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

 

 

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Dad Advice

We have all heard classic fatherly advice at least one time in our lives, whether it be from our fathers or someone else’s.  Most of the time we just roll our eyes and do not really listen because we may have heard it for the hundredth time but dad advice is a lot more profound and useful than we know.  A lot of the advice is directed and useful for the fellas but girls you should read to because it is quite useful for both sexes.  For those of us who are fortunate to have our fathers around, embrace their wisdom and their advice because you just might learn a thing a two.

 

  1. Go for women you perceive to be “out of your league.”  You’ll surprise yourself
  2. Never have sex with anyone that doesn’t want it as much as you.
  3. Never hit anyone unless they are an immediate threat.
  4. Every hat should serve a purpose.
  5. Never take her to the movies on the first date.
  6. Learn to wet shave.
  7. Nothing looks more badass than a well-tailored suit.
  8. Shave with the grain on the first go-around.
  9. Always look a person in the eye when you talk to them.
  10. Buy a plunger before you need a plunger.
  11. Exercise makes you happy.  Run, lift and play sports.
  12. Brush your teeth before you put on your tie.
  13. A small amount of your paycheck should go directly to your saving account every month.
  14. Call your parents every week.
  15. Never wear a clip on tie.
  16. Give a firm handshake.
  17. Compliment her shoes.
  18. Never leave a pint unfinished.
  19. If you aren’t confident, fake it.  It will come.
  20. You can tell the size of the man by the size of things that bother him.
  21. Be conscious of your body language.
  22. The only reason to ever point a gun at someone is if you intend to shoot them.
  23. Always stand to shake someone’s hand.
  24. Never lend anything you can’t afford to lose.
  25. Ask more than you answer.  Everybody likes to talk about themselves.
  26. Keep a change of clothes at the office.
  27. Buy high quality tools, so you only have to buy them once.
  28. Manliness is not only being able to take care of yourself, but others as well.
  29. Go with the decision that will make for a good story.
  30. When you walk, look straight ahead, not at your feet.
  31. Nice guys don’t finish last.  Boring guys do.
  32. Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it.
  33. Don’t let the little head do the thinking for the big head.
  34. No matter their job or status in life, everyone deserves your respect.
  35. The most important thing you can learn is personal responsibility.  Bad things happen, it’s your job to overcome them.
  36. The first one to get angry loses.
  37. Do what needs to be done without complaining.  It won’t help speed things up.
  38. Never stop learning.
  39. Always go out into the public dressed like you’re about to meet the love of your life.
  40. Don’t change yourself just to make someone happy, unless that someone is you.
  41. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
  42. Luck favors the prepared.
  43. Women find confidence sexy as hell.
  44. Do whatever you want to do in the life, but be the best at it.
  45. No one is on their deathbed wishing they spent more time at work.  Enjoy your life.

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.”

 

 

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).