Goodboy Norman Featherstone

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You wish it was Friday when ...

You are responsible for becoming an expert on something that takes 105 pages for an overview. Gah. And you have five days to do it.

When do you wish it was Friday?

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Passed!

I am pleased to report that I got my results back from AFAA today, and I am officially an AFAA Certified Group Exercise Instructor! Hooray! I only missed 3 out of 100 questions on the written exam! Not too bad :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

For Hootie

Ian's Homage to Hootie has been printed over at woot! It's only available for ONE day, so check it out!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First Day of Fall

Today is the first day of Fall! Ian has a new design up at Threadless to welcome it in.

The Memory of Flight - Threadless T-shirts, Nude No More

It has finally stopped raining today. It started raining Saturday night and didn't stop until this morning. I've been holding my pee for two whole days! Man, I threw a mean whiz this morning!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Evolution of the Pug

Netflix recently released all the old seasons of Lost on "watch it now," so the people have been indulging in season 1 for the past couple weeks. The other night the episode where Locke kills his first boar was on, and Woman averted my eyes explaining that Pugs and boar share a close resemblance and that she didn't want me to be traumatized by the view.

I was intrigued by this, so I went out on the Internets for my first boar sighting. What I found was awesome and awe-inspiring. It got me thinking how super it would be if Pugs had tusks like boar! I came up with some drawings to illustrate my points*.

Have you ever seen anything so awesome as a Pug with tusks?

pug with tusks

We could do SO MUCH with these things; roast marshmallows, hang up guests' coats, dry laundry, dig big holes, be used as a jungle gym by miniature humans, etc. The possibilities are absolutely endless. And notice how much more ferocious we look. The People would save money on home security since there would be no one lurking around the home that houses a Tusked Pug! Sure, we might drool a little more, what with our mouths hanging open a bit to make room for the tusks, but I see that as a minor point.

I could find only one real downside of the Tusked Pug - the heavy weight of those enormous tusks may change the Pug posture just a tad.

pug with tusks

To compensate for this new prone position, we will have to walk around backward, dragging our tusks along the ground. It's a well-known fact that our chubby little necks aren't as strong as they look, but our rear ends are a powerhouse of muscle!

This new backward-facing motion is going to require yet another evolution so we can see where we're going - the rearview mirror. I have created a composite for your viewing pleasure.

mirror on tusk so pug can navigate backwards

Yes, this mirror should solve all the problems with the tusks with very simple installation!

OK evolution, bring on the tusks!

*OK, so Ian actually made the drawings, but I told him what they should look like.

Speaking of Ian, he has a new design up for scoring at Threadless. It's a good one, so give it some love!

Running with Scissors - Threadless T-shirts, Nude No More

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hide 'n Seek

I think my toys are tired of playing with me. I've noticed a lot of them hiding under the couch lately. They think I can't see them down there, but I can see them. I just can't reach them!

norman's toys taunting him from under the couch

I can hear them jibbering away down there too - mocking me, because I can't fit my head under the couch to get at them. How rude. I didn't want to play with you anyway, you mean old toys!

norman can't reach his toys under the couch

I guess I'll just watch some TV. Trusty TV. You never mock me...

norman watching tv

I'm going to have to have a talk with Woman about this problem with the toys. I bet she can fit her head under there and get them for me!

Monday, September 14, 2009

AFAA Certification Training

Hey everyone. Woman here, high-jacking Norman's blog to give an overview of my experience with AFAA Certification Training. AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) offers numerous fitness-related certification training programs. You may recall that this time last year I trained as a Les Mills Body Pump Instructor. I guess my sadistic side kicks in around this time of year, as I went on Friday for my AFAA Group Fitness Certification training in Charlotte. It was a long day, which began and ended with me driving in the dark! It was worth it though, as with this certification I will be able to teach my own free-style fitness classes, and I would like to start teaching more classes.

Testing Overview
The AFAA Group Fitness test consists of two components; a practical test and a written test. The written test is the easiest to describe, so let's start with that first.

Written Test
The test consists of 100 multiple choice questions (listing 5 possible answers for each question). You are given one hour for the test, and you must answer 80 correctly to pass. 80% seems easy, but you really do have to study to pass this test. The AFAA text book, "Fitness Theory & Practice" is a must-have resource for passing this test. It costs $99 through AFAA, so check ebay first! The questions are not just "common sense," but are very specific to the fitness industry, anatomy, kinesiology and even cardiology. Unless you just know off the top of your head that the gluteus maximus and hamstrings work together to perform hip extension, or that cardio training decreases resting heart rate by increasing the stroke volume of the left ventricle of the heart, you need to study. The questions are sometimes worded strangely too, so I suggest purchasing the study package that comes with a practice test so you can get used to their method of questioning. Also, make sure you know where you primary muscles are located!

Practical Test
The practical component is much more .. chaotic .. than the written portion. It consists of the following:
  • As a group, demonstrate the following things:
    • Warm Up
    • Cardio training routine
    • Strength and flexibility for each of the 10 main muscle groups
  • Individually present an exercise in front of all participants showing three levels of intensity, focusing on safety cues and moving between the levels during the demonstration.
Note how I emphasized the word "group" in the first bullet. The entire group shows a 3-4 minute warm up at the same time, everyone moving simultaneously, but doing something completely different. Arms and legs flailing about, twisting, turning, traveling. It's nuts. If you've ever been to Pugstock, you'll know what to expect. After 3-4 minutes, the Trainer gives the cue to start the cardio portion, and everyone kicks it up a notch, now jumping, jogging, skipping, hopping, moving in all directions trying to maintain proper form and show full range of motion but not hit anyone else in the room! The final portion of the group demonstration is not as insane, as everyone stays on their mat to demonstrate various exercises for the muscle groups.

