Blog Archives

Fitness Vomit or Workout Program?

workout at homeWith the onset of online fitness enthusiasts, and the quest for more knowledge, I’ve noticed more workouts shared online now than ever. And, unarguably there are a lot of great “workouts” available by both professionals and fitness enthusiasts that are taking the time to post some killer workouts.  Enough of the politically correct niceties… here it goes!

No matter how amazing a workout seems, a single workout is not purposeful unless its used correctly in a program.

hammer and nailA workout is like a tool in a tool bag. A hammer is useless without a nail and a piece of wood.  But even a hammer, nail, and wood are just a bunch of “construction vomit” unless you have an idea, or desire, to build something.  The more grandiose your goals of construction, the more tools (workouts) you will need. I’ve seen lots of hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches, thrown together into a bag of tools with no idea, if any, of what the builder even wants to build.

nail gun failThe next analogolitical /ano:log:itical/ (yes, my new word) idea is knowing how to use the tools properly so you don’t waste your wood. At 43, it is a bad idea to ever do that. If you don’t use your hammer properly you can bend a nail in the wood, not only will you never reach your goal, you can injure yourself or injure someone else in your quest.  A perfectly good hammer (workout) is dangerous,or even useless if you aren’t taking your time to learn your craft.

PROGRAMMING

love handlesAfter you develop some goals (what you want to build), look at what materials you have to work with.  Some things I hear are “I’m too fat”, “I’m too skinny”, “I have no cardio”, “I’m not flexible”,or “uh-uhm… I’m all the above”  Make sure you have the right tools, or workouts, for the right construction materials and a reasonable goal of what you want to attain.

Old_bookYour workouts should be a journey that lead you to reaching your goals.  The individual exercises in a single workout are like words in a paragraph. The way you pair your exercises together in a workout are comparable to a finished paragraph. What body parts you do together, and in what order each week, are your chapters. How you change and arrange your training and rest days to reach your final goals, is the novel that we call your goal.

If the chapters are randomly thrown together the story will make no sense. If the words on the page are just 5 and 6 syllable words that you can’t understand, how will they ever tell a great story?  Thus, they are nothing more than “literary vomit”.

Anyone who has ever worked out can put a single workout together by picking some tough exercises, decreasing the rest time, and turning up some angry grunge music – but to what end? Is this leading us anywhere long-term – or is it just meant to blow off some steam and carbs for an hour or so????

GOOD, BAD AND UGLY  

p90xA great example of an outstanding program is P90X; it has a method to its madness. The training is methodical, scheduled, and so are the rest and recovery periods, as well as the eating. This example has every tool you need to attain an amazing physique in 90 days. However, the same company produced “Insanity.” What a tough and incredible workout – and Shaun-T is a great instructor. The programing, however, is “vomit”. The idea of “let’s take the hardest exercises and throw them together into a video that kicks butt, but takes us nowhere specifically” = VOMIT.

insanityNow, to use insanity as a hammer with some other tools and materials would be profoundly useful. However, in and of itself, its just a hard workout – and if that is all you do as a “program” it would be like reading the same paragraph in a book over and over and expecting a different ending, or trying to build a skyscraper with just a hammer.

My point is this (and don’t hate), if you are showing up for your “workout of the day”  and not getting the long term results you want (especially with your physique), maybe you should question what direction that specific program is taking you if any, or find out how to use your existing program in a more purposeful way. Because, even if you are getting stronger or your cardio is improving, but it isn’t helping you reach your main goal (which, for most of us, is to also improve your physique), then maybe you need to tweak your program or change it altogether.

Looking for a workout program to follow? Subscribe to DualFit.com and join my newest online 4-week daily workout plan – great for  both guys and girls and requiring minimal equipment so you can do it at home or the gym. 🙂 Recruit some friends and I’ll be posting a launch date for peeps to all start together!

DualFit 4-Week Workout

Advertisements

Is It Time to Ramp Up Your Workout?

IMG_5140You are finally motivated to take your training to the next level.  You are no longer satisfied with these mundane mediocre workouts that leave your body fatigued but no different looking, or performing, than before you started.  Your goals are literally “running on a treadmill”, taking you nowhere.  Maybe you are satisfied with your physique, but you know you have more – and you want to know what that “more” is!  It all starts with increasing the intensity of your training.

