I Workout

I workout…..

Because I can

Because I am able to

Because I enjoy the challenge

Because it is my therapy

Because it is my stress relief

Because I want to be strong

Because I want to live longer

Because I want to be disease free

Because the weights do not judge me

Because I enjoy the freedom

Because I want to be active and able to do anything

Because I want to set a good example for my children

Because I love the feeling afterwards

Because I love to sweat

Because it makes my body feel better

Because it is good for my brain

Because it is a triumph over laziness

Because I love seeing my body change

Because I enjoy the battle

Because I choose to

Because I am a warrior

Because I can

 

 

Advertisements

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!

 

 

Updated Goals

 

 

deadlift

We all have goals in our lives, whether it be in the classroom, at work or at the gym.  Goals keep us motivated, keep us focused, fuels the fire and gives us a target to shoot for.  We should always have something to shoot for to strive for to help us get to where we want to be in life.  There is no need to settle for complacency, always keep striving for excellence and being as successful as you can.  What are your goals in the gym right now?  What are you training for?  Are you training to lose weight?  If so, how much weight and when do you want to lose it by?  Are you training to build muscle or get stronger on a specific lift?  Then what are you doing about it and how much stronger do you want to get?  Goals need to be as specific as possible.  The details and the dates are extremely important motivators which help you both consciously and subconsciously.  Instead of saying I want to lose weight, try saying I want to lose 10 lbs by December 31, 2015.  Write your goals down on a piece of paper and put them somewhere you can read them everyday because this will help you achieve them.  You will continue to make the necessary choices to get you one step closer to your goals.  I have been taking some time off with this blog and heavy lifting and now I feel it is time to set some goals and go after them.  I am still going through the process of my lifelong goal of becoming a firefighter and I am putting a lot of time and energy into that and will continue until I succeed.

In the meantime, here are my lifting goals I will try to achieve by the end of the year:

  • Trapbar Deadlift: 405lbs
  • Straight Bar Deadlift: 315lbs
  • 100lb Chin Ups: 10 reps
  • Overhead Press Body Weight: 170lbs
  • Dumbbell Bench Press 100lbs: 10 reps
  • Body Weight Back Squat (170 lbs): 20 reps
  • Weighted Sled Push/Pull: 600 lbs
  • 100 meters on the rower: sub 17 seconds

Set your goals high and go after them.  Train hard, do your best, give it all you got and don’t worry if you fail.  Some of these may be to easy and I will adjust accordingly and super-succeed my expectations and some will be painfully difficult.  Either way I am up for the challenge.  Go out there and do something great!

Use What You Got

My daughter Hartley pushing an ab wheel while wearing a mini band as a belt

My daughter Hartley pushing an ab wheel while wearing a mini band as a belt

 

If you are remotely into fitness, which assuming most of you who read this blog are, then chances are you have some old exercise equipment lying around your house.  It may be buried in the basement, in the back of your closet, somewhere in your garage or perhaps it is used as the world’s most expensive clothes hanger.   Whatever the case may be, take inventory of what you have and what you have available to you and chances are you do not have to go very far to get in a great workout.  Maybe you have an old jump rope somewhere, a pull up bar, a few sets of old dumbbells, a mini trampoline, a pogo stick, an ab cruncher, an old treadmill or Aerodyne bike(like my dad has) or even a thigh master, whatever it is gather it together and see what you can use to get some work done.  Sometimes the biggest limit to our workouts is imagination.  If we could find ways to use what we have then we would all get great workouts in all the time and would not be stressed for time.  My workouts consist of about 20 minutes in my back yard using the limited amount of equipment I have.

Now, I am a trainer and I have collected a few items over the years but mostly the things I believe are extremely valuable, universal and ideal.  My list of equipment consists of:

  • 35lb Kettlebell
  • 53lb Kettlebell
  • 5 lb dumbbells
  • 8lb dumbbells
  • Green, Red and Blue Mini Bands
  • Orange JC Band
  • Yellow JC Band
  • Ab Wheel
  • Ab Wheel for your feet
  • Jump Rope
  • TRX
  • Rings
  • 12lb Body Bar
  • Push Up Bars

Like I said before, we should also use whatever we have in our surrounding areas and environments.  You live close to a park or big hill? Great, think about ways to incorporate those into your workouts.  Parks are great for monkey bars, pull ups, swings and even just a bench or picnic table.  And don’t even get me started on the benefits of hill sprints, yes they are hard and yes they punishing but my God are they good for you and worth it.  Have stairs at home?  What about some step ups or push ups or bear crawls up and down your steps.  I am fortunate enough to live right around the corner from a park and I am always messing around at it when playing with my kids.  I probably bang out at least 30 or so pull ups every time I am there.  Fitness and exercise can be right under your nose if we just open our eyes to see what is available.  Don’t be afraid of looking foolish or silly or what others may think of you.  Just move your body the best you can because our body is by far the best machine ever created.

