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Your Backup Hobby

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24 Apr 2021 23:57 #322513 by RobertB
Replied by RobertB on topic Your Backup Hobby
To celebrate my upcoming Fathers’ Day/birthday/second childhood, I bought an air rifle. It was $200; no mere bb-gun for me! My plan is to punch holes in paper, maybe a rat if I see one in the yard no farther than 20 yards away. I’d have sprung for a .22 or a Remington 870 for skeet/burglar shooting, but the combination of stinkeye from the wife, stinkeye from the daughter, and stinkeye from the neighbor when a stray round flies through his picture window convinced me that pellets might be the way to go.

I set up a homemade backstop, and fired about 100 rounds today. It’s a break barrel, and if I shot 100 rounds every day I’d end up with arms like Popeye.
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25 Apr 2021 23:13 #322537 by Cranberries
Replied by Cranberries on topic Your Backup Hobby
For a long time air rifles were one of my "special interests." I love the meditative aspect of it, that you have to slow your breathing to make the shot. Utah air guns is down the street from me and everything there costs $1,000. It's like what happened to bicycles. There's also a slingshot scene now where custom builds with exotic materials cost $400.
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26 Apr 2021 10:16 #322545 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Your Backup Hobby
Aside from gaming, fitness has long been one of my major hobbies, and I tended to spend just as much time on both activities. But that changed when the governor shut down the fitness clubs in my state due to the pandemic. The last 13 months have been great for solo gaming but terrible for fitness. Thanks to yardwork and other outdoor work, I stayed fit up until winter. But outdoor running is treacherous once there is ice and snow, and body weight exercises can be hard on the joints. I am very, very sick of pushups now. I have also been using a full one gallon water jug as a barbell, but it eventually got a little too easy and I don't exactly have a handy water jug that is a nice step up.

By December, I purchased a cheap set of resistance bands, but they weren't ideal. Many of the exercises require a stable post or pillar, and the only qualified items inside my house are structural support posts encased in thin wood paneling. So the pillars were okay for light resistance, but as my strength improved, I worried that I break the wood. Also, the bands are not a great alterative to weights. The resistance is negligible until you approach full extension, so you don't activate your muscles fully through the whole range of movement. It has finally gotten warm of enough where I can start using the clothesline posts in my backyard to anchor the resistance bands, but there is still the limited range of resistance.

So I have been walking. I have always walked to the grocery store, which is a half mile round trip plus some carrying some weight. But last winter, I started doing a one-mile walk which gradually stretched to a 2.5 mile walk, two or three times per week. But it's time-consuming and not very challenging, so I plan to resume running this week. And my second dose of Pfizer should reach full efficacy by this coming weekend, so I will finally return to the gym.

I had a nightmare last night about the gym, revealing my underlying anxiety about going back. The gym actually re-opened last fall, but I saw in the news that there was a cluster of COVID cases traced back to that location, and I think there was a second shut down in November. I assume there will be hassles like wearing a mask and wiping down equipment after each set. Hopefully the pool will be open, but maybe the hot tub and sauna will still be shut down. Though fully vaccinated, the idea of being around a bunch of sweaty people is worrisome, and I am definitely uneasy about the prospect of dealing with a moderately crowded locker room. When I have driven past in recent months, the parking lot is often about 75% full, as opposed to 90% before the pandemic.

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26 Apr 2021 10:31 #322549 by the_jake_1973
Replied by the_jake_1973 on topic Your Backup Hobby
Shell, while it is too late for this winter, I was able to keep running through the snow and ice with studded running shoes. I had an old pair that weren't going to see dry conditions again, so I put in about a dozen 3/8" hex head screws into the bottom of each shoe. They worked better that Yaktrax since I felt better connected to the road surface and they work on ice which YakTrax aren't the best at. As for home workouts, I would definitely consider getting a set of PowerBlox, or equivalent, nested dumbbells if you can. I doubt I will be going back to the gym anytime soon since I can do all my weight training and cardio at home now. Swimming is difficult, but the triathlon distances are so short that doing laps at the gym pool is not terribly worth it. I also bought a Beachbody subscription since their workout videos are really good.

Keep up the good work.
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26 Apr 2021 11:05 #322554 by RobertB
Replied by RobertB on topic Your Backup Hobby

CranBerries wrote: For a long time air rifles were one of my "special interests." I love the meditative aspect of it, that you have to slow your breathing to make the shot. Utah air guns is down the street from me and everything there costs $1,000. It's like what happened to bicycles. There's also a slingshot scene now where custom builds with exotic materials cost $400.

