Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Trainer Tuesday: Try a circuit workout!

As a helicopter fire crew we are attached to a big metal anchor for most of the season. This is great, because it beats walking, but it has its drawbacks.  For one, working out.  It's hard to go for a long run or hike when you might have to jump in the helicopter and be airborne within five minutes.  Hence the circuit!

You don't need any weights or props unless you want them.  A circuit can be done in a small space, and can be done for as long as you want. It will keep your heart rate up and challenge your body in new ways.

A rappel spotter introduced me to a circuit called "Billy Big Arms." Who is this mysterious Billy with the huge biceps? Nobody knows, but his legacy lives on in this workout. 

Start with a light warmup and dynamic stretches for about 10 minutes.  A 2 minute run, jumping jacks, jump rope, or even marching in place will get your heart rate up.  Moving stretches like arm circles, walking lunges, and cat/cow will activate your muscles.

Have several stations you work through.  For example: 1. Crunches, 2. tricep dips, 3. pushups, 4. squats, 5. Lunges.  Set a timer and see how many reps you can do with good form for a specified amount of time, for example 45 seconds.  After 45 seconds, use a 15 second rest to move to the next station.  Run through the circuit twice, then do some cardio for 2 minutes: a run, jumping jacks, etc,  Return to the stations and run through them again twice.  Finish up with cardio and then cool down with some static stretches for about 10 minutes.

This circuit workout will take you about 45-50 minutes.  You can expand it or make it shorter, by eliminating some of the circuits.

If you have any questions, my email is now in my profile.  And if you see the legendary Billy, send him my way!
Well, what else are you going to do? It's going to be gone for 2 hours! Do a circuit!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Lookout Season

The fire lookouts are going up to their cabins and towers at the beginning of July.  Then, they will be busy taking off the shutters, hauling water, and setting up their houses in the sky.  Boxes of food and supplies to be transported to each lookout are piled up in the fire cache.

As always, I'm a little jealous.  To me, this is the best job ever: living in a fire tower, gazing out across the forest, and learning to know every mountain you can see.  Sometimes I get to fill in, when the lookouts need days off and fire danger is high.  It's a little taste of paradise.

The next best thing is hiking there, so I set off walking up a dirt road toward a lookout I hadn't been to before.  I arrived to find the gate open, so I could have driven, but I wanted the workout.  The road wound for several miles through the forest before breaking out onto a subalpine ridge full of flowers.  The lookout tower stood at a high point at the end of the ridge.

I climbed up to below the catwalk, where the hatch was locked.  A lonely old chair sat out in front of the tower, a perfect place to observe the reservoir and mountains.

A storm was blowing in, so I didn't stay long.  I hiked back down the road, thinking of the lookout who would be here soon, excited to make a home up here.  Maybe someday that will be me.  But if not, I can always visit.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Trainer Tuesday: Personal Trainer Problems

Hello and welcome to Trainer Tuesdays!  So, I've been a certified personal trainer for a few months now and have yet to make one cent from it.  This is mostly my fault, because:

A.  I have a pretty demanding full time job already, and:
B.  I have a hard time asking people for money, even though I've given advice and designed workouts for free.

But there is also:

C.  A lot of people THINK they are trainers.  I've had people disagree with me on exercises, nutrition, etc, even though what I'm telling them is backed by research.  I blame the internet: there is a ton of information out there, but not all of it is right.

But anyway! Someday I'm sure I will figure it out.  Until then, I've decided to start Trainer Tuesdays on this blog, and feature free advice/workouts/supplement information! I'll try not to miss a Tuesday, but if I do, it's because I'm on a fire or a big adventure.

I'm also an independent rep with a company called 1st Phorm, which makes muscle building, fat loss, and health and wellness supplements, so occasionally I'll post about the products I use and like.  These are NOT sponsored posts.  I do receive a very small commission if someone buys from my link, but my purpose is not to shill stuff (that's annoying) but to inform about products that might help.  The link is here.  If you don't want to hear about these things, skip the posts.  They will be bonus posts, with plenty of hiking/fire posts still to come.  More on that later!

I'll also be adding a way to contact me, so if you have any questions about workouts, personal training stuff, supplements, etc, please do so.  Please no meanies or bots.

My trainer tip today is about planks! Planks are a great exercise when done correctly (no saggy butts or teepee backs) but if you are holding a plank past 30 seconds congrats! It's time to move on and challenge yourself further.  Just holding a plank is an isometric exercise which is great, but in order to get the most from it, add some movement.  Lift alternate legs, or tap your opposing shoulder with your hand.  By the way, I think the world record for holding a plank is 8 hours.  This seems truly crazy.  And boring.

Have a great Tuesday!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Carpe-ing the diem

There are a lot of reasons not to do things, especially if they're difficult to do, there are obstacles, or you have a strong sense of work guilt (as in, "I should be at work right now").  I ran these through my mind on Friday. It was a work day, and I hadn't put in any extra hours that week.  There was probably still a lot of snow on the trail.  I might not even be able to get to the trailhead. The road up there is typically washboarded and annoying to drive, especially if you meet someone coming the other way and have to back up.  There might be bears.  It would have been easy to just admit defeat and drive to work instead.

But it was sunny when I woke up, and I threw some stuff in my pack and grabbed my bear spray.  I drove anxiously up the approach road.  A few cars were pulled over about a half mile from the trailhead, signaling the start of the impassible snow.  I put on some microspikes and started following some tracks, not sure how far I would get.

A fresh deer carcass with a bloody gouge in its side lay just off the trail, but there was no bear sign around; a wolf kill, I guessed.  A couple of spry older men hiked in the distance; we ended up leapfrogging each other up the trail.

I climbed higher.  Patches of bare trail were interspersed with solid stretches of snow.  The basin below the ridge was buried, and the lakes were frozen.  Skiers were still boot packing up here to get some turns.

I realized I was going to make it to the top of the mountain.  The two guys soon left, leaving me there on my own.  No mountain goats were there today, but the view was incredible.
I made my way down the ridge.  The snow was turning slushy.  I looked back to see where I had been.

Things at work had gone on just fine without me.  The road was bumpy but manageable, and the snow was negotiable.  In the end, a lot of things we stress about aren't that important! Go climb that mountain! You'll be glad you did.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Living the normal life

Some years I get a glimpse of what a "normal" life, with time to hike and play in the summers, must be like.  This year is one of those, at least so far.

After a long, snowy winter, May was surprising. Sunny days! Temperatures in the 70s and 80s! The snow melted rapidly. Hiking has been amazing.

I'm not in a hurry for fire season.  My employees have been out, mostly to the southwest, some multiple times. Let them go! I'm happy to be here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Life is short. Jump in the lake.

I hesitated, looking at the lake.  Snow had just come off the trail a few weeks earlier.  The day before, at a different mountain lake, we could only bear to put our feet in for a few moments.

It was hot, though, and despite other people on the trail, I had snagged the prime shoreline spot, on an outcropping of rocks in the sun.  I had never been to this lake before, and it was warm out. 

I waded in.  It was cold.  It didn't matter, really, what I did.  But sometimes in life I tend to hesitate, trying to decide, instead of taking the leap.  Sometimes I did take the leap, and it was a mistake.

Oh well, I thought.  I half-jumped, half sat in the water.  It took my breath away, but I floated on my back for awhile.  Then I climbed out and lay on the rocks like a lizard, soaking up the sun.  I read a book until some horse riders showed up, looking disappointed that someone was in the best spot.  Then I packed up and hiked back out.

It wasn't a life changing decision, jumping in.  But it will be a perfect memory: floating in a cold mountain lake at summer's beginning.