Oops!

Hey everyone,

I have been a little late on my posts, but I have a decent reason:

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Franken-finger

While I was unloading the dishwasher, I accidentally slid my finger along the blade of our vegetable slicer! I ended up needing five stitches to keep the inch long slice closed. For the next few days I will be taking a break from my workout.  I plan to use Monday as a day off, Tuesday for yoga, and then Wednesday I will get back into my lifting. I just want to make sure it closes up well before I really raise my heart rate and cause my blood pressure to rise. I wouldn’t want to be the dude at the gym who starts gushing everywhere.

Later today or tomorrow I will be updating my New Year, New Program. I plan to discuss plateau busters and boredom fixes.

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Food. A look at the new eating plan

This is a snapshot of two days of eating for my New Year, New Program. I choose specifically not to follow a diet, but to work on a lifestyle of healthy eating.  My wife and I have adapted healthier eating habits and will stick to this lifestyle for years to come. Here are the rules we are following:

No alcohol (this is for the first 6 weeks of the new year; a way to detox). I am drinking only water and tea, no coffee or soda. No processed foods. Eat within an hour of waking up. Eat every three hours; whether hungry or not. This keeps your metabolism running, burning calories and fat, and also prevent you from binge eating when hungry. Eat just enough to be satisfied, not full. This can be less than or more than a serving, but is based on what your body is telling you it needs. If it has been an hour and you are hungry have a little something so that you feel satisfied, but do not eat enough to skip your next meal.

Stay Away from: unhealthy dressings, dips and butter; processed food; fried food; sodium, high sugar sauces; lunch meat, chips, fries, mayonnaise.

Portions should be the size of your palm when your hand is open. Your carb portions should be the size of your fist. And veggies are unlimited. Also use the rule of thirds: 1/3 of the plate is protein, 1/3 veggies, 1/3 complex carbs.

By following these rules we are learning our bodily needs and listening to ourselves better. Some meals we eat more than others and that is because of the caloric needs we are being told to take in. The plan will work in conjuncture with our exercises and will allow us to get the nutrients needed for gaining muscle, all while burning fat.

The following is a look at two days worth of eating~

Day 1 (a cardio day)- Breakfast: Oatmeal, Yerba Mate tea, 1 Banana. 11am: 2 egg whites, homemade date muffin. 2pm (post 1hr of cardio): protein shake, lasagna, apple, and a carrot. 5pm- homemade trail mix. 8pm- Kale Salad, Asparagus, Whole wheat mac and cheese with butternut squash.

Day 2 (weight day)- Breakfast 4:45: 2 servings Oatmeal, 1 Banana, 3 Eggs whites. 8am: pre workout, intra workout, and post workout supplements. 12pm: Lasagna, 1 Orange, 1 Serving beef jerky, Serving of sweet potatoes. 3pm: Squash, Kale, Apple, Wildberries and Skim milk smoothie. 7pm: lean hamburger on homemade bun with kale, olive oil sweet potato fries.

So there you have a snapshot of what I have been eating. All healthy and good for you, no loss in satisfaction or taste! I will update the site periodically with recipes and photos for you to follow.

Next New Program, New Year: breaking the boredom

Before Pictures

I am still working on my two day food journal for you all. I decided today would be a good day to post my before pictures. At week 5 I will post another set of pictures, and hopefully we will all see a difference.

Here are my pictures:

Front Flexed- This one is the most intriguing for me. I want to see how each muscle changes and appears as the weeks progress:Image

Front Normal-

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Side-

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Back-

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I also want to update you on a few stats. Just three weeks in and I have dropped 9 pounds, lost 1/2 inch from my waist, gained 0.2 inches on my arms, 1 inch on my chest, and 4 inches on my shoulders!

I cant wait to see how things look in two weeks!

Next New Year, New Program: Diet and Food Journal

Workout Program

I am a few days behind, but none-the-less want to provide you with my workout routine for the New Year, New Program. I am a true believer in the fact that even as a trainer, you cannot train yourself. You know yourself well, but you get comfortable and it is easy to fall into a rut. You just can’t push yourself like someone else can, and on top of that we all have our favorite exercises. Without branching out, without challenging yourself, you can’t progress.

My top two tips for running a successful routine: 1- Follow someone else’s plan. Preferably a professional’s plan. 2- Track your weights. Everyone should take a notebook to the gym and track their weights and reps. This allows you to push hard and not waste time doing sets that are too easy. You will always know the proper weight to push for.

