Monday, January 23, 2012

Link dump

I just need to dump some links before I lose them!


I intend to travel to northern Sweden later this year for four main reasons:
To see the Nobel Prize announcement
To see the Northern Lights
To experience eternal darkness
To see the ice hotel

Kirkenes Snow Hotel
Guardian Trevel, where to see the Northern Lights


I want to get new flooring for the appartement. (It's currently sporting a rather tasteless industrial style collection of lino tiles. They're cold, hard, they get dusty and they make the appartement look cheap and nasty.)

Home Depot: How to install laminate flooring
DIY Network: How to install laminate flooring


I should probably start a cooking blog too, just to keep nice, healthy and easy recipes.

Reader's Digest: Stuffed peppers (Yes, I finally got around to cooking these. And couscous is surprisingly easy to prepare.)


In order to progress with the yoga I'm going to need to become more flexible with my legs in extension. So by the end of February I'd like to be able to do the splits. How to do the splits

Friday, January 20, 2012

The deal

I just made a deal with Julia. If I give up going to the gym within a few weeks I have to give her my membership.


On Saturday I joined the gym, as planned! I took a tour of ICC and was impressed with how much stuff they had (and they have saunas, which is a nice touch.) On Tuesday night I checked out the nearest gym, in Meyrin, but was less impressed. They have less stuff there, and it's older, but they do have yoga classes. So it looks like I'll be going to ICC for most of my gym needs.

I'm currently speaking to Anna on IM and she's giving me all kinds of advice about how to get started:

Go to the gym 2-3 times a week (I'm aiming for 3, and will probably have to build e a schedule for it.)

Start with 10-15 minutes of cardio (running, bike, rowing) and vary it from one session to another.

Diet should include plenty of protein (eggs, meat, fish) and calorie intake can be taken from Calorie Calculator.

Find what's comfortable at 10 reps, then increase the weight and try 8 reps. (This should keep the sets nice and short!)

Vary the routines with a different muscle group each visit.

She's going to send me some more information via E-mail with links to forums and messageboards

I'm also on Skype chat with Ed and he has quite a lot of experience with the gym. I've asked him for some more specific help with individual exercises, and he's given me that kind of advice in the past.

Ed says:

So, for a 1 hour gym session, I would do:
5 minute warm up on a treadmill, from walking pace up to a "brisk" jog

15 mins of weights, try to use the freeweights (i.e. not machines, aside from leg weight work) and start slow, probably at 10Kg, and do say 8 reps until you feel comfortable to increase the reps, and gradually use higher weights. Specifically, Google these: dumbbell flys, chest presses (be careful, don't go mad on the weight) and dumbbell pullovers

20 mins of cardio, maybe half on a rower at a moderate resistance, and then a bit of treadmill. try to keep away from the "skiing" machines, they're a waste of time

15 mins of leg work on machines, leg presses, squats, leg abduction/adduction. again, don't go mad. ab/adduction hurts!

5 min cool down jog on treadmill.

Look at for a list of everything, but just make sure you know roughly what you're doing. Don't be put off by others

Friday, January 13, 2012

Climbing up the walls

Last night I went climbing with Julia, as part of my "never say no to a reasonable bit of exercise" resolution. It was lots of fun. She didn't push too hard, and my boss came too, overcoming his fear of heights. But it left me so tired. I need more upper body strength, more flexibility and more balance. So the yoga should help with the last two, and the gym should help with the first.

I was supposed to be going swimming with Catrin today at lunch, but she cancelled. Good job really, as my body aches and I have a headache (dehydration!) I even woke up late. It looks like climbing really takes it out of me. But that's good for the arm muscles, so it's just telling me I need to work them more.

With all that, it means that I'll have to start Couch To 5K again. No big deal. That's quite fun actually.

To get much further with the yoga I really need to understand what I'm doing, so I updated my Amazon account and ordered some books online. The shipping was as much as the books though! Shocking. Then again, the books were cheap enough.

And another resolution to add to the list: Always have lunch with other people. Last year I got into the habit of taking my lunch back to my desk, which was not good. I generally didn't do any work while eating, but I was focused on saving time. Not this year. This year is about learning to let go of the work when it's not immediately in front of me.

Tasks for this weekend:
Join a gym
Get some curtains for my room and the spare room
Sort out a shopping ritual

Oh, and it looks like we're going skiing on Sunday. Petrified. But it will be fun. Another reason to work on my balance and flexibility.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A few shaky days

The past few days have not been as good as I would have liked. I overslept twice (once after drinking the night before. So no drinking after 10pm, except on special occasions!) Oversleeping meant that I couldn't do the second Couch to 5K exercise, and I would have done it this morning instead, but I'm going climbing tonight. I don't want to be all tired for climbing. And I'm going ski-ing on Sunday. I may have to start again on Couch to 5K. But that's no big deal.

Tingting arrived, so productivity at work will be down a bit for the next few months. That might make things trickier. Then again, Steve leaves on Friday which will make things easier. And this year is all about working smarter, not harder. Getting rid of service trigger work will go a long way towards that goal.

I've decided to take things in smaller steps. I don't need to do everything at once, so I'm easing myself into a lot of changes. Sleep and fitness come first. The sleep is just a matter of practice (to undo about 15 years of bad practice) and the fitness is going to take more care. I started with yoga to get some stretches going, and Couch to 5K as a way to build up stamina, but I'm thinking of following this 30 day course (starting Friday) Bodyrock 30 Day Challenge.

If I can put together enough French on Saturday, I'm signing up to the local gym. Then I'll put a gym bag in the car. 3 times a week is not unreasonable. The price is not insane either, which is nice, given that the last time I joined a gym it cost me 30 pounds for a year.

Also added to the list of resolutions: stop being racist. It's fun to make fun of the French, the Swiss, the Americans and even the English, but no more. Jokes are to be confined to between close friends.

I'm thinking of keeping a log of my sleeping habits. But that might be taking things too far.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Sleep and things

Just some notes and links about sleep.

Aside from some sleep hygiene, this articles seems to get all the main points. Health Sleep

A good day

So far today has been quite good!

Getting up at 8:00am was a bit hard, so I slept in until the 3rd alarm (8:20am.) Naughty, but not too bad.

I then did the morning yoga, had a healthy breakfast and started Couch to 5K. That advanced me three levels on Fitocracy and I'm almost at level 5 already!

All in all it seems to take about two hours between getting up, doing yoga, having breakfast, changing into jogging clothes, performing Couch to 5K, showering and getting dressed. Good to know. If I want to be at CERN by 10:00am (avoiding traffic) then getting up at 8:00am is about right. Breakfast happens to be a good chance to catch up with news on BBC Worldwide, which is nice.

I finally got my green plates attached to my car today (very efficient, cheap and easy, which was nice.) And I got to keep the old white plates, so they're going up on the wall somewhere. And I got the red triangle for the car. Apart from renewing the insurance for 2012, the car is all up to date and the next steps involve making it look and feel a bit more awesome.

And I did it all in French. Not good French, but at least I tried.

The reading has started too. Last night I started A Tale of Two Cities, by Dickens, and so far it's a good read. So I'm happy about what's been achieved today. A much more positive attitude and less putting off of things.