2018 concept2 challenges

My 2018 New Year’s resolutions

Potomac Boat Club Washington, DC, USA on the potomac river PBC boat house rowing rowers singles sculls sweepsHappy new year everyone! It’s 2018 and I am actually putting together a list of my own personal new year’s resolutions: slow jog, slow row, kick box, bell-swing, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and, finally, some weight-training. When it comes to eating, my Achilles heel has never really been what I eat, it’s always been how much. I ate too much plant-based, too much fat-based keto, and I ate too much when all I ate were tuna fish sandwiches on wheat bread.

Chris Abraham participating in the 2015 Concept2 Holiday ChallengeSo instead of being an extremist food-wise, I will just make sure I eat 1/4 protein, 1/4 grains, and 1/2 fruits and vegetables–but keeping my intake at around ~1,400 calories-per-day until that becomes a problem performance-wise.  I won’t rush it because most of my performance, anyway, is niko niko and won’t really ever result in too much bonking–if any at all.

Resolution #0: Take the Stairs

I made a mistake yesterday. I live in an 8th floor apartment and I never take the stairs. Not even once. Neither up nor down. Even when only one of the three are working. I always can rationalize standing there with my nose in my Samsung S6 Active, right? And I know there are stairwell people, too! I know that there are people who use the stairs all the time–they just don’t make a big deal about it. That’s the thing: the stairs are always there! And my building has four separate stairwells so the chance of being crowded out is virtually impossible!  Hell, after I was sick last year this time, I even got into the habit of avoiding the single set of stairs that leads from Penrose Square Park up to the entrance of my local Penrose Square Giant supermarket! It’s very sad. I do intend to do the stairs in my street clothing, I intend to do it slowly and surely, making sure I have a hand free for the handrail. And, I am giving myself permission to transition from stairs to elevator if and when I either swamp-out or puss-out. I am going to start it slow. Even very slow.

I wrote all of this down into a new blog post: Added “Take the Stairs” to My 2018 New Year’s Resolution if you want to know why taking the stairs–even slowly–is good for us.

Resolution #1: Actually take up the Slow Jogging

Slow Jogging: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Have Fun with Science-Based, Natural Running Kindle Edition by Hiroaki Tanaka (Author),‎ Magdalena JackowskaI have become obsessed with Slow Jogging but not enough to actually start slow jogging yet. I bought the right shoes and I am, of course, obsessed with it. But I am not doing it. Starting today, I’m doing it. No matter how short the run, no matter what–even if it’s on my building’s gym’s treadmill instead of outside in the Arctic. 

black mizuno wave sonic running shoes racing flatsHiroaki Tanaka and Magdalena Jackowska are both adorbs and dead serious and I want to be just like them, though I might not have the stones to take it up outside during this so-called Arctic cold outbreak. It’s all in pursuit of the niko niko pace. According to the Natural Running Center, “Niko niko means ‘smile’ in Japanese and here defines an easy pace, that you can keep with a smile.” 

polar heart rate strap h7According to the official Slow Jogging book, high-intensity training is 70%-80% of what you got–running running–while slow jogging is closer to just 50% of what you got.

Sort of athletic shuffling but with good form and making sure you don’t drag your shuffling feet. 

Resolution #2: Row every single day

Chris Abraham Rowing Concept2 Holiday Challenge Rowing Erging Indoor Rowing LogbookI’ll be starting today with a combination of the brand new-for-2018 January Revolutions Challenge in addition to the concurrently-run Virtual Team Challenge: row every day in January.

Now let me tell you what I mean when I say row every single day: slow-rowing.

concept2 pm4 and ipad

I guess slow-rowing is the same as slow-jogging: perfect form, a focus on stroke/pace, and a deep attention to keeping niko niko

When I trained for the GWU college crew team we exerted 70%-80% of our VO2 max. Niko niko is closer to 50% of one’s VO2 max, according to slow jogger gurus Hiroaki Tanaka and Magdalena Jackowska. 

This is really easy when there are challenges on. In January alone, there’s both the Virtual Team Challenge, which gives way more value to niko niko numbers of meters and kilometers over how hard you row. 

Resolution #3: Put Some Power Tens in

Keep Calm and Power 10 rowingThat said, I promise to do some high-intensity sets of ten. In on-water rowing, these are called power tens.  Here’s a really awesome article on the Power Ten on Concept2’s website:

“a Power Ten is, traditionally, ten hard strokes of power. The coxswain often will count out each stroke for the crew” . . .  “a Power Ten helps crews to mentally commit to rowing simultaneously and keep focus. And in reality, it’s hard to maintain 100% effort for the entire race. The coxswain may call a Power Ten to motivate the crew to return to pulling hard when they’ve become tired or to make a move to gain (or pass) on a competitor” . . . “a Power Ten can be a useful tool for rowing indoors as well. Sprinkle Power Tens into your workouts: try breaking up longer workouts like a 5k with a Power Ten every 500m or 1000m. On shorter workouts, Power Tens can help you focus on intervals and sprints. If you’re feeling like you can’t keep up at your same pace any longer, take a Power Ten to dedicate to your best effort”–that’s all amazing advice and I couldn’t say it better myself.