Testing Details
The warm-up component must include movement rehearsal, limbering movements and at least two static stretches. Appropriate exercises must be used to warm-up the entire body in preparation for the cardio portion of the sequence. You should have a warm-up composed before attending the training, as you will not have time to make one up once you get there.

The cardio component must show a gradual increase in intensity followed by a continuous training intensity. You must show at least three movements during the cardio routine and progress to a lower intensity when a cue is given. Again, have a routine ready before you get there. Don't make it too difficult, keeping in mind that you have to avoid those around you!

Strength and Flexibility
This is by far the easiest component. The Trainer will go through the 10 main muscle groups as listed in the study guide, and each participant will demonstrate two strength exercises that work those muscles simulating the use of dumbbells or resistance bands. Don't get caught up on the word, "primary;" ie, you can do a lunge for quads, hams or glutes. The Trainer will then tell you to stretch, and you show a stretch for that group. The great thing about this section is that before the test, the Trainers go through all the major muscle groups and show you acceptable exercises and stretches for each. Use their exercises, and keep it simple.

Once a year AFAA hosts an APEX event around the country, offering the regularly priced $299 training class for just $99. This is a great deal, but it has its pros and cons.

The downside, the huge size of classes at APEX events, can also be an upside. There were 99 people at my training event. You can imagine how insane the group demonstration portion was with 99 people. The downside is that it is crowded and you have to avoid smacking into people as you travel side-to-side and front-to-back during the warm-up and cardio portion. The upside is that because there are so many people, they can't really "judge" you all that critically. Remember, they have only 3-4 minutes to judge 99 people doing a warm-up. This of course could be good or bad, as they might give you a 10 second glance when you're doing something stupid. Oops!

In an attempt to manage 99 people, we were broken into 3 separate groups. Two Trainers were assigned one group. Each Trainer must score each participant in their group. So, if each Trainer must judge 33 people in 4 minutes, they had about 8 seconds to spend on each person. Do you really think it's possible to judge whether someone is performing an effective warm-up that meets all the requirements described above in 8 seconds? I personally don't, so I hope to goodness that they were very lenient during this portion.

The cardio portion has even stiffer requirements, and still only about 8 seconds per person. Let's hope they weren't watching me when I accidentally did some jumping jacks on my toes instead of sinking into the heals. LOL!

Personal Experience
I was really nervous about this training, because I am just high-strung and get nervous about anything on which I will be judged. I don't really like to be judged, but who does, right? I started studying the reference manual in July, I consulted with my friend Janice who is AFAA certified and also researched some blogs. I found 4 great blog entries about AFAA certification at that explained what to expect at the training. The author was pretty much right on with what happened at my training event too, with a couple exceptions:
  • My Trainers had not looked at the test we were taking, so not all the questions that were on the test were addressed during the Q&A period. Actually, very few were addressed.
  • My Trainers didn't seem to be all that up to date with AFAA's latest standards; for example, there was an addendum in the manual that the MHR was changed from 55-90% to 64-94% in 2007. The Trainers didn't know this, even though it happened two years ago, and continued to tell us that the MHR should be 55-90% during the review period. I'm glad that question wasn't on the test.
  • During the strength and flexibility section, the Trainers must have been working from an older manual, because we were not given as many options for muscle groups as the study guide allowed. For example, the Trainers included only hamstrings in "Grouping 2" of "Legs" when the study guide gave the option of hamstrings and/or gastrocnemius/soleus (calves).
  • During the cardio section, the Trainers informed us that we must move along the frontal and sagittal planes to pass, and that we must not perform a single-legged bouncing motion for more than 8 consecutive counts, even if we are switching legs. This was not in the manual and caused me to spend my lunch time making up a new routine!
  • We were seriously shorted on the individual presentation - given only 45 seconds for the entire thing instead of the 2 minutes we were promised. I felt a bit slighted by this.
The Trainers were very nice and knowledgeable, but the curve balls they threw were a little overwhelming, particularly when everyone was already really nervous as it was! They were very open to questions and tried their best to ease our minds about the practical component. Given the size of the group and the limited time, I would bet they were very lenient in their judging. After we had returned from lunch and they were confronted with so many panicky people about the requirements of the cardio portion, they informed us not to worry, but if you were "moving" during that portion, you would pass. I'm going to hold them to that promise!

The session was scheduled from 9am-6pm. Of course registration was a mess and we didn't start until 9:45am, but that was to be expected. There were only 3 people to check in 99, and their check-in method could use some efficiency reform. We also burned 20 minutes assigning people numbers, as they gave some people the wrong number and we had to start from the beginning with everyone turning in their previously assigned number. This was a waste of time since we wrote our number on our test sheet that had our name on it. It didn't matter if they knew who was assigned which number at this point as it would be noted later.

Even with the inefficiencies, we were out of there by 6:45pm, and for that I am grateful! It did take me the entire 60 minutes to finish the written exam, since I like to double check all my work and there was a lot of noise around us. The training was at the YMCA in Charlotte, and they didn't shut down the gym for our training, so we had to compete with group fitness classes and basketball games to try and concentrate on the written exam. I recommend bringing some earplugs so you can hear yourself think.

Overall, the experience was better than my Body Pump training experience, as I had time to prepare beforehand. There is no preparation material handed out before a Les Mills module, and I am one who likes to be prepared!

Check out this blog. This girl was at AFAA Charlotte training with me and has some good info and pointers for passing AFAA! I'm in one of her pictures of the semi-empty gym! How fun!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Seriously Busy

Woman wanted me to apologize on her behalf for not updating my blog lately. She has been busy studying for an exam she has on Friday that has taken up all of her time. She still throws the hootie every now and then, but let me just say that I will be happy when Friday has come and gone!