How do you intelligently increase the intensity of your training so that it provides the biggest benefit?  That is where this blog comes in.  How you change your training regimen is going to largely depend on what your goals are.  If you are training to sprint faster, your training will change to the polar opposite of a long distance runner.  937If you are a fighter that needs stamina for 12 rounds you will train completely different than a power lifter who needs enormous energy for 1 bout of a 3 second lift.  What will be considered is duration, frequency, intensity, rest, and nutrition.

If you are looking for this blog to spell out each individual sport specific training protocol, you are looking in the wrong place.  There are tons of great research online to help individual athletes develop programs specific to their sport.  What I hope to accomplish here is to provide you with what questions you should be trying to ask so you can develop a program that will take your training to the next level.

Knowing the Right Questions

fitness-goalsBefore we start, determine your main focus: Do you need to develop strength (increase the load of a 1 rep max ), hypertrophy (increase in muscle size  ), or stamina (increase the ability to repeat a movement continuously with little fatigue over a longer duration).  Without a doubt, genetics play the biggest factor in our performance, our aesthetics, and our health.  Hard work takes off where genetics leaves off.  Nothing worth having comes easy.  But you have to work hard… and smart!

These are the questions you should be asking to take your body to the next level.

Question 1: Intensity

IntensityIntensity can have a plethora of different meanings.  Let’s define it to mean the % of load, and the speed of each individual repetition.  When we discuss speed, we begin to blur together other principals that we will look at later, such as duration.  As a matter of fact, all of the following definitions and principals will affect intensity.   In other words, how heavy should I lift and how fast should each repetition be performed to elicit the biggest change for my goal?

Question 2: Frequency

workout-too-muchFrequency controls the variables of how often to lift or exercise.  How many reps, sets, and training sessions should I have in a given week?  This is easiest described by looking at a marathon runners training schedule.  How often should they run to get the desired affect of being able to run further faster?  If they train to often (long runs every day), their muscles don’t have ample time to repair – and that, my friends, is what this is all about!

Frequency is a huge variable when it comes to our goals because it works in conjunction with recovery, or controlling how much our muscle can recover/repair before the next repetition, set, or training session.

Question 3:  Duration

durationDuration, as we are using the term, will be the time variable.  The time it takes to lift in one rep, one set, and one training period.  Duration for a boxer could be, how long each round goes, how many rounds in that specific match, and how many matches that day.

Duration is used in some other pertinent principals of exercise as well.  Such as the “TUT” principal.  This is described as time under tension.  The object of TUT is trying to gain a training affect by varying the time your body is under load during resistance exercise.  When talking about duration and TUT, we have to consider the phases of contraction.  Mostly the eccentric phase (negative).  Many theories have supporting data that a slow negative movement will increase mass, strength, and tone of a muscle during resistance exercise.  How long a training session lasts to be optimal for a training effect is also hugely important.  If you train longer than your body can maintain intensity for, may be your downfall in the long run. How long or short, slow or fast,  should my reps, sets, rest time, and workouts be?

Question 4: Recovery (rest and nutrition)

Sleep-and-RecoveryThis question could be its own blog.  Please consider doing a lot of homework on your own looking at the questions I will pose.  Recovery includes so many variables that will get us off track, so let’s just focus on rest and nutrition.  I believe, and it is supported by solid research, that nutrition and rest are the most important factors limiting growth and performance second only to genetics and androgenic drugs.

Rest and nutrition are powerful variables that can give an athlete the advantage even when competing against a stronger more gifted rival.

1. How long should I rest between sets
2. How long should I rest between workouts
3. How long should I rest between specific body parts (how often should I hit legs)
4. What do I eat before or after training
5. How much should I eat to maximize results
6. What do I eat to maximize results
7. What do I NOT eat (does alcohol or sugars affect a training response)

Cheat Sheet – The Beginning…

There are no easy answers for any of these questions.  The answers are all specific to your sport and your methodology of training.  But I promise you, if you are training hard, its worth it for you to find the specific answers you need for your specific goals.  If you are a football player, and you train like a football player but eat a ballerina’s diet, you will look and perform like a ballerina.  (That is not a jab at ballerina’s) – just sayin’.

I came across a helpful table on Wikipedia based on sound theory and solid research, and I agree with much of it.  I hope this table is a useful tool to help get you started on answering the questions we have developed to master your craft!