Here is a list of things around me I use in my workouts as well:

  • 2 foot high log stumps
  • Mini tramp
  • Pogo Stick
  • Golf Club
  • Grass
  • Longboard Skateboard

My workouts currently are in a maintenance phase.  I am trying to maintain what I have and continue being as fit and active as I can.  I do not have access to a gym and I do not like to do heavy lifting in the summer time anyways, so my workouts are mostly body weight, circuit style training.  My circuits consists of:

  • Jumps on the log, step ups on the log, squat rows with the band, push ups off the push up bars and recover with jumps on the mini trampoline for about a minute
  • Kettlebell swings, kettlebell squats, squat push with the band, lunge stance alternating pulls with band, side lunges, band rotations and recover with chipping 10 golf balls
  • 1 leg jumps on the logs, 1 arm band punch, 1 arm band row, alternating hand kettlebell swings, lunge jumps, burpees and finish with mountain climbers

Generally I try to never repeat the same circuit or exercise and always keep my body moving.  If I did push ups last time, I may do push ups with rotation the next time.  If I did double arm row one time, I will do alternating the next, if I did squat push then I will do lunge push.  Variety makes a world of difference on even the simplest exercises.  Finding ways to mix it up and keep it fresh makes the workout go by faster and is more enjoyable because you are not dreading the same circuit again and again.

Take inventory of what you have around and find creative ways to incorporate them into a workout, chances are you have more than you need right at your disposal.

“If you give a half assed effort, half the time, you end with a quarter of the results.”

 

 

Exercise vs. Movement

We all know moving our bodies and exercising are important and vital for our health and longevity.  We know it is great for weight loss, weight maintenance, bone health, heart health and reduces the risk of diabetes and all of the other problems which can occur from lack of exercise.  We all have heard from several different sources whether it be a friend, TV, media or a fitness expert on which form of exercise is best.  Some may say weight training is ideal or cardio is better or yoga is best or maybe even exercise classes is the best form to choose from.  However, what do all these modalities have as the common denominator?  Movement.  Movement is the key factor for almost all of your general fitness needs.  We need to move, we need to twist, bend, jump, run, skip, dance, squat, leap, climb, carry, push, pull, lunge, throw and crawl.  We need to learn to incorporate more movement into our everyday lives and not just get enough of it when we go to the gym.  I am not talking about movement which may be involuntary like walking from your car to work or from your desk to the water cooler but movement in which you are fully engaged, aware and present.  Do not get me wrong, I love exercise and I love lifting weights and getting stronger and seeing the results but what I love even more is being able to move my body well in all different planes of motion without limitation or struggle.  I love being able to perform almost any activity or sport without ever thinking twice about injury, struggle or not being strong enough.  If you are able to move well then you should able to do most other things well.  There is a huge difference between movement and exercise and I would like to share these things with you so hopefully we can all get more movement into our lives daily.

  • Exercise is about repetition of known patterns while play(movement) is about discovery and exploration
  • Exercise is about enduring unpleasant sensation: play is about finding delight in diverse movement forms
  • Exercise is about repeating the known; play is about extending into the unknown
  • Exercise requires external motivation to maintain participation; play is inherently rewarding and self-reinforcing
  • Exercise tends to be single plane; functional movement is multi-joint and multi-plane
  • Exercise is monotonous; movement is engaging
  • Exercise is specialized; movement is diverse
  • Exercise is scripted; movement is spontaneous and opportunistic
  • Exercise feels mechanized and forced; movement feels expressive and creative
  • Exercise is a means towards an end; movement is an end in itself
  • Exercise is generally done in the gym; movement can be done anywhere

Movement is better because it offers more options for physical creativity and expression.  There’s more possibility and more room for the imagination.  Be a movement opportunist; look for movement at home, in the workplace, in parks, airports and in the parking lot.  Look for ways to add spice and extra movement into you daily life, jump up on that ledge you pass by everyday, balance on the parking curbs, do some pull ups on a stairway or tree you pass, skip across the parking lot or empty field, run up and down the stairs a few times, anything that will be different and new to your ordinary routine.  Dance is also another great way to incorporate movement into your day.  Dance is fun, pulsating and hip gyrating and is always fun to do by yourself or with your friends.  Dancing gets the body moving in all planes of motion and works all of the major muscles without you even thinking about it.  Learn to dance with other things like the terrain, gravity, water, bushes, the ground, boulders, rocks, stairs and sidewalks.  Learn to make the world your playground and let the movement begin.  I have transitioned to this way of working out and absolutely love it.  I no longer care or think about sets, reps or numbers but I concentrate more so on the feeling of the exercise, how engaging it is and how much enjoyment I am getting out of it.  I am often at the playground with my kids and am constantly playing around with them and I am always fascinated by their movements.  If you want a great workout, try following around a young kid on the playground and copying everything they do, I guarantee you will get a great workout without even thinking about it.  Move your body and play as much as you can but also know that you still have to exert yourself a little bit.  Not too much but just enough to get your heart rate and ventilatory rate up.  If we want to reap the health and performance rewards, sweat and exertion are still necessary.  We still need to challenge our tissue and push our physical comfort zones.

