Putting the Fun in Functional

Workouts mean different things to different people — but they can always be fun.

I like “fun-ctional” workouts. To me fun-ctional means it’s fun, I’m fit, it’s affordable, and it’s good for the planet. For me that looks like regular bicycle commuting, soccer, beach volleyball, martial arts and mixing in other enjoyable activities like hiking or throwing a Frisbee when I want.  I work out my core and a variety of muscle groups in my upper and lower body.

Today I biked over to the local turf field for my noon pickup soccer game. There were some Italian teenagers doing an exchange program in Santa Cruz, so we started a second game with them. The Italians opted to stay together on one team.  I never thought I’d see America beat Italy at soccer — but we did today.

After working up a good sweat during the game (and getting a little Vitamin D via sunshine), I drank my water with fresh-squeezed lime juice and two drops of stevia, and decided to wrap up with a little Interval Training.

Interval training is the best way to get a superior workout quickly. It builds muscle and aerobic fitness and keeps us young by signaling our body to produce natural growth hormones. And it does this better than running or biking for miles, which would take two or three times longer. The basic idea is to reach your maximum heart rate for 30 seconds, followed by a recovery period for 90 seconds and repeating the cycle for about 20 minutes.

Since I already played soccer, I did four sets of sprinting as fast as I could for 30 seconds and then jogging at a casual pace for 90 seconds. It felt great. And I can still keep up with guys half my age on the soccer field!

Then I warmed down with about three minutes of stomach exercises (I like having a sixpack), including some standing trunk twists and some variations on situps on my back. Finally, I had some water blended with a scoop of raw, organic, grass-fed whey protein powder—perhaps the best source of protein for muscle recovery after a good workout.

Then I hopped back on my bike, stopping off at New Leaf (the health food store downtown) for a little kefir (probiotics) and some free-range turkey for breakfast tomorrow with some fresh, raw greens from my garden.

At home I had a few “raw burritos”—red cabbage leaves stuffed with fresh avocado, tomato, and a little hot sauce. Quick, yummy, filling, and very nutritious. Life is good.




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