Variable

Training Goal

Strength

Power

Hypertrophy

Endurance

Speed

Load (% of 1RM)

80-90

45-60

60-80

40-60

30

Reps per set

1-5

1-5

6-12

13-60

1-5

Sets per exercise

4-7

3-5

4-8

2-4

3-5

Rest between sets (mins)

2-6

2-6

2-5

1-2

2-5

Duration (seconds per set)

5-10

4-8

20-60

80-150

20-40

Speed per rep (% of max)

60-100

90-100

60-90

60-80

100

Training sessions per week

3-6

3-6

5-7

8-14

3-6

Table reproduced from Siff, 2003[9]

re·bound verb \ˈrē-ˌbau̇nd, ri-ˈ\

Rebound: Return, bounce back, setback, backfire, move backward. 

Stev Pfiester, Light Heav WeightI recently took 18 competitors from my gym, Max Fitness, to compete in the NPC Southeast Classic. The goal was hitting the stage. Not winning a trophy, but using the stage to make us push harder and be our best.

The goal was made, and the goal was met!  What we do now defines what we learned on our journey to accomplish our goal.  In the “realm” of goal acquisition, focusing solely on the goal can be a tragedy.  What I mean is, the goal is just that: “a goal” – a means to an end.  How we develop, the wisdom we gain, and the way we develop along the way is the real reward for meeting our goal.  Goals are not the real rewards.

Team max

Josh GayLets think backwards for a second.  By creating a goal to shoot for, you are inviting some level of adversity into your life.  How much adversity we will endure is measured by how grandiose the goal.  The “Goal” only gives reason to validate and hold accountable our hard work, our long suffering, our perilous effort to make our bodies fitter, our will stronger, our bellies hungrier.  I have never seen anyone train harder than when they were stretching themselves to reach a new goal. These guys did just that. Josh Gay‘s 60-day before & after picture shows just how hard they worked. Then, they hit the stage, and celebrated, and then they went home…

Score! Now What?

CruiseWhat happens after we reach our goal?  It is good after hard training to back down, enjoy the “win” and celebrate the goal acquisition. For me, it was going on a vacation (cruise). We hit the keys, then Mexico and then headed to Disney shortly after we got home. Yes, there was a lot of food involved. But, at some point, we must get back in the game.

We don’t pay off credit cards just to go on some huge spending spree waisting our money, discipline and hard work. It is ok to go charge a dinner, but then we pay it off immediately to avoid getting in the bad position we were once in. Whether the goal was physical or financial, it’s important to remember what you learned along the way and how you felt while you were working so hard.

Sloppy Joes Key West

The best way to prevent rebound is to give yourself a marked amount of time to enjoy your hard work. But after that time is finished, it’s time get back to work. It’s time to make new goals – both long and short term.

bench pressBefore you even reached this goal, you should already dream about what is next. Don’t take your eye off of the immediate prize.  Don’t focus on your future goals until you accomplished the one set right before you.  However; you should already be thinking about what is next.  This will prevent your downtime from turning into a complete train wreck and a complete rebound.

Doesn’t matter if we are talking about finance or weight loss, enjoy your success but don’t throw away your investment.  Remember what you learned along the way.  This is what makes you better, stronger, and more patient.  Make some goals, so you can push your limits!

Geared Up & Ready

Even something like a new pair of shoes can get you motivated to get back in the gym and hit it hard again.  I got these new Reebok ZigCarbons and love them. It was just what I needed to want to do cardio again.

Reebok ZigCarbon

My next new gym toy is Reebok’s Bose Headphone set. They help get my mind focused, shut out distractions and make the most of my time at the gym. Totally what I needed to tune back into my routine.

Reebok Bose Headphone Set

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Formula for Success

goal“If you take your eyes off the goal, for even a second, doubt will rush your mind like a band of brutal thieves.”

Doubt intends to kill your dreams, destroy your desire, and beat you down with fear.  Evidence of this is obvious in the most trying times.  When we are hungry, when we are tired, when we are angry, when we are in despair…

arnold Be Hungry

When you are hungry, let that hunger be your purpose.  It is a burning reminder in your gut of what you want to accomplish. When you are tired and your eyes grow heavy, don’t be the martyr the world excuses you to be, no one owes you anything. If there is something you want, you stay up one more hour and you go out and get it!