You're right about the meditative aspects - it's a challenge (for me at least) to stay still enough to give the gun a chance to hit the target. Air rifle shooting also has an aspect I haven't seen in gunpowder plinking - all pellets are not created equal, and you'll have to find the ones your gun likes.

I might order some of the really expensive pellets, just to hear what they sound like when they go transonic. My gun is supposed to be able to shoot a light pellet that fast, although conventional wisdom I've been reading says that transonic is bad for accuracy - the pellet is just close enough to the speed of sound that it will tumble when it slows down to below the speed of sound.

As for the cost, I think everything is like that. There are cheap products out there, then there are decent ones, then you're spending big bucks for marginal improvements. I've got a bunch of shitty $20 fishing reels, and a really nice $100 one. The limitations of the $100 one haven't made themselves apparent yet, so right now I'm good. The same with the air rifle - if I ever get to the limit of my equipment, maybe I'll buy a better one, or maybe I'll take up welding instead. :)

Side note: I read yesterday that .22 LR cartridges are hard to find, and expensive if you can find them at all. Supply and demand and all that.
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26 Apr 2021 13:54 #322565 by dysjunct
Replied by dysjunct on topic Your Backup Hobby
I invested in a full home gym about five years ago. Squat rack, bench, bar, plates. Spent about $1500 which works out to $25/month so far. About the price of a gym membership, with extra bonuses of not needing to spend time/money driving to the gym, or wait for anyone to finish a set, or deal with people generally. It’s been great, although I have no one to motivate me other than myself, which makes it suck when I approach my limit on a particular lift. The reality is that I just need to eat a lot more if I want to get past my sticking points, but that would make me a lot fatter than I want to be. Instead I tend to float from program to program and not get anywhere. I’m currently back on a linear progression with the main compound lifts, after a layoff due to messing up my left foot somehow and getting detrained.

This weekend I made a pull-up assist device. For whatever reason my triceps are strong enough that I can do weighted dips, but my biceps need help. I was using resistance bands but the problem I was running into is that the assistance they provide is not constant over the range of motion of the exercise. They give a lot of help at the bottom (when they are stretched out) but progressively less as I’d get to the top (as they contract). And I needed more help at the top. Thus: device. Has a cable running through two pulleys; weights attach to one end, a stirrup to the other. Provides constant tension through the whole RoM, and can be very specifically weighted (with microplates if necessary) to provide just enough assistance. Goes on and off the rack in under a minutes. I’m not super handy or mechanical so it felt pretty good.
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26 Apr 2021 14:52 #322569 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Your Backup Hobby
Years ago, I was visiting old friends in Indianapolis, and I wanted to go the gym but none of my friends were interested. Finally, one friend mentioned that he could work something out, because he knew a gym manager. Turned out he was sort of joking, and had filled his own basement with free weights and workout stations. I was jealous but was spending too much on home improvements to realistically consider getting my own home gym. Ultimately, I realized that a gym membership was better for me. The opportunity to use the sauna and hot tub after a hard workout was like a reward, and sometimes I also like to swim laps. I also have several friendly acquaintances at the gym, and sometimes take a break to talk to them.

There are certain exercises that I have been missing at the gym. I'm a big fan of the assisted pullup and dip station, though I can do unassisted sets of pullups when I'm in peak condition. I also really miss this one machine where I sit down and lean back against weight resistance. It is an excellent workout for the lower back, and nothing that I am able to do at home works as well. And swimming in general.
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26 Apr 2021 16:03 #322575 by the_jake_1973
Replied by the_jake_1973 on topic Your Backup Hobby
For my assisted pullups, I use a chair to step on as needed....which happens to be quite a bit at the moment. Although with my weight loss, I can do one rep unassisted. That feels good for sure. I have an iron pipe across a couple rafters in the garage that I use for the bar. When it is nice out, we can put up my wife's yoga swing that has grips that are great for pull ups and chin ups.

I also really miss this one machine where I sit down and lean back against weight resistance. It is an excellent workout for the lower back

I found deadlifts, Romanian in particular, have been great for my lower back. Suitcase carries are good too.

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27 Apr 2021 06:22 #322597 by mtagge
Replied by mtagge on topic Your Backup Hobby
I used to use an olympic bar with the 5x5 strong lift app and a rowing machine to do sprints once a week, but can't take it anymore. Weighted squats were just getting to dangerous and making me sore for days afterwards. When I was back stateside in December I tried buying a bar for home use and it was just too expensive or not available. So when I got back I moved to dumbbells and a 3-day a week program. Much less joint stress than the bar. Since I am doing a 24 hour fast once a week and am getting old I can't really push the limits too much and deal with all the stress at work. That and I walk 5k on a treadmill everyday while watching Mythbusters. Seems to be having a positive impact.

