What’s Your Workout Plan?

It is Monday and it is time to start the week off right by getting in that very important and always needed workout.  When you roll into the gym, what is your plan of attack?  Do you do some cardio first before hitting the weights?  Do you do some light stretches and hit up the machines?  Or since it being Monday, do you go right to the first available bench and start banging out your bench press routine?  What is your plan of attack when you workout?  Do you even have a plan or do you just ‘play it by ear’?  In order to get the most out of your exercise routine it is best to have a plan of attack.  Now everybody’s plan is going to differ slightly due to different goals, but irregardless everyone should have a plan.  What is it you are after?  What are the goals you are working towards?  Is it weight loss, muscular strength, muscle hypertrophy or just general fitness?  Establishing your goals will help you establish your plan and what you need to do in order to get the results you are after.

My plan right now is to get stronger on several of the big lifts like: squat, deadlift, weighted pull ups, overhead press and dumbbell bench press.  My plan for doing this is lifting 3 days a week and targeting specifically those lifts.  The only way to get stronger at those lifts is to perform those lifts(I know it sounds crazy).  Even with my plan, I have a plan inside my plan and that is the way I design my workout and the order in which I perform those movements.  I believe every great workout starts with a pretty good warm up session.  Your warm up should be part of your workout and your workout should be your warm up.

My warm up usually consists of: push ups, pull ups, overhead squat, mini-band walks, 1 leg reaches, side lunges, bridges, marching bridges, bird dogs, Turkish get-ups, farmers carry, suit case carry, overhead carry, chops and lifts.

After all that, my body is ready to begin the meat and potatoes portion of the workout.  Now I strongly believe every workout can strongly benefit by starting with a big lower body lift like squat, deadlift, snatches or cleans.  Performing these first is best because you are fresh, have the most energy and they recruit the most muscles.  Start with a warm up set and then start to get into your routine.  Good rep schemes I really like to use are: 3 sets of 8, 3 sets of 5, 5  sets of 5 and 5 sets of 3.  The rep scheme depends on how you are feeling and what you are trying to accomplish.  If you are looking to put on some size then 3 sets of 8 is great and if you are just looking to get stronger then 3 or 5 sets of 5 is perfect.  Once I am done completing all my sets on that lift, I shift to an upper body to lower body superset.  Then I go into a 3 exercise set circuit and into a 4 exercise circuit.  Always focusing on strength and trying to get the major movements in.

An example of this is my workout today:

Straight Bar Deadlift: 225lbs (5 x 3)

Straight Bar Overhead Press 95, 105, 115 lbs(3 x 5) / Back Squat 95,105,115 (3 x 10)

Seated Cable Row 160, 170, 175 (3 x 8), Incline Chest Press 60, 65, 70 (3 x 8), 1 leg squats off the box (3 x 8)

Kettlebell Squat Clean & Press 30, 40, 40 (3 x5), Double Kettlebell Swings, 30,40,40 (3 x 10), TRX Row (3 x 15), Rotational Sand Bag Back lunges 40, 50,50 (3 x 20)

Cardio Finisher: 3 rounds of 100 meters on the rower for time

If you look at the example you will see, I covered pretty much all of the basics lifts and movements and not a lot of filler work in between.  I would perform each circuit all the way through before taking a rest.  Your workouts can be more effective and productive too if you have a plan.  Start it out with a big lift and then add in all of the other movements like push, pull, press, squat and lunge.  Try to think of ways to move around a little more at the gym and different ways to do mini circuits.  You will get more out of your workout in a lot less time. And always remember to do a cardio finisher, something you can go all out in and get your heart rate up fast such as: sprints, rower, battle ropes, sled, kettlebell swings.  Whatever you want as long as it does the job.

Have a fantastic Monday everyone.  Remember to go out there and do something great!

 

 

Career Change

After over 10 years in the fitness industry, I have recently decided to switch careers from a personal trainer to a firefighter.  Please let me explain.  I have been passionately devoted to fitness ever since I got turned onto it back when I was a teenager around 13 or 14.  Fitness has played a key role in my life, my journey, my athletics and my career and I owe a lot to the health and fitness world.  It has been quite a journey of 10 plus years and I have evolved quite a bit since my first personal training job.  I enjoy helping others and caring for others and watching them succeed and achieve their goals with my help in their exercise program.  There is no greater feeling then knowing you helped someone, somehow and in someway whether it being losing weight, moving better, feeling better, having more energy or being out of pain.  Helping others is the biggest reward there is with this job.  However, working as a personal trainer is and can be a grind.  We are constantly battling hours, switching clients around and watching our paychecks take big hits when several of our clients decide to go vacation at the same time, which is usually the case.  As much as I love this industry, it dawned on me one day: Do I really want to be doing this for the next 20 plus year?  Do I want to be grinding it out and helping others workout in the gym when I am 55- 60 years of age?  Always worrying about clients, hours and a steady paycheck, I think not.  I am not fulling giving up on fitness either, I do believe I will always be training and finding those special clients to train as well.