Be Productive

train like you want itAnger?, rage? Make it productive, and focus the intensity of this moment into success instead of resentment.  No one can control your emotions but you.  And when you are in complete despair — Stop. Shhhhh. Be still, and listen.  You are more than “just being”. You have the potential to be even more than your desires. You have the ability to accomplish things you havent even dreamed of …yet.

One of my favorite quotes of all time comes by way of the late Henry Ford.  He reminds us that we can decide what happens next… he said “he who thinks he can, and he who thinks he can’t, are usually both right“.

Go Beyond 

“Attaining the goal isn’t success.  Success is found in the pursuit, attaining your goals is the icing on this cake we call life.”

Work harderLastly, it isn’t enough to just dream. I love visualization. Wondering what if, thinking just maybe…  Hoping, even praying, for that desire of your heart.  Instead of praying for “the goal”, pray for the opportunity to make a way for your goal. The satisfaction of accomplishment comes in the effort – the blood, the sweat, the tears, the years, in pursuit of the “goal”.  Attaining the goal isn’t success.  Success is found in the pursuit, attaining your goals is the icing on this cake we call life.

“Vision without execution is just hallucination” Henry Ford

Equation for Success

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #LiveWithFire

Sculpting Better Legs: Simple Leg Workout to Improve Your “Sweep”

vastus lateralisIf you have been following this mess I call a blog at all for the last 5 months you may have heard me whine and whine about my knee. If not, you’re in luck because here I go again.  5 months ago I was getting ready for my first ever MMA tournament.  I know,… shut it! But anywho, I was gonna try. Here’s a shocker: my 42-year-old butt got tore up by a 19-year-old monster.  I tore my medial meniscus and sustained a 90% tear to my MCL.  I was devastated, but now I’m back and I want to not only return to competing, I want my quads bigger and stronger than ever. The area I want to focus on for this workout is the Vastus Lateralis, the largest and most outer portion of the thigh.

How to Improve Your Sweep

Bikini competitors legsHow do we isolate out the vastus lateralis muscle, or as we call it in the physique world, “the sweep”?  Vastus externus or vastus lateralis, depending on your A&P professor, is the largest of all the quadricep muscles. The action of this muscle is to extend the tibia or shin bone at the knee, but I’m here to help you learn how to perform knee extension to isolate out the other muscles that synergistically aid in this action.  In sculpting, it is very important that we learn isolation. Whether we are a bodybuilder, a bikini competitor or a stay-at-home mom that wants to scult their body, we can all use these principles to learn to sculpt nicer legs.

Target Training

target fatFat burn or spot reducing fat  can not be limited to specific areas of the body, no matter what  “bogus science” and pills tell you. However, sculpting most assuredly can be reduced to a single area, action, and in some cases, specific fibers of a specific muscle – all based on how we execute the exercise.  You don’t need a degree in kinesiology to learn these principals, just a little common sense is all.

So, how do we excite and fatigue the fibers of our outer quad to hypertrophy our SWEEP?

Narrow-minded

Leg press sweepOk, so here is one exercise you should be narrow-minded about. Narrow is better when we talk about our stance to accentuate or facilitate the contractile tissue of the outer quad.  So lets think narrow when doing squats and leg extensions.  Whatever exercises you do, stand with a more narrow stance (feet together).  You may stop and ask, does that mean if I stand wide, I will work my inner thigh and medial quads?  Yeppers! Now you are getting it.  (another blog perhaps)  Moving on…

Self-Centered

building better legsWith leg extensions, it’s all about being self-centered – literally. If you point your toes outward, you are working the  vastus medialis, the tear drop shaped muscle on the medial side (inside) of the legs close to the knee. Since we want to work the opposite side of the legs, then (yes, you guessed it) we want to point our toes in the opposite direction, pointing toes together. Note: this doesn’t work by just pointing the feet from the ankle down, the whole leg must internally rotate to the center to excite the appropriate muscles.

Here is an example of my own leg workout where I use these same principles to improve my sweep.