My routine comes from Steve Cook. Steve is a body builder and a an award winning fitness model. His program is can be found on bodybuilding.com and is called the Big Man on Campus. Steve’s program is a split program focusing on certain muscles once a week, with 3 rest/cardio days.

The reason I chose Steve’s plan is because in order for me to reach my goal weight and body fat percentage, I need to lose fat and build muscle. Base on my starting weight and percentage it is crucial for me to work on building larger and stronger muscles because I do not have the muscle mass required to have 8% body fat. Using Steve’s weight routine and my meal plan, I can build mass and lower my fat.

Steve’s plan focuses on weight training with minimal cardiovascular training. This is fine because as the title suggests, he is trying to gain size. For me I had to modify the plan slightly. I modified Steve’s plan four ways:

1- With each set Steve increases the weight. I use a single weight, and only increase the weight once I can complete all sets to the highest given rep count. For example If I am told to do 3 sets of 10-12 reps, I will perform the 3 sets with a weight that I can do 1 set of 12, and then push the other two sets as high as possible, maybe 10 or maybe 8. Only once I can hit 12 reps per set, do I increase my weight load. This allows me to work the muscle to failure at every workout. Once the muscle is strong enough to do three sets equally I need to increase the weight and repeat the process. This has helped to increase my strength, work on muscle stamina, and not bulk unnecessarily. In my first three weeks I have increased the weight more than once on all my exercises!

2- I modified the type of cardio training Steve suggests. Steve breaks the routine into 2 days of weights, one day cardio, two days weights, and two days cardio. For cardio Steve suggests 40 minutes of moderate activity. This keeps your cardiovascular health high, and allows your muscles to rest and recover. For my program I am more concerned with burning fat. I am also in the military and must improve my swimming and running. To accomplish this I swim for half of my cardio day and then do HIIT for the other half. My goal here is two fold; first improve my swimming, and second improve my run times by working fast, short intervals- also burning more fat than the steady run.

3- I modified my day to day routine. I have worked out long enough to know that my body uses cardio as a rest day and that because I am lifting for certain muscles only once a week, I can skip a full rest day. For me the program is a six day cycle I repeat. Steve’s original plan had seven days.

4- This is the final modification of the plan. I again know myself well enough to understand I need to change things more often. Steve’s plan is a 12 week schedule. For me I will change the current routine in 8 weeks. Here is why: With only four weeks of work the body will change slightly, allowing for the shock of working out to help you drop some weight. In 8 weeks, the body will plateau after the original shock, and then begin to adapt and adjust, allowing for greater muscular changes and weight loss. Also, because I cut a day out of Steve’s program, I can turn eight weeks of following the routine into over nine, six day cycles. This allows me to hit the muscles more often in less time. At the end of my eight weeks, I will perform a four week recovery routine, and then move into another eight week schedule.

Now for the actual lifts that I am doing:

Day 1- Incline Chest Press, Incline Chest Flye, Dumbbell Bench Press, Chest dips with Incline Push-up super set, Triceps Push-down, Overhead Triceps Extension. 5 sets of Pull-ups

Day 2- T-bar Row, Close Grip Front Lat Pull-down, One Arm Row, Straight Arm Pull-down, EZ Bar Strict Curls, EZ Bar Cheat Curls, Incline Dumbbell Curl, Spider Curls with Hammer Curl super set, Standing Calve Raises, Seated Calve Raises. 14 sets of Abs

Day 3- Cardio stuff, 5 sets of Push-ups

Day 4- Straight Legged Dealift, Standing Leg Curl, Seated Leg Curl, Front Squats, Leg Press, Leg Extensions with Jumping Lunges super set. 5 sets of Pull-ups

Day 5- Shoulder Press, Side Lateral Raises, Reverse Pec Deck Flyes, Front raise super set with Upright Row, Shrugs, Standing Calve Raises, Seated Calve Raises. 14 sets of Abs

Day 6- Cardio stuff, 5 sets of Push-ups

 

For the full program, eating tips, and sets with reps, check out Big Man on Campus

Treadmill Torcher (torture?)

Before I forget I wanted to post my most recent cardio workout. As a part of my weight program, to be outline later today, I use 2 of my 6 workout days as cardio days. Since I am back at school my Thursday schedule is very tight. From 11 to 1, I have just enough time to get to the gym, run, shower, and eat. Because of the distance from Old Dominion to the YMCA, I have about 30 to 35 minutes to be in the gym. Best cardio option for a day like this? High Intensity Interval Training, HIIT. HIIT burns the most amount of calories in the shortest time. Basically you could run for an hour and burn 899 allowing for 40% of those calories to come from fat (360), or 20 minutes HIIT burning 615 calories allowing for 60% to come from fat (369). This means I burned as much fat in 20 minutes as I would if I ran for a full hour. It also shows that because of the percentage of fat burned in this time, I burned less carbohydrates and other essential nutrients to muscle building. Bottom line- saved time, burned more fat, preserved muscle mass. As I am not an endurance athlete this equation leads to a leaner and stronger body.

