HIIT

I was reading a blog post about HIIT on Steve H. Graham’s website yesterday when I remembered that Andrew Marr had a stroke whilst doing it (HIIT).

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval training. The general idea is that instead of exercising for long periods at low intensity, you do intervals of twenty seconds or thereabouts at maximum effort.

The main benefit is that you don’t have to train for so long each time, yet you get all the benefits (And more) of prolonged aerobic exercise:

  • You burn more calories overall
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Increased mitochondria count (Not sure what this does but it sounds like it should be good.)
  • Increased endurance
  • Increased telomerase, which protects telomeres
  • Increased production of human growth hormone

A recumbent exercise bike is ideal for HIIT. Fortunately I have one. I just haven’t figured how to use it yet.

My under-utilised recumbent bike.

Anyway, I plan on starting an HIIT programme soon. I hope to see the benefits quickly, particularly the increased sense of wellbeing that comes with regular exercise. I also hope to lose a bit of weight and not die of an electrical cardiac malfunction. I’ll let you know how I get on.

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Veganism

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Recently I gave up dairy and eggs. I’d been vegetarian for about 25 years and had been thinking about going vegan for a while. My older brother has been vegan for a couple of years and kept on telling me how great he felt, how he had lost weight.

As for me, so far so good. I don’t miss cheese, eggs or milk at all. In fact I don’t think I could go back to eating them. I don’t really have a sweet tooth any more so I didn’t really eat cakes, puddings or ice cream. One less problem.

I’ve lost about 7 kilos over the past couple of months and whilst I’ve been on a weight-loss diet, I think being vegan has made it easier to lose the weight.

I don’t know if I’d say I feel significantly healthier but I certainly don’t feel any worse. (I’ve also been avoiding beer, which has made a difference to how I look and feel though.)

Meat and dairy are primary sources of calcium and B12 for most people, so I’ll be taking supplements for those: a B complex pill for the B12 and soya milk for the calcium. Hopefully that’ll suffice, though I have read about vegans with brittle bones here and there. (Possibly scare stories, I’ll do some research and find out.)

Another aspect to veganism its that it’s easier on the planet: meat and dairy are resource-intensive and they account for a big chunk of CO2 emissions.

One of my main motives for going vegan though, is the fact that I like animals, or, more accurately I hate to think about animal cruelty. I don’t think it’s possible to produce meat, eggs or milk without the animals suffering in some way. It feels good to have a clear conscience about that side of things.

The only other thing I have to think about is leather: only one footwear manufacturer’s shoes fit my fat feet (Geox). Unfortunately, they use leather or suede in all their products, so I’ll be doing a search for an alternative when I run out of trainers (I went on a splurge before I decided to go vegan so I have a couple of years worth of them stocked up).

Anyway, veganism seems to be trendy these days. So much the better. I just hope those experimenting with it for whatever reasons will stick with it.

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Oliver Sacks

I’ve read most of Oliver Sacks’ books. I’m not a book critic so I won’t go into detail about why I like his writing but in short, he was humane, learned and interesting.

Yesterday I bought the last book he ever published, “Gratitude”. I got it on my Kindle. It was a great read, if short (It’s only 64 pages). In my opinion it’s one of his best.

I was disappointed to reach the end so soon, but the last lines of the book contained this insight, which was worth the cover price alone: “And now, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life – achieving a sense of peace within oneself.”

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Bottles

Over quota on this stuff too.
Over quota on this stuff.

I took this photo when I was thinking about doing bottle photography. I’ve since abandoned that particular idea because:
a) I no longer need the money, and
b) I dislike advertising in general and alcohol advertising in particular.
c) I didn’t have a proper studio.

Anyway, if something needs to be advertised in order to sell, I’m not sure I want to help. I’m also generally against consumerism and added to that, I think alcohol is a bad thing for a lot of people and therefore banning alcohol advertising would be a good thing in my opinion.

So whilst I enjoyed (Sort of) trying my hand at product photography, I’m not sorry it didn’t work out.

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