I think once I move back to the US next summer I'm just going to buy a dumbbell set, bench, and pullup/dip rack. And get the oldest boy to do it with me. He'll be turning 13 next year. I've got the room to get a full set up to 50 lbs without much problem.

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27 Apr 2021 09:36 #322601 by dysjunct
Replied by dysjunct on topic Your Backup Hobby
That is odd that squats were making you sore for days. Weights shouldn’t make you very sore at all — maybe a bit for the rest of the day — unless you’re new to lifting, doing very high reps, or going very slow during the eccentric phase.

Hopefully the dumbbells work better for you.

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27 Apr 2021 10:19 #322606 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Your Backup Hobby
Squats punish you for bad form. I only did them when I was supervised by a personal trainer, and gave them up soon after my training sessions were used up. Other than counting reps, l like to let my mind wander while I am lifting and can't be bothered with close attention to form. I usually stick to machines or simple movements.
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27 Apr 2021 18:12 #322625 by Michael Barnes
Replied by Michael Barnes on topic Your Backup Hobby
Whoa we talking about fitness in here? I didn’t realize that was going on. I started getting in shape summer before last, really as a way to motivate the kids to do some physical activity...but I wound up running with it. I’ve been through the clumsy DIY stuff, reading LL Cool I’d book, resistance bands, kettlebell, RingFit, Fitness boxing, etc. and I’ve shredded down to a lean 140 lbs and I am in the best shape of my life at 45. Without stepping foot in a gym which I will probably never do.

The real game changer though is Tempo. My wife got it for me for Christmas. It’s similar to Mirror, Peloton and all that with an on-screen trainer and a proprietary weight set (extremely nice DB/BB with plates). I’m going about an hour a day on it almost every day and it is outstanding. The station gives you some form feedback, counts reps, measures heart rate, and has leaderboards but it’s really amazing how having a coach on screen saying stupid motivational shit actually works. The classes and instructors are generally very good to excellent and some of the classes are are absolutely diabolical. There are some great boxing classes and Yoga is coming soon apparently.

I’m not lifting huge weight but I’ve increased quite a lot since I started it in January. Sometimes the weight recommendations are wack (sorry machine I am not shoulder pressing 85lbs yet) but it tracks everything. To date I’ve lifted 380k lbs and burned 28k calories over 130 workouts.

Music selection is decent, it has a a few stations and you can also BT whatever you want.

Downside is price. The station is big bucks and it takes a while to get due to supply issues. It’s $39 a month and that includes unlimited live and recorded classes. There is a bench, a kettlebell, and a squat rack coming that I’m the waiting list for.
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27 Apr 2021 18:17 #322627 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Your Backup Hobby
You think about it relative to the other shit you could spend on, if you are spending on a physical fitness routine that you can actually *follow* religiously, it is worth it.
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27 Apr 2021 18:27 #322629 by Michael Barnes
Replied by Michael Barnes on topic Your Backup Hobby
Oh absolutely. It’s been worth every penny and I would rate it as the best thing I own.
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27 Apr 2021 19:11 #322630 by mtagge
Replied by mtagge on topic Your Backup Hobby

Shellhead wrote: Squats punish you for bad form. I only did them when I was supervised by a personal trainer, and gave them up soon after my training sessions were used up. Other than counting reps, l like to let my mind wander while I am lifting and can't be bothered with close attention to form. I usually stick to machines or simple movements.

I'm still doing squats, I just shifted from an o-bar trying to do 200+ lbs to holding a 50 lbs dumbbell in each hand. I think it was the balancing act plus trying to push the limit every time that killed me. The stronglift app also had you doing squats every session. Also I like to listen to podcasts when lifting. If there isn't enough time for a new one finishing off with music.

Back when I started lifting I was trying a paleo thing and the whole community was gaga for olympic lifts. I've shifted my opinion to thinking dumbbells are; safer, less overhead, cheaper, and require much less machinery to do safely. That and I spent some time chatting with a flight attendant who wanted to become a fitness trainer, on the tarmac for two hours. He was totally buff and spending his life in quarantine (three days in LA, fly to Guangzhou, two weeks there, fly to LA repeat ad nauseum) and he said he just did dumbbells.
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