Videos from BKB

(Part 21 of 74 in My Journey)

Some videos I took in April 2015 when I was last up in Somerville. This certainly isn’t a great answer to “what is parkour” in the global sense. But it will give you an idea of what I was working on when I had several hours to play on some scaffolding when I had unstructured time to just train.






Sorry, no actually I’m not

(Part 22 of 74 in My Journey)

So this happened in Cartegena.

This is funny, but that’s not why I posted this. See the bottom.

Imagine if you will, a bus load of 45 tourists — a perfect stereotype bus tour from a cruise ship. We all walk up a hill/road to see the Castillo overlooking Cartegena. (Very nice by the way! Photos coming soon.) Then we walk all the way back down. We reach an intersection, near our bus in the home stretch, and across the street is a small park with one of those long railings meant to keep people from J-walking.

The cross-walk says “go”, so there’s no traffic. Without thinking, I J-walked straight across and vaulted the rail.

…and I hear 44 people do a group groan. They had all followed me across the intersection and everyone had to walk all the way around the railing. (My mom shouted out, “Brat!”)

SO? Well, I did it without thinking, but FORGET ME.

Imagine what YOUR LIFE would be like if you vaulted a little railing after a long walk AND THOUGHT IT WAS FUN. What, really, is your excuse?

(…and if you’re in shape, or under 20, or can already vault a rail. Kudos to you! …but I’m not talking to you.)


Is motivation useless

(Part 23 of 74 in My Journey)

Instead of berating yourself when you’re not motivated to exercise, or getting mad at yourself when you struggle with eating unhealthy food, take a step back and look at it from a different angle:

“How can you build the habit of success and put your focus there, instead of chasing the motivation to make it happen?

It’s easy to become ensnared – to chase motivation and fail – or rationalize inaction and never try. Every single one of us has fallen into this trap. I’d love to hear about your experience with this, and how you plan to (or already have) overcome it.

~ Steve Kamb

In a vague sort of way, I found this idea in my own training. As usual, Steve Kamb brings clarity to the party. This idea of incremental actions, of habits, and little processes that make success a foregone conclusion is at the core of my Parkour training.


GORP snack to the rescue

(Part 24 of 74 in My Journey)

I’ve been slowly making steady progress on a number of healthy goals. One of them is good ‘ol weight loss.

It is important that I avoid going crazy with snack food. But sometimes I simply get hungry between meals. And most importantly, because I’ve been doing intermittent fasting, it is very important that I have something ready to eat at Noon in cases where a full meal isn’t easy to get. So if I’m driving, or out doing something with friends or family, and Noon rolls around… what are you going to do? I don’t want to be a stick-in-the-mud and demand we stop what we’re doing to have lunch promptly at Noon.

GORP to the rescue!

GORP is simply Good Old Raisins and Peanuts. But I particularly like mixing in raw almonds to get the micronutrients, and fat — fat is GOOD for you! Peanuts are not a true nut by the way. So this recipe is just roughly equal part mixture of raisins, peanuts and almonds. (Note, dry roasted unsalted peanuts, raw unsalted almonds.)

I mix this up in bulk, and measure it out in 1/3 cup servings in small snack size plastic bags. You get about 45 servings out of this batch. The serving size is deliberate: It is about 240 calories; about 22g fat, 19g carbs and 11g protein. So I know I can have one of these with ZERO guilt. They are small enough to fit/carry anywhere, and small enough in calories to have little effect on whatever dieting you may be doing. On the other hand, they are large enough in calories and nutrition that I can easily go a couple hours before getting hungry again for a meal.

Update May 2016

There are two things to notice.

The nutrition info I’ve given comes NOT from the “serving size” info on the containers. Instead, I extrapolated to get the nutritional data for the entire container and then divided by the number of 1/3-cup servings I make out of the entire mix.

240 calories is a surprisingly small handful of this stuff. Every time I eat one of these, I think, “I’m hungrier than this size… but ok I’ll start with this.” Then, an hour later I’m like, “I fell for it again… 240 calories was enough.”


A student of Art du Déplacement

(Part 25 of 74 in My Journey)

Art du Déplacement, (a French phrase meaning ‘art of movement’,) is a method of improving oneself through challenge. The founders say that to practice the art means to work toward: Being mentally and physically strong; being useful; being a positive contribution to your community; being better than you were yesterday.

But what about competition, flips, stunts, jumping roof gaps and gymnastics tumbling? …are those things part of it? Certainly, some people do those things as part of their practice. Competition can make you physically stronger. Jumping roof gaps can make you mentally tougher. So these things can be part of your practice, but your practice does not have to be these things.

For me, swallowing my pride and starting over in physical fitness with a group of people about half my age… That was a challenge. For me, pull-ups are a challenge. But that’s the whole point. It’s is about me improving me, and you improving you.

But I didn’t know that when I first tried Parkour, (before I understood the Art du Déplacement roots of what I was learning,) in the spring of 2012. I had met Adam McClellan during a martial arts demonstration and he talked me into coming out to play with the growing Lehigh Valley Parkour community. I am continuously delighted to be the big, old, slow, lumbering gorilla in a community of enthusiastic, supportive and happy people. After two years of serious training, at the age of 42, I passed the ADAPT Level 1 certification through Parkour Generations. Art du Déplacement, Parkour, and this unique community, have changed my life.


Kee Klamps!

(Part 27 of 74 in My Journey)

Yeeee-Haw! The UPS driver, (aka ‘our brown Santa’,) just surprised me with this…. didn’t even know it had shipped! Off to Home Depot for steel pipe . . . *squeeeeeeeee*


Targeted-heart-rate workouts

(Part 29 of 74 in My Journey)

A while back I mentioned I’ve been experimenting with a FitBit HR and an intentional, designed, fitness program. I’ve been playing with this more. I originally didn’t like that I couldn’t just redefine all the zones to the HRs that we’re targeting.

Most, tradition/common workout programs I’ve seen have just 3 heart rate (HR) zones based on a maximum HR which is simply computed based on your age. The plan I’m working with from Mike, is significantly more complex. (Details for another post I suppose.) Anyway, the plan calls for very specific workouts, for example: “17 minutes in Z1”.

I noticed on day one, that the FitBit only has one “custom zone” that you can configure. So, I’ve begun manually setting the “custom zone” to the goal HR before some of the workouts. Once I plug in the specific Z1 lower/upper numbers, I can then set off on the workout.

On the device, there is an icon-based display that shows you quickly if you’re below/in/above the target zone. Normally, the icons refer to one of the FitBit’s built-in zones. But it turns out that if you set a custom zone, then the icon status is for your custom zone. Ok, now THAT’S useful!

The above screen grab is from a morning run where I had the custom zone set to my specific Z1 values. The graph shows the FitBit’s default zones (blue/”under”, yellow/”fat burn”, orange/”cardio”) and it overlays my custom zone as the hatched band. The bar graph even adds a value for the time in the custom zone.

In this example I set out to perform, after warming up, for 17 minutes in Z1. …and BAM! 16 minutes in Z1 by it’s measure. Now that’s a targeted workout.

Aside: The tail end of the graph was a strong-run-out, 1/4 mile. My opinion is that the FitBit sucks at picking up highend HR. Either that, or I’m a machine, and can run an 8 minute mile pace at a 151HR. …and it’s not the latter of those two.


Max heart rate 189

(Part 30 of 74 in My Journey)

New personal best out running with Tracy this morning. The traditional “220-age” formula for me is 177. The newer “217-(0.85*age)” model yields 180.