Yesterday’s Leg Workout

Warm up:  4 sets / 20 reps  

Deep weighted walking lunges  (35-50 pound dumbbells) 45 seconds rest btw sets

Couplet: Leg Press & Leg Extension Super Set
(zero rest between super set, 1 minute between sets)

#1 Heavy leg press
5-8 plates each side, narrow stance (4″ apart) and push only on your heels
10 sets / 15 reps

#2 Moderately heavy leg extension
Moderately heavy leg extension (130lbs-160lbs) internally rotate your femur’s in (toes are pigeon-toed), and squeeze your outer quad in terminal extension.
10 sets / 12-15 reps

Repeat Super Set 10 Times

Puke and repeat for 10 rounds(sets) with 1 minute rest between (rounds) sets

Here are some pics from my last show, the Daytona Classic, just 10 days after getting hurt.

daytona classic

I WILL FAIL!

Next time you gain ground and next time you find yourself making any headway, no matter how insignificant, FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT to keep it!

i will fail

BUT, I WILL NOT FAIL MYSELF!!!

#RESPECTYOURSELF 

4 Lefts Turns to Success

left turnSo it occurs to me that the shape we are in, or not in… is not from just one big decision or choice. We didn’t just decide to, all the sudden, get lazy and fat.  It was multiple small choices we were faced, over a certain period of time, that led us to being sedentary and out of shape.

In the same way, waking up this morning and making the huge comitment to being in shape, in and of itself, will not inherrently “make you in shape”. It is going to depend on how you react to the small choices you will face in the coming days, after making the decision to being in better shape. Assuming you have already thought about your goals, and you have the desire to get healthy…

Here are “4 left turns” to get you back on track

IMG_00941. Do not put off your workout.  Workout the first chance you get.  As your day goes, the likelihood of “circumstances” preventing you from training becomes exponential with every additional minute.

2. Preplan a menu.  Try to prepare to eat properly all week by preparing food over the weekend – and bring a few snacks and meals with you to leave at work or in your purse.  Making good food choices is always about being prepared for the unexpected meeting or appointment.

3. Preplan your workouts.  Have a plan of attack and purpose for the entire week.  Set goals for your workout, and keep a journal. Find a web site that can help you plan a great workout to achieve your goals. i.e.  DoBCx.com or LiveExercise.com

4. Plan for setbacks.  If you miss a workout, legitimately, get started again immediately.  You are not going to lose momentum by missing one workout.  It’s when this becomes a pattern that we begin to “backslide”.  If it becomes a pattern, figure out what needs to change.  Is it too late in the day, scheduling conflict, to tired on that day? What ever it is, figure it out, and make the changes required to stick to your schedule and plan!

30-Minute Conditioning Workout

Got a half hour and wanna tax your aerobic capacity but want some strength work too?
Check this out… and then #getafterit !

reebok crossfit oneFIRST CIRCUIT:

(5 Burpee’s/10 pullups)  X’s  5 rounds

(5 Burpees/10 push-press) X’s 5 rounds
#85 men & #45 she-men

(5 Burpee’s/10 squats)   X’s  5 rounds
#135men & #85 she-men)

(5 Burpess’s/10 straight bar curls)  X’s 5 rounds
#75 men & 35 she-men

then…”THE RUSH”:
straight through for five rounds.
men use #75  she-men use #45

15 burpees’s
5 pull ups
5 push press
5 squats
5 bicep curls
____________
repeat for five total rounds

30-45 minutes of sure fitness bliss… I dare ya!

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

It Won’t Be Easy, But It WILL be Worth It! #respectyourself

 

After I wrote my blog yesterday, Bonnie made this mantra to help us all remember what we are working so hard for.

2013 I will be GNC

 

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Big Ballin’ Workout

Reebok Balance BallWhat if I told you that you can get fit by just playing with your balls… Swedish balls, med balls, slam balls.  Fitness tools like these are very effective, providing variety and resistance that is different from standard weights and machines.

Variety is key with challenging your muscle fibers in different ranges and depths to cause adaptation and change. And, the most affective way to cause change, that will force your physique to improve, is to overwhelm it both aerobically and anaerobically simultaneously.  This high intensity training is very effective in creating tone and burning fat.  Follow me through the following workout for as many rounds as possible in ten minutes.  Keep track of your rounds and do this workout as often as you like – and watch your  body change as you improve.

ITS TIME TO #GETAFTERIT!!!!

Big Ballin’ Workout! 
15 Slam Balls
15 Burpees with Med Ball
15 Fit Ball Push Ups
15 Ball Ab Circles
10 minutes AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

%d bloggers like this: