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Category Archives: Fitness/Weight Loss

Losing weight and getting fit – my journey to being healthy-ish.

Urbanathlon

Urbanathlon

The day after my 41st birthday, I decided to go in a competition to prove how much I had improved my fitness. It was a way of being able to have a goal to work towards and also a way to celebrate that I would be the fittest I have ever been in my entire life to this point.

The Urbanathlon itself is what they call an Obstacle Course Race (OCR). Most seem to heavily involve mud (or glasses stealer as I like to call it), but the Urbanathlon is like a triathlon or decathlon, but in an urban setting – hence the name.

The race itself was 12 kilometres and 10 obstacles. I had to do a lot of training since I had never jogged (or ran) before. However, the practice that I had helped a lot and I was able to finish about 900th out of up to 3000 competitors. Not the most glamourous of finishes, but I made it.

Below are some photos that are low res (stolen from the Urbanathlon site) of me in action. Check out the website at http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/mens-health/urbanathlon/course-melbourne/ to learn more about the race.

UrbKeith1

UrbKeith2

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Posted by on August 13, 2013 in Fitness/Weight Loss

 

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Home Gym

Home Gym

So I decided that most of the equipment I use at the gym I could just have at home. Weighing up the cost benefits and risk factors took a long time as well as working out the best equipment to buy.

I decided not to buy the best, but some cheap stuff and replace it with awesome stuff if I wear it out.

The two main pieces of Equipment I purchased was the power tower and the adjustable bench.

Here’s the power tower in pieces…

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And then assembled.

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I have a small alcove at the top of the stairs so I’m able to put my equipment there. I can use it pretty freely there.

I also purchased a bench in pieces…

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And then assembled it…

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So these two pieces are the main workout equipment. Here are some of the exercises I use them for.

Power Tower

  • Pull ups
  • Chin ups
  • Wide grip pull/chin ups
  • Hanging leg raises
  • Tricep dips

Bench + dumbbells

  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Row
  • Tricep Dumbbell Kickback
  • Weighted Decline Crunch
  • Bent-Arm Dumbbell Pullover
  • Incline Dumbbell Curl
  • Decline Dumbbell Flyes
  • and many others

Overall, I’m really happy with what I have and glad I didn’t spend the money on the gym. I use them normally around 3 times a week – more if I feel the urge.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2013 in Home Gym

 

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Padding the bag

Padding the bag

Now that the material is cut for the inside and outside of each face of the bag, the next step is to put the padding in the middle and sew each panel up, ready for assembly. The padding I used is in the picture below, and I used two layers in each panel. The padding was fairly cheap – I think around $15, from memory.

So the first step is to cut the padding out. This doesn’t have to be too exact as the padding is very expandable and moves around a fair bit. To do this, I lay the padding down on the table – two layers – and then put the inner material on top of it to get the shape.

I then used my sharp scissors to cut around the shape.

Once that’s done, flip the whole thing over and lay the outer material for the panel on top of it to make a material, padding, padding, material sandwich.

Next I need to hold the layers in place while I sew them together. I used pins to do this and made sure the padding was right at the edge of the panel. This way, when sewn, the padding shouldn’t move around at all.

Putting the pins in at the angle shown means that you can sew over them easily and then remove them once the sewing is done. Continue doing this the whole way around the panel ready to sew. In the picture below, I use many more pins than I did for the other panels, but you only really need to put in enough pins to hold it all together. It doesn’t have to be perfect either, it’s only to hold it while it’s being sewn.

Once you have all the pins in place, it’s time to hit the sewing machine. Essentially, it’s just a matter of sewing right around the edge of the panel to hold it all together. Since I left some extra room around the poweriser when I traced the outline, I’ve chosen to sew in about the width of the foot on the sewing machine. I just used a straight stitch to hold it together as each panel will be sewn again later and that will add strength then.

Sew all the way around the panel and when you’re finished, remove the pins and cut off any threads that are hanging around. The finished product should look like this.

Once that’s done, it’s a good idea to quickly test and make sure that the poweriser still fits in there. The more testing the better, otherwise you may find a problem way too late to fix it.

Yep, we’re all good. Now to repeat another three times.

And then when that’s done, a little more testing…

Perfect! Now, I just need to make the sides of the bag and it’s almost ready to be sewn together. Stay tuned to the next exciting blog! 🙂

 

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More on the poweriser bag

More on the poweriser bag

Last post I ended with the outside material cut for the poweriser bag. Next we need to do the inside material for the bag.

Because no one is actually going to see the inside very clearly, I decided to use some material that I had left lying around from other projects. It’s not bad material, it’s thick enough and does have a pattern, however some of it is not big enough for the whole size of the bag. This means I may need to cut it and sew together parts to make it big enough.

For the parts that are big enough, it’s just a matter of getting one of the outer pieces and lying it on top of the material and cutting around it. If it isn’t big enough the first step is similar. Lie the largest piece down on the table and then cover it with the outer material.

 

Then cut around the parts that are over hanging to be able to make as much of the shape as you can. Once you’ve got the first part of the shape, the next step is to find another piece that’s going to fit in the gap. When you place it on the table, over lap the old piece with the new piece as below…

 

Lay the outer material down again and cut around the edges so that the new piece also is trimmed to the right size.

Once this is done, we’re ready to sew the two pieces together to make the whole thing like one piece of material. Remove the outer material altogether and any scraps let over from cutting.

As you can see above, the next step is to put pins through the two pieces where they overlap so that we can then lift the piece of material up and take it to the sewing machine to join then together.

Once on the sewing machine, it’s just a matter of sewing along the edge of the join with a wide zig zag stitch to ensure that the two pieces are held together. Ideally, we want to over lap the stitch a little so the fabric doesn’t fray. To make sure the join is very strong, we’ll do three rows of stitching.

First row….

Then flip the material over and do exactly the same thing, but on the patterned side this time…

Then (and you can see this in the above pic as well), run the same stitch right through the middle of the two other stitches. This probably isn’t necessary, but I wanted to be sure that with the weight of the powerisers I wasn’t going to have any problems with seams coming apart.

Each join was done the same way and I was able to get all four pieces out of the left over material I had. Here’s a view of the other side of the material.

The key thing to remember is that it doesn’t have to look great, no one will see this side of the bag. Secondly, it has to be strong. And thirdly, remember that the pattern part should face out on each part you sew together.

Finally, cut off the loose cotton where you’ve sewed and then put it aside then start on the next one. Once all four pieces are done, I’ll continue on with the next steps in the next blog post.

 

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Work begins on Poweriser Bags

Work begins on Poweriser Bags

So finally work has begun on the bags that I need to carry around my powerisers (jumping stilts). The big problems are that they are heavy, awkward to carry and rattle around in the back of the car. Therefore I need something that’s strong, padded and huge. Being as though it took my months to find a place that sold the powerisers and a lot of money to buy them, the thought of finding a bag to house them in that isn’t too expensive gives me nightmares. It would be easier to make my own, I thought….

So I started as always with a plan. And, as always, that plan goes through a few iterations. My previous posts on this topic show that, but here’s the latest plan.

 

This plan is a little complex in that I want to be able to wear it like a back pack, but the first iteration will just be bags I can carry and then I’ll add straps later to make the backpack method.

The first thing that I did was buy some denim-like material for it’s strength and some padding to go in between the material. I guessed at how much I would need and then would buy more if I was short. The material and padding was under $50, but I don’t remember exactly how much.

I stored the materials for quite a while until I had some time to start the bag, so the first thing I did was got the iron out and made the material as flat as possible. This is so important because it’s much easier to cut out and sew that way.

 

Next I needed to work out roughly how much room I needed and I had to set up my “workbench”. The dining table did nicely for that.

 

Once I had everything set up and the material was ironed, I laid the material down on the table and placed one of the powerisers on top of it to trace around to get the shape I would need. I also had to keep in mind that there would need to be extra space for the sewing and also that I had to be able to slip the poweriser in fairly easily.

 

From there it was just a matter of tracing a line around to get the shape. I did this with a coloured pencil to make it easier to see… although it wasn’t that easy to see in the end. Here’s a close up of how it turned out, though.

 

You can just see the brown line. Also notice how far away from the edge of the poweriser it is. From here it was just a matter of cutting out the shape.

 

A couple of tips. Firstly, I bought a pair of scissors that I only use for cutting fabric. They’re very sharp and stay that way because I only cut fabric with them. A good pair of scissors are worth their weight in gold. Secondly, notice how I only cut two edges? Where possible, I try to use the edge of the fabric – it means less cuts and less chance of problems.

This shape then makes up one side of one bag for the poweriser. The other side of the bag will be the direct opposite, so the easiest way to measure it is to flip the piece I’ve just cut upside down on to the top of some more material and cut around that.

This gives me both sides and they will come together similar to how they look in the above picture. Then I needed to cut the material for the other bag. I used the FIRST cut out so that all the material comes from the one pattern. And of course it needs to be done twice – one like the original and one a mirror image. This will give me the outside parts of the bag – the first step.

 

 

The next step after this is to make sure that the sizes are all okay. The more you test the less chance of making mistakes. I laid the material down on the table and draped the top part across the poweriser to make sure it all fits nicely.

 

It all seems okay, so the next part is to cut out the lining to go on the inside of the bag. More on that in the next post.

 
 

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6 week exercise challenge

Have you ever wanted to be able to do 100 push-ups or 150 dips? No, me either.

However, recently I found that doing those sorts of exercises can be fun if you do it such a way as you’re not forcing yourself too hard, but enjoying the challenge instead.

I mustn’t be the only person who has thought this because I’ve recently found a website to help people achieve those exact goals.

http://hundredpushups.com/ has put together a 6 week programme that can get you doing 100 push-ups in one go by the end of it. I’m about half way through the programme and loving it. I’m already doing 100 push ups when I previously struggled to do 10. Of course it’s not all at once, it’s over a series of sets.

The idea is that you do (around) 5 sets of push ups three times a week in increasing numbers until you can do all the push ups. You start with only a small number – as low as 2 or 3 – and build up from there. There are constant tests to see how you are doing as well.

I wanted to mention it, because I think that it’s a fantastic website and I’ve heard good things about it from other places too.

The best news is that they do a 150 dips programme also! I’ve just started that one as well.

Besides that, there are a number of different exercises that are similar on the same site. And a funky little book to download free if you want to track how you’re doing. There are a bunch of other things you can do that I’ve never even tried!!

All in all, a huge thumbs up and worth a write up on my blog.

 

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Fitness/Weight Loss

 

Skateboard Upgrade

Skateboard Upgrade

Well, it’s been way too long since I last did anything to my skateboard apart from ride it.

So I decided it was time to give it a little maintenance. I have been riding a lot more of late and noticed that the bearing just weren’t happy, and the deck bolt had started to come loose. I couldn’t really tighten them much because they were pretty rusty.

I went down to “Decked Out” in Sutherland and picked up some new Modus bearings and some new deck bolts. I don’t need expensive named stuff, just not cheap nasty stuff. All up it came to just over $30. I was happy with that.

I sat down and changed the bearings (the old ones pretty much fell apart when I took them out) and then I rotated the wheels so that they could wear more evenly. And when I say rotate, not like that, you idiot, I turned them to face the other way. I have noticed a fair bit of wear, and I want round wheels not oblate ones.

I also took the trucks off and remounted them with the new deck bolts. Super tight and all happy now. I gave board a five second road test and it seemed to go well, I’ll have to wait for the rain to stop to test it properly, though….

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2012 in Skateboarding

 

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