Thursday, July 29, 2010

Do It Like DT

As you know, I enjoy reading fitness books. So I was especially excited to learn about Dara ("DT") Torres' new book, Gold Medal Fitness. So, excited in fact, that I tweeted about it.

And much to my delight, she replied:

She asked me to let her know what I thought about it, so I figured I'd cover all my bases at once by posting my thoughts here.

Gold Medal Fitness:

Grade: A

A solid, thoughtful book about health and fitness. Dara speak honestly without any need to be all "Hollywood" (see: Jackie Warner) or "badass" (see: Jillian Michaels). She comes off as logical and practical.

The Gold:
* Discussion/exercise examples of Ki-Hara resistance stretching (just this is worth the price of the book).
* Discussion of Rest & Recovery
* Discussion/exercise examples of using three planes of movement in your workout

The Disqualifications:

* 6 of the 15 strength training exercises require a cable machine of some sort. This means you must go to a gym to do them. If she mentioned that you can recreate most of these moves at home with a SPRI type athletic band, it would make the routine more flexible.

*Dara provides 15 weeks of strength training exercises, but she does not talk about what to do during week 16+. (I know that most people stop a exercise routine after month 2, and no fitness book I have read ever talks about next steps, but I'm still holding out hope.)

What I'm Taking From It:
* 17 Ki-Hara Resistance Stretching Exercises
You can get her Resistance Stretching DVD or flashcards to help you even more.
* Exercise: Rainbow with Medicine Ball or Weight
* Exercise: Smith Press Crunch
* Exercise: Star Push Up

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kick It Around

Imagine if you will, a child in South Africa plays soccer with her friends for an hour. Then goes home and plugs her LED reading lamp in to the ball so that she can study.

Science fiction? Not any more.

Meet the sOccket, the soccer ball that converts energy in to electricity. It works much like the shake to light flashlights. It's still in the prototype stages, but exercise & free electricity? Sounds like a winning idea to me.

It should be available for sale in the Western areas by the end of 2010, and they will be distributing it to developing countries at little or no cost by using a 'buy one/give one' plan.

Learn more about the sOccket here.
Sign up for their mailing list (to be notified when it goes on sale) here.

(I'm waiting on permission to use a photo of sOccket.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Apologize & Learn (For Tamar Weinberg)

Yesterday I had a chat (via Twitter) with Tamar Weinberg about her book, The New Community Rules. To make a long story short, it didn't go well. I'm pretty sure that by the end of it, she thought I wore a pointy black hat, cast spells on people and rode around on a broom (because I sure thought she did). A connection that should of been win/win ended up feeling negative. I have zero interest in negativity.

So, I took some time to think about what happened and realized that I was unfair to Tamar. I wanted to apologize but also wanted both of us (and you, dear reader) to learn something from this.


Dear Tamar,


I realize that I was unfair to you yesterday. I had researched the 4 most popular books on Community Management and your book, The New Community Rules, came up. When I saw that it was published by O'Reilly, I got really excited. I know that O'Reilly publishes many of its books in PDF for free. My current salary (none) does not enable me to buy books, so I was excited that I might be able to read it now, and not have to wait weeks and weeks for the library to get it. I'm also from a Open Source background and was still flying high from the community and collaboration of the Community Leadership Summit 2010 and OSCON. I stand behind everything I said about not really being able to lock down a book, and that you could expand your readership exponentially by offering it for free.

But, in retrospect, I realized that I did not contact any of the other authors of the books I found. Only you, because your publisher was O'Reilly. And in this, I was unfair to you. I should of treated you all the same. For this, I am sorry.


I can see from your blog comments, and from the reaction I got from you, that you have been asked many times if there is a free version of your book. I can't make that question stop, but I can suggest some ways to make the exchanges more fun.

Here's our exchange:

You have a potential reader that has taken the time to track you down, wrote a heartfelt message, and has stated that she is honest. Rather than sending a short, curt message, this is the perfect opportunity to Thank, Listen, Engage and Educate.

My suggested response:
I'm so glad you are interested in my book! Thanks for checking with me, but no, there is no free & *legal* copy of it.

This sort of response would of left a positive message while also educating about the situation. Most people would probably stop the communication there, but let's assume they continued (like I did).

You still have a potential reader that is asking thoughtful questions, and suggesting things she thinks might help you. Again, I suggest you Thank, Listen, Engage and Educate.

My suggestion:
Thanks for thinking of me. The licensing of my book is not up to me. :( Sorry you can't swing the $. Have you tried the library or sharing with a friend?

I know you are thinking, "Why suggest the library? You will lose a possible book sale!" Well, if you look closely, you can see that I never had the intention of buying the book. I suggest you think beyond money. You want to create evangelists, but they don't have to all buy the book. The conversation could of ended there, and on a positive note. Instead it unraveled:

I hope you take this apology and these suggestions to heart. I truly want you to succeed Tamar. And if you now think I am the queen of the witches, that's fine. My hope is that someone had read this and learned something helpful.

All the best,

Lia Hollander

Monday, July 19, 2010

Learn The Art of Community

A few weeks back, someone mentioned that with my background and skills, I would be a perfect Community Manager. It sounded like an incredibly fun job, so of course, I began to do more research. I immediately thought of Dawn Foster (friend and Community Manager of MeeGo) and began devouring her series of blog posts on 'Community Manager Tips'. From there I moved on to Jono Bacon's The Art of Community (O'Reilly). I found the book to be incredibly helpful, so I let him know via Twitter.

Soon after these exchanges, I learned that the Community Leadership Summit 2010 would be happening soon in Portland, OR. And guess who was one of the organizers? Well, Mr. Jono Bacon himself. So of course, being a good community steward, I invited him to a local tech event that was going on before the conference. And he said yes.

I quickly alerted everyone that I knew had RSVP'ed to the conference. To Marshall Kirkpatrick, editor of Read Write Web, and also to Rick Turoczy, of The Silicon Florist. I unfortunately had to leave Beer and Blog before Jono got there, but the hug he gave me on Saturday morning when we finally met in person, more than made up for it!

The conference was wonderful, I made some new friends, and learned even more about the trials and successes of being a Community Manager.

I said this to everyone I saw at the conference, and I will say it again: I highly recommend reading Jono's book. The free PDF version is: right here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rule The School

Schools out for the summer! You know what that means, right? No, not that. It means EMPTY PLAYGROUNDS! (Well, at least in the early morning anyway.)

Playground equipment is perfect for doing a cardio circuit. I scouted the location first, so that I could come up with the exercises and decide what equipment to bring, and tried it out on Thursday.

Playground Cardio Circuit

5 minute warm up (walk to the elementary school, carrying 6 lb. medicine ball)
5 Wall Throws (Threw the medicine ball against a cement wall and squatted to catch it.)
5 Hop Ups* (Grid painted on ground, used it like an agility ladder.)
5 Hazard Runs* (Ran through yellow diagonal lines painted on ground.)
5 Modified Pull Ups (Used the chin up bars on the playground structure.)

Then I repeated the circuit. I went a total of 45 minutes (which ended up being 5 times through) then walked home (cool down).

*My names for them, since I made the exercises up.

You can do whatever your heart (or imagination) desires, just be sure to get your heart beating fast (I wore my heart rate monitor to make sure I was working hard enough).

To increase intensity:
Increase the number or reps you do per exercise. For example, the first time I did this routine (Thursday) I did 5 sets of each exercise before moving on the next one. On Tuesday, I did 6 sets of each exercise.
Run between each 'station'
Carry light hand weights

Have fun!

NOTE: The former teacher in me would like to remind you that we don't run up slides. Thank you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Share The Road

I've ridden my bike through the streets once or twice, but I am by no means a cyclist. Now that the weather is nice there seem to be more bikes on the road. I've always wondered what 'Share The Road' really meant. I'm happy to do it, but just how would you like me too? I recently read numerous issues of Bicycling Magazine, and although I saw lots of interesting stuff, I did not read about what drivers can do to be safe. So, I emailed the magazine and was given a link to a recent article.

Here's the gist:

1. Slow down when passing bicyclists
2. Leave at least 3 feet between you and the bicyclist
3. Always check before taking a turn (especially a right hand one)

1. Ride is single formation
2. Use hand signals
3. Make eye contact

That's easy enough, right? See you on the road!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ramp It Up

Just wanted to give you a update on my current weight/strength training program.
I include the amount of weight I lift, because I think it is important. All the fitness magazines show programs with dinky weights, which is unhelpful.

This program is done 3x a week.

15 One legged squats with front & side raise (8 lb. dumbbells)
15 Stand Up Curls (18.5 lb. dumbbells)
* 2 Minutes rest/jogging in place

15 One arm rows on a stability ball (18.5 lb dumbbells)
15 Chest presses (18.5 lb. dumbbells)
* 2 Minutes rest/jogging in place

15 Skull Crushers (8 lb. dumbbells-I could do more, but it makes me uncomfortable to have that much weight near my head.)
15 Plank Push Ups
* 2 Minutes rest/jogging in place

Plank Toe Touch (30 seconds)
15 Double Leg Stretches
15 Drawbridges
* 2 Minutes rest/jogging in place

15 Hip Cross Overs
15 Prone Cobras

For the fast few months I had been doing:
One set of each exercise for Week 1 & 2
Two sets of each exercise for Week 3 & 4
Three sets of each exercise for Week 5 & 6

This gave me ample time to get my muscles up to speed, prevented injury and still helped me make gains in muscle. But I have decided it's time to go back to what my trainer originally prescribed:

One set of each exercise for Week 1
Two sets of each exercise for Week 2 & 3
Three sets of each exercise for Week 4 & 5

It's been 8 months since my back surgery, and I'm ready to push a little harder.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chalk It Up For Agility

You know what an agility ladder is right? Yeah, that's what I thought. Here's a photo for reference:

They are used to increase hand and foot coordination of athletes of all types. I see them as a easy way to increase the intensity of my cardio workouts.

Now an agility ladder costs about $50, and I am *say it with me now* extremely cheap. So, as much as I like the idea of adding intensity to my workouts, I don't like detracting from my bank account (and cluttering up the house). The weather has been very nice here lately and I have no interest in working out indoors if I don't need to, so I have created the chalk agility ladder:

Each rectangle is 12" wide and 16" long (my feet fit fine, but you might want to make your spaces a little bigger) and I ended up making it 18 feet long. I used some chalk and a yard stick and it took about 6 minutes to make.

I plan on doing my 45 minutes of cardio on it tomorrow. The amount of things you can do with it are quite amazing. Here's a great video showing a few of them:


NOTE: The ladder ended up being a little on the small side, and the rain has now washed it away. But I have new *evil* plans for it.