dog. If it's ok with them I'll post a pic of the dog here at some point.

Gym woes: The cool powerlifting place I was hoping for is more than 30 minutes away by car, and since I have to share a rental car with my fellow students, it is unlikely that I will get there. So today I went to check out a nearby gym. It's about ten times the size of the gym back in Jerusalem. It's full of shiny Cybex machines, but the free weights section is a bit run-down. The people at the desk were extremely nice, however. (Everyone I've met thus far in Atlanta has been extremely nice, actually.) Truth is, I've been spoiled by my gym in Jerusalem. When you're used to seeing guys squatting 300lbs+ with great form and no gear, it's hilarious to see guys putting on a weight belt for triceps pressdowns...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Almost Gone

One exam went very well, the other was a disaster. As they are both over and done with I have put them out of my mind.

Off to Atlanta tonight, via Newark, hoping for clear skies and good weather. Last year when I went for student teaching we got stuck in Newark due to the big snowstorm. My classmate and I ended up flying to Raleigh (no, I'm not kidding) because that's the closest the airline could get us to Maryland. We then rented a car in Raleigh, drove to the airport in Washington DC to pick up the rental car we were supposed to have in the first place because the Raleigh car rental place couldn't honor the Washington voucher. and then drove to Maryland. The car rental place actually tried to charge us several hundred dollars for picking up the car a day late. We're using a different company this year. Oh, and we stayed one night in Virginia because when we crossed from North Carolina into Virginia we realised that we were both too exhausted to drive; a 12 hour flight from Israel that began at midnight and for which you had to be at the airport three hours prior, coupled with several hours of stress at Newark Airport will do that to you. A year later I can look back on last year and smile, but I could use a simple, safe, smooth, no delays trip this time around.

I went in and trained chest and triceps yesterday night (flat BP, incline BP, close grip BP, skull crushers). I started late, but I was very pleased with my pace, since I finished everything except the last cardio interval. It was very quiet night in the gym. For the last 25 minutes or so it was just me and guy-in-charge. He was working out too.

I'm going to do my best to get in another session today before the flight. It's leg day, and I still have to talk to man-in-charge about how I'm going to set my max weights while I'm on my own in an unfamiliar gym. Not to mention a country where the plates are only labelled in lbs :-)

I will blog again as soon as I have access to the internet, but it may be a couple of days. Have a great weekend everyone!