Fit 15

The beginning of a new year is when many people make resolutions to improve their life in one way or another. Mostly commonly, this has to do with their health and fitness, also very commonly, it is the same resolutions they made last year, and the year before, and so on. While it is a good exercise to set exercise goals, the important thing is to follow through, and actually put a plan in place.

For me too, 2015 is yet another year in which I plan to improve my health and fitness. It is an ongoing battle. Despite having a job that can be physically demanding, exercising regularly, and being somewhat careful over what I put in my body, I am, according to a BMI of 31, obese. Even my current goal weight of ~175 pounds (79.4 kg) is considered overweight at 27 for my height of 5' 7" (170.2 cm).

I'm not sure how much I trust the index, since it would have me at a very skinny 140 pounds. My build is fairly husky, and I am pretty strong for my size. My calf muscles are bigger than some men's thighs. I'm more pack mule than jackrabbit. The BMI may not apply directly, but at least it is some sort of reference, and I am much too fat.

Starting this year, I am somehow back up to the heaviest I have ever been. It is shocking to step on the scale and see the huge numbers. There were hints in that my belt had to be set at a hole further out, but I still felt good, and not slowed down too much. Apparently, I had become somewhat less active this autumn, while taking in a few too many calories. It is important now that I reverse both of those.

So, what is the plan? Right now I don't really have one. This is winter, with cold and slippery conditions, plus it gets dark early. Then we get into cold and wet for the spring. There are usually a couple of nice weeks in July to bike and run before getting back into precipitation again. You really can't count on being able to do anything outside on any sort of a schedule.

What I have done is setup some general goals on my new Samsung Galaxy S5. Key among them is to do at least 30 minutes of an activity everyday. The pedometer is set for 6000 steps. The common goal is to do 10,000 steps, but I don't have the phone on me most of the day. Even then, it takes an hour long walk to hit that mark.

Winter means snow, and snow is great for getting exercise. First, there can be lots of shovelling to do at times. I often spend more than 2 hours cleaning up after a storm with scoop and shovel. That is a lot of walking, weight lifting, and various other strength exercises. There is no getting around it, or putting it off either.

Once we get enough snow built up on the ground, then other activities can be introduced. I really like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing up in the woods. We have a community ski trail, but that is a never-changing loop with other people on it. Heading off on one of the many forest trails means maybe an hour without seeing anyone, or hearing a sound of any kind. Just me and nature. I explore and go wherever I feel like. Of course, I have a map and compass, and probably a GPSr, along with the navigation capabilities of my newer phones. I've been making my own map of the winter trails.

Map made using a GlobalNav 12 and GPS Trackmaker in 2005.

A trail I can enjoy all year is the former railway bed. Since we no longer have a train in the province, the rails have been removed leaving a multi-use trail for walking, running, cycling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and so on. The only problem is that you have to share it with the snowmobiles, dirt bikes and ATVs. Fortunately, if you avoid the few busy times, you can pretty much have it to yourself.

Being a little bit more active, and a little bit more careful with food, I am down a couple of pounds already. At this rate it will take about a year to reach my weight goal, but as long as it is going down and not up, I am winning.


My Kramer Ferrington KFT

Somewhere around 1990 I bought a Korean version Kramer Ferrington KFT-2 #FB 5995. Being married with a family, my days of being in a band and needing a Marshall amp for a Gibson RD Artist were over. Something to play occasionally with friends, and maybe do some personal recording, was all I needed.

Fred, Curt, Dave and me playing at the Mussel Bed Soiree in 1986.

My Gibson RD Artist circa 1998, not too long before I sold it.

The Kramer must have been a few years old at the time, since the company logo on it is from 1985-1986. I remember seeing the guitar hanging up at the Radio Shack in Lewisporte and being instantly drawn to it. Wade gave me a package deal with the guitar, case, strap and picks for what I recall as being either $400 or $600 inclusive.

It is an acoustic/electric which tries to service both worlds by putting a mic in the body powered by a 9v battery. That feature didn't get much use, however, since the battery would be dead whenever I wanted to plug it in, and you had to really relax the strings to get at it. I found it easier to just mic the guitar when I wanted to record it.

U. Max, me, and Rod playing at a family reunion in 2000.

Playing this guitar was always a challenge, because either in the design or during the manufacturing process, the gap between the strings and fretboard was set way too high. It could be played, but only with a lot of pressure, and thus a loss of speed. There wasn't much bend left either, for doing any lead bits.

Since I rarely played anymore, this was not a big deal. Strumming a few chords at a campfire, or kitchen party was not too bad an ordeal. I got used to it. That was until 2014 when I started jamming occasionally with Mike. He has a collection of very expensive guitars, and the difference between his and mine was substantial. Going back to the Kramer was painful.

After owning this guitar for more than 2 decades, I decided to finally do something about the extremely high string action, and brought it to the local music store to see if they could do anything with it.

Back from repairs in 2015.

They took the guitar apart and fine tuned it until the strings were at a reasonable height. They also cleaned up the electrics and put in a new battery. Along with a new set of strings, it is a totally different guitar. I should have had this work done years ago. Playing guitar is once again something I can look forward to, and not an extreme workout for the fingers on my left hand.

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