And remember, if it feels monotonous and boring, it probably is!  If this is the case, stop doing it.  Find something else that is not boring and is more engaging.  I find my best workout are the ones which are unplanned, outside, shoes and shirt off, going with flow and not worrying about the outcome.  Try it sometime and I bet you will be amazed on how much better you feel.  Movement is best and movement trumps exercise every time.  Have a fun and movement filled day.

An hour of basketball feels like 15 minutes.  An hour on a treadmill feels like a weekend in traffic school. ~ David Walters

 

 

Happiness Is

I have been doing a lot of reading lately and this last book I read as changed me and opened up my eyes to see the world differently.  I read Way of the Peaceful Warrior written by Dan Millman and it has enlightened me and brought some insight into my world.  We all search for joy and happiness in our life and go to great lengths to acquire what we are after.  Some may think that by getting multiple achievements or degrees will make them happy, while others may think an abundance amount of money will be the way to total bliss.  I believe happiness and total enlightenment comes from within, you have to be happy with who you are, what you have, what you have become, where you have come from and where you are headed.  There is no need to worry about what others think, what achievements you feel you need to achieve or the amount of money you think you need to make.  Happiness starts on the inside with you and you have the power to radiate that happiness to others.  Go with the flow with everything life has to offer you, throw away your concerns, your doubts, your fears and your anger and you will find yourself to be more at peace and life will work itself out.  For those of you who do not know me on a personal level, I have a tendency to  be impatient, slightly uptight and always want to be in control.  I have completely let go everything that is out of my control and just enjoy life and everything around.  I am more aware of the little things surrounding me like the clouds in the sky, the leaves on the trees, how the wind moves the trees, the animals surrounding me and I feel an overwhelming sense of joy and peace.   I am at peace with the world, with myself and with everything around me and feel as I am embarking on the righteous path to happiness.  I know this path is just beginning for me but it feels great to have the insight and new look on the world like I do now.  Happiness is a state of mind.  My happiness is spending quality time with my daughters and watching them grow up, a good hug and kiss from my wife, a good laugh with a friend, any movement, the sun on my back, swimming in a pool, a morning walk, a round of golf, a great meal and an ice cold beer.  Don’t take your life too seriously, laugh more, work less, enjoy the outside and surround yourself with love.  Be happy, be kind, be grateful and be thankful.

Here is the passage from the book which I am quite fond of and I find myself reading everyday to remind myself to stay with the positive mental attitude.

 

There is no need to search; achievement leads to nowhere.  It makes no difference at all, so just be happy now!  Love is the only reality of the world, because it is all One, you see.  And the only laws are paradox, humor and change.  There is no problem, never was, and never will be.  Release your struggle, let go of your mind, throw away you concerns, and relax into the world.  No need to resist life; just do your best.  Open your eyes and see that you are far more than you imagine.  You are the world, you are the universe; you are yourself and everyone else, too!  It’s all the marvelous Play of God.  Wake up, regain your humor.  Don’t worry, you are already free!

24 Healthy Weekly Habits of Mine

My list of 24 Healthy(ish?) Weekly Habits I perform 

  1. I slam a glass of lemon water after waking up
  2. I drink bullet proof coffee
  3. I floss daily
  4. I listen to motivational and inspirational podcasts
  5. I get outside often
  6. I go barefoot as much as possible
  7. I play with my kids everyday
  8. I roll out my arches with a golf ball
  9. I love reading and try to read for at least 20 minutes everyday
  10. I look for ways to incorporate exercise into my day
  11. I always take the stairs
  12. I take a shot of apple cider vinegar several times a week
  13. I eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and eggs everyday
  14. I don’t do long, slow cardio
  15. I love full body, multi-joint workouts
  16. I really only exercise 2-3 days a week
  17. I love golf and walk the course every time I can
  18. I hate stretching and doing crunches
  19. I say out loud everything I am grateful for everyday
  20. I take time out everyday and focus on my breathing
  21. I fast for 15-18 hours a couple of days a week
  22. I realize how blessed I am and how wonderful life is
  23. I say ‘I love you’ often to my wife and my daughters
  24. I give my family kisses and hugs for hello and goodbye