Thank you, Meredith Breiland! To me, a Power Ten is always going to be 80% of my exertion; or, around a ~140-147 heart rate.  I always wear my Polar chest strap when I am rowing on the erg.  I will do the same thing once I can actually do that, physically, during my slow jogs. Once in a while I will just try to do ten-mississippis worth of sprinting in addition to my 50% slow jogging.  

Resolution #4: Get Back To My Local 9Round Gym

Cleto Reyes professional training gloves for 9Round

I really loved getting unlimited quasi-personal training whenever I wanted it. It’s so easy to just go there with a set of boxing hand wraps and a pair of Cleto Reyes professional training gloves and in around 30-minutes I’m in a swampy pool of my own juices.

And, as Rob Graveline, owner of all the 9Round studios and gyms in Arlington, said to me a while ago as I struggled just pulling myself up from the mat: “the only thing we’re going to focus on together is working on getting up off the floor.

turkish get up pavel kettlebellThe only thing you need to be able to do easily is get up. That’s the focus of our working together.” While that’s sort of a paraphrase, that’s how I remember it. He’s a good man.

And how sad is it that I can’t easily get off the floor without grimacing and grunting? Oy vey! I would love to be able to get to the point where I am acing kettlebell Turkish Get-Ups.

Resolution #4: Add Calisthenics to My Day

Get Fit, Get Fierce with Kettlebell Swings: Just 12 Minutes a Day to Lose Weight, Prevent Sitting Disease, Hone Your Body and Tone Your Booty!I have a treadmill desk that I have been underutilizing over the last quarter–I need to spend a lot more time making 12,000 steps a day, be it via 2mph walking-while-working or via slow-jogging and real springing (I owe a lot to my Fitbit community). I have six very nice kettlebells that I have not been using nearly enough and that I would prefer to swing my kettlebells for 90-seconds every 60-minutes. In addition to that, my business partner Dan Krueger wants me to drop and do 20 every hour all day long as well: 20 push-ups, 20 squats, and maybe at some point some pull-ups and loads of sit-ups and scissor lifts.

So, I think I’ll do it as often and as religiously as I can. But not nearly as religiously as I am committing to my slow-rowing and my slow-jogging. Amen!

My Goals

super fat guy single scull maas aeroGoal #1: Get Back Onto The Water and Into a Single Scull: I am way too fat to get into even the super-fat Aero boat by Maas. I have been a member of the Potomac Boat Club for a year-and-a-half now and have yet to get into a boat and onto the water. So, my number-one goal is to get back onto the water this year.  Seriously!

Chris Abraham's 2010 Surly Steamroller with 3 speedsEven if I need to slow-jog or bicycle the 5.5 miles each and every day to the boat house–and back–until all the weight comes off (maybe bike there, leave the bike, slow-jog back; slow-jog there, get the bike, and ride back–what do you think?).

The Maas Aero boats have a 240 lbs. rower maximum weight limit.

hudson heavyweight rowing shell scull at thompson's boat centerMy own Hudson single scull rowing shell was made for a 190 lb. rower but I was fine in at at ~225 lbs. I basically gave that shell to PBC because I wasn’t using it. So, maybe one day we’ll be reunited but I would be happy to spend all my time with the big boy Maas. But I ramble.

That’s my number-one most important goal: get in the boat, get on the river, and become an all-the-time regular at Potomac Boat Club.

lynda carter potomac boat center aarp pbcRight now, I feel like I am just paying dues–and it’s completely my fault. It’s all on me.

This is a very important goal for me. Please pray for me on this one.

If I become a PBC rower I will never be anything but in amazing shape for the rest of my life. A+B=C!

Chris Abraham at theodore roosevelt islandGoal #2: Ability to Function Hiking in the Wilderness: I have two short-term goals: first, I am going on a wilderness trip in April of this year, so I will need to be able to keep up with friends who have a decade and -150 pounds on me. So, my goals aren’t aesthetic but are more performance-based. To be able to hike into the wilderness without everyone being worried about me dying or needing a helicopter rescue. So, I am all about functional training, “a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily life.” That sounds exactly what I need.

Just in case you missed that adorbs slow jogging video here it is:

One thought on “My 2018 New Year’s resolutions

  1. Pingback: Adding "take the stairs" to my 2018 new year's resolution - RNNR

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