When I moved here to South Carolina, I started talking to a lot of the firefighters at the gym I worked at, gathering as much information as I could and asking as much questions that I could think of.  I never really planned in my life to become a firefighter but quite honestly I think it is extremely fitting for me.  I am extremely into fitness and health, I was a lifeguard for 3 years, I have been doing high diving shows climbing ladders 80 feet in the air, I love helping other people and I want to be able to give back to my community.  I have been filling out applications, talking to Captains and getting information on the fire academy and what are my best steps to take to start on this journey.  I know the journey is not going to be easy and it is going to be tough at times but I am a true warrior and will not stop until I accomplish my goal.  At first I was hesitant to even post this and tell this story to all of you but I am firm believer in the law of attraction and making your goals known to all in order to help you achieve your destiny.  If you throw it out to the universe, the universe make things happen, open up doors for you and throw it back to you.  I am being as patient as I can for I know good things will come to those who wait.

I am aware it is a higher risk job and I am aware it has life threatening capabilities but you know what, so does driving your car down the highway.  I look into the positives more of what the job has to offer like helping others, caring for others, a steady paycheck and flexible hours.  The way the shift works as a firefighter (as in 24 hours on and 48 hours off) gives me more time to spend with my precious little girls before they get older and start school.  I am excited to start this new chapter in my life and will keep you all posted and updated as I continue on this journey.  Wish me the best of luck.

My Favorite Maxims Continued

Continuing the list from coach John Wooden:

 

Do not permit what you cannot do to interfere with what you can do.

Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation.  Character is what you really are; reputation is merely what you are perceived to be.

Love is the greatest of all words in our language.

Much can be accomplished by teamwork when no one is concerned about who gets credit.

Never make excuses.  Your friends don’t need them and you foes won’t believe them.

Never be disagreeable just because you disagree.

Be slow to criticize and quick to commend.

Be more concerned with what you can do for others than what others can do for you.  You’ll be surprised at the results.

The more concerned we become over the things we can’t control, the less we will do with the things we can control.

Don’t permit fear of failure to prevent effort.  We are all imperfect and will fail on occasions, but fear of failure is the greatest failure of all.

Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.

The time to make friends is before you need them.

We are many, but are we much?

Nothing can give you greater joy than doing something for another.

Material things are not gifts but apologies for gifts.  The only true gift is a portion of thyself. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for another without thought of something in return.

Do not mistake activity for achievement.

You can do more good by being good than any other way.

Forget favors given; remember those received.

Make each day your masterpiece.

Make friendship a fine art.

Treat all people with dignity and respect.

Acquire peace of mind by making the effort to become the best of which you are capable.

My Favorite Maxims

From the legendary coach Mr. John Wooden, here are his favorite principles or maxims:

 

Happiness begins where selfishness ends.

Earn the right to be proud and confident.

The best way to improve the team is to improve ourself.

Big things are accomplished only through the perfection of minor details.

Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.

Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.

I will get ready and then, perhaps, my chance will come.

If I am through learning, I am through.

If you do not have the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?

The smallest good deed is better than the best intention.

The man who is afraid to risk failure seldom has to face success.

Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.

Time spent getting even would be better spent trying to get ahead.

It is what you learn after you know it all that counts.

Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.

There is nothing stronger than gentleness.

You discipline those under your supervision to correct, to help, to improve – not to punish.

Goals achieved with little effort are seldom worthwhile or lasting.

Make sure the team members know they’re working with you, not for you.

Be most interested in finding the best way, not in having your own way.

What is right is more important than who is right.

You handle things.  You work with people.

As long as you try your best, you are never a failure.  That is, unless you blame others.

Tell the truth.  That way you don’t have to remember a story.

Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.

If I were ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me.

Although there is no progress without change, not all change is progress.

If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.

The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

The worst thing you can do for those who you love is the things they could and should do for themselves. (Abraham Lincoln).