Here is my workout for Thursday:

0-3 min, 6.0 mph, 0% incline

3-5, 7.0, 0%

5-6, 8.0, 2%

6-7, 3.5, 2%

7-8, 8.5, 3%

8-9, 3.5, 3%

9-10, 9.0, 4%

hop off perform sets of 21,23,16,16,26 pushups

hop back on,

0-1 min, 6 mph, 0% incline

1-2, 3.0, 10%

2-3, 6.0, 10%

3-4, 3.0, 10%

4-5, 6.2, 11%

5-6, 3.0, 11%

6-7, 6.8, 10%

7-8, 2.0, 10%

8-9, 5.2, 15%

9-10, 2.0, 10%

That’s it! Not bad huh? Honestly I felt like a sloth and was gasping for breathe once the incline training started. I love pushing myself, but I really felt out of shape doing this! To me that means it is working, and I cant wait for the next HIIT day.

A special thanks to 1 Fit Foodie, I found this workout on her blog and modified it for my program. Check her site out: www.1fitfoodie.com

Starting Stats and Goals

Like I mentioned in the first post I am going to post my starting statistics and goals for the New Year, New Program. At the beginning of the year, January 1, I weighed 189 pounds. My height was 5’11 and my BMI was 26.8. BMI is not the best method for looking at your appropriate weight, but this did put me in the overweight category. My body fat percentage was estimated at 15%. This makes sense because my BMI is on the low end of overweight, and 15% body fat is described as “lean and fit…muscles are outlined and covered by a thin layer of fat”. Some of my body measurements were: Waist- 35.5, Chest- 39.5, Biceps- 15.5.

Now for my goals. In order to plan my workouts and food I needed to decide what I wanted to look like. For me this was an easy decision- MMA fighters are incredibly powerful and maintain low body fat percentages. My favorite fighter is Urijah Faber. In order to look as strong and lean as Urijah I have to have the same ratio of weight to height as he does. Urijah is 5 feet 6 and fights at 135 pounds. This puts his BMI at 22% and a height to weight ratio of  2.04 pounds per inch. His body fat percentage is around 8%.

In order for me to look as big as he does I need to drop my body fat to 8% and have a mass to height ratio of 2.04 pounds. At 5′ 11″ I would weigh 145 pounds. Now this is extremely low on the BMI scale and so I know it is healthier for me to match my BMI and body fat to Uirjah. At 165 pounds I would have a BMI of 22. Weight goals: 165, body fat of 8%. For my measurements, I would like to see me waist shrink and my arms, chest and legs grow. Because I want the body fat to match Urijah, I have to work on gaining muscle and losing fat. With that said I know the average person can gain .437 pounds of muscle each week and can lose 3.2 pounds of fat a week. This brings about an average of 2.75 pounds of weight loss in a week. This is under 1% and is a healthy pace for weight loss. This pace means I should be able to reach my goal in 25 weeks.

Long story short;

Weight- 189   Goal- 165

BMI- 26  Goal- 22

Body Fat- 15%  Goal-8%

Length 25 weeks.

Next New Year, New Program: Weight lifting prgram

New Year, New Program

Each year everyone takes a little time to make New Year’s Resolutions and begin to better themselves in some way. Like everyone I made my resolutions as well.

I have been an athlete my entire life and have always competed at the highest levels of competition. My fitness goals always matched this type of lifestyle. I worked out for explosive power, speed, and high intensity stamina (ability to do sprints and such, over and over). While I didn’t eat unhealthy foods, I wasn’t concerned about my diet and I knew I was burning more calories than I was taking in.

Now that I am 27, a full-time student, working, and Dad, I am no longer competing, or spending hours training. On a typical day I am only able to be in the gym for around an hour. The diet I was eating as an athlete was no longer needed for the type of activities I was doing. While I still worked out, I was’t maximizing my workouts and was beginning to gain a little extra weight.

This New Year’s I have decided to focus on my diet and maximize the time I am spending in the gym. By eating healthier and changing my weight lifting program I can achieve new fitness goals and have the energy I had as an athlete without the added calories and weight. Starting tomorrow I will be documenting this healthier lifestyle and providing you with details of everything.

Next New Year, New Program: Starting statistics and goals.