May ’10 was….

Pretty in Pink

May. What to say about May? For obvious reasons it wasn’t the month for reading. I still haven’t mastered walking and reading without doing both at an excruciatingly slow pace!

  • Endless Love by Scott Spencer ~ apparently this was made into a movie. I am curious how they handled the anal sex scene…
  • You Make Me Feel Like an Unnatural Woman: Diary of a New (Old) Mother by Janet Newman ~ funny, funny, funny (although, an odd choice to honor Mother’s Day)
  • Wobegon Boy by Garrison Keillor ~ my first Keillor book. Now I know what all the fuss is about. Another funny one!
  • Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis ~I admit it. I gave up on this after 50 pages. I moved onto a Jillian Michaels book. More on that next month….

For LibraryThing & the Early Review Program:

  • Fundamental Weight Training by David Sandler
  • Fall Asleep Forgetting by Georgeann Packard ~ this should be a movie. It was weird but good!

For the hell of it:

  • Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper

Fundamental Weight Training

Sandler, David. Fundamental Weight Training: 102 Exercises to Start Training. Champaign: Human Kinetics, 2010.

I had many false starts trying to write a review for this book. My hesitancy directly related to my love-hate relationship with content and how it was arranged. There were many, many things to love about this book…and yet I found a few things to hate.

On the didactic side of things Fundamental Weight Training has it all. Simple weight lifting exercises for beginners that take into consideration using a professional gym, a home gym, or even just a person’s own body weight. There are simple black and white photographs to illustrate each exercise, showing correct form and posture. There is even sections on stretching, warming up and cooling down – all essential elements of working out and avoiding injury. In addition, Sandler goes above and beyond to explain gym etiquette and terminologies with a chapter called, “weight room language and protocol” (p 7). My favorite section was “Give it a Go” which gives the reader the opportunity to put lesson to life and try a series of exercises dedicated to a particular group of muscles like arms, for example.

But, here is where the hate comes in. The “Give it a Go” section assumes a person has every weight machine and accessory at his or her disposal. The exercises are a mix of free weights and machines usually found at the gym. Organization-wise, Fundamental Weight Training would have been easier for me if the “Give it a Go” section was combined with the “Take it to the Gym” and “Train at Home” sections rather than separate section.

A final frustration is, as with any exercise book, a person would need to not only memorize the names of each exercise but the proper way to perform them. Holding a book while trying to flex the a dumbbell is not all that easy. Flipping from the “Give it a Go” page to the section with the exercise can be frustrating.

All in all, I enjoyed reading Fundamental Weight Training. After reorganizing the information on my own I have a great training plan that I can take to the gym or use at home.


April ’10 Is…

April is all about getting the garage ready for gardening. April is the confidence to pack winter clothes and get the snow tires off the car. April is leaving the heat off and taking off the sweater; driving with the windows down. The birds are getting louder and the mornings are coming earlier. I’m hoping to spend some time outside reading. Here are the books I hope to conquer:

  • Affliction by Russell Banks~ In honor of two different times: March (Banks’s birth month) and April (National Sibling Week is in April).
  • Truth and Bright Water by Thomas King ~ In honor of National Dog Month
  • Downcanyon: a Naturalist Explores the Colorado River Through the Grand Canyon by Ann Haymond Zwinger ~ in honor of Earth Day and nature writing
  • Belshazzar’s Daughter by Barbara Nadel ~ April (believe or not) is the best time to visit Turkey (weather-wise, political ramifications aside).
  • South Wind Through the Kitchen by Elizabeth David ~ April is National Food Month

If there is time:

  • Last Amateurs: Playing for Glory by John Feinstein ~ April is Youth Sports Safety Month

And of course, April is National Poetry Month so as usual I am trying to read as much poetry during this time frame as I can. I can’t go without saying Natalie Merchant is releasing “Leave Your Sleep” this month – a collection of poetry centered around children and childhood. Natalie once said it was poetry written for, about, and by children. I guess that sums it up nicely. One poem she included on her album was one I already read for the Book Lust Challenge: “Spring and Fall: To a Young Child” by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

For LibraryThing and the Early Review Program I have an interesting (and well-timed) nonfiction: Fundamental Weight Training by David Sandler. I’m looking forward to reading it. I’m hoping it will be user-friendly and very informative.


Lining It Up

Now&ZenYoga

(Now & Zen Yoga: photo by Chris Szarek)

Back when I was training for the LLS Alton Bay half I was striving for The Trinity: a good running plan, a good eating plan and a good yoga plan. I’m one of those nutty people that earnestly believes that all these things go together. Especially yoga and running – I’m convinced they go hand in hand. Think about it. Let’s take the run first. Some people say a good run is mind-clearing. Others say it’s a good chance to relax. Okay – so the “relax” factor might be stretching it in terms of physical, but think about it from the mental for just a sec. I don’t know about you, but when I run, there is a cadence to my breathing – one deep count in, two long counts out. Slow & steady with the mantra “must beat cancer” right behind it. There is a rhythm to my running that parallels my practice in yoga.

Now let’s move onto a good yoga session and how it relates to a good run. Tight hamstrings, tight hips, tight anything is bad, bad, bad for running so… what better way to stretch it all out than with a session of yoga? Go on any running site (take Runner’s World, for example). I bet there is an article or two (at the very least) about good stretching. The Y word might even be thrown around a little. I know for a fact Runner’s World has a video of three yoga moves designed to free the hips, loosen the quads and stretch the calves.

My point of all this preaching is not to get runners to become yogis or vise versa. My point is all about me, myself and moi, actually. I wanted to outwardly vent about lining it up – the yoga, the running & the eating well. Only now I’ve added a fourth component so I’ll have to rename the Trinity as the Fantastic Four: running, yoga, eating well and…Hello Mr. Bowflex – strength training!