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely help another without helping himself. (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

20 Motivational Quotes

I recently have been mixing it up and trying to make a better use of my time.  I have about a 25 minute commute in the morning now and I usually spend most of that time listening to the radio or sitting in silence thinking, wondering and contemplating this wonderful world we live in.  I do say my mantra’s every morning out loud of what I am grateful for, what I am thankful for and how blessed I am and we all are to wake up and live life each and every day.  Last week however, I have been changing it up and have been listening to some podcasts on my drive in and not just any podcast, but motivational life changing podcasts. We all can benefit from some self-help work and a time to better yourself and get your mind right.  If you can get your mind right, believe in yourself, have confidence, set some goals then I believe we can be unstoppable.  Success comes into those who want to work, work hard and are able and willing to put the time in, make sacrifices and learn to grow each and every day.  Invest in yourself every day and it will be the best investment you will ever make.  Read, learn, educate, listen, absorb and ingest as much material as you can to better yourself and make yourself more valuable and success will follow.  Surround yourself with great people who are extremely successful and passionate about what they do, pick their brains and I guarantee their energy is infectious and will spread over to you.

Be your best, try your best, invest in yourself and greatness will be knocking on your door soon.  Have a wonderful Monday everyone!

 

“Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death can erase our good deeds.” – Buddha

“We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.” – Dolly Parton

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”– Harriet Tubman

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.” – Emily Dickinson

“We must become the change we want to see.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“When you make a mistake, don’t look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind, and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.” – Phyllis Bottome

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”– Henry Ford

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing that you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard

 

 “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

“By associating with wise people you will become wise yourself.” – Menander

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” – Henry David Thoreau

“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” – Pamela Vaull Starr

“The seat of knowledge is in the head, of wisdom, in the heart.” – William Hazlitt

“Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.” – Aristotle

Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.” – Art Linkletter

“The greatest inspiration is often born of desperation.” – Comer Cotrell

 

I Wish

I wish people would smile more and be truly happy for what they have.

I wish people would be on their phones less and focus their eyes up on nature and life more.

I wish we would all slow down, take our time more, be more patient and be less in a hurry.

I wish that personal training could be affordable for everyone because everyone needs a trainer and help with exercise. Like $20 for the hour.

I wish we could go back to where we have recess everyday.

I wish we could nap everyday.

I wish that we would all take 10-15 minutes out of our day everyday and do nothing but breath and meditate.

I wish we would all move a lot more and sit a lot less.

I wish we all wouldn’t be so dependent on technology, yes to have it is great, but what do we do when it fails?

I wish we could go back to where we had to do more hard and honest physical labor.  Nothing better than a hard days work.

I wish we could all do what we love to do and get paid for it because it should never have to feel like you work a day in your life.  Many people are unhappy doing a job that hate just because they have to and have no other options.

I wish we would not measure our happiness by material things but more so by the richness of people and experiences in our lives.

I wish we could all travel more and see more of the world and other cultures.

I wish we would all eat more natural foods and less processed foods.  We would all be happier, healthier and more energetic.

I wish everyone would get outside everyday for a minimum of 30 minutes.

I wish everyone would spend some time alone everyday.  I think it is necessary for all of our well beings.

I wish we would all read more books and watch less TV.

I wish we all could get massages once a week not only for stress and tension relief but I feel we lack physical touch.

I wish I am setting a good example for my children so they grow up to be honest, loyal, hard-working, trust worthy, smart, kind and happy.

I wish we could all sleep as long as we wanted and then go to work when we are awake and ready.

I wish everyone would say what they are grateful for every morning to realize maybe their life isn’t so bad.

I wish we would tell everyone we knew how much we loved them and how grateful we are their are in our lives.

I wish we would all play more.  Cards, board games, ball sports whatever just play to have fun.

I wish we would all go back to what it’s like to be a kid again and not worry about what people think, feel or say about you.

I wish health and happiness for all.

I wish.

 

 

Nine Promises

Nine promises that can bring happiness.

  1. Promise yourself that you will talk health, happiness and prosperity as often as possible.
  2. Promise yourself to make all of your friends know there is something in them that is special and that you value.
  3. Promise to think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best in yourself and others.
  4. Promise to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
  5. Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  6. Promise to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements in the future.
  7. Promise to wear a cheerful appearance at all times and give every person you meet a smile.
  8. Promise to give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
  9. Promise to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit trouble to press on you.