Catch up

So it has been a little while since I have had a post. I don’t want to overload you with a huge post so I will try to just hit things quickly and get back to speed.

Over the last week I had a huge week at school and focused mainly on that. On top of everything I had two friends come and stay with us for the weekend. It was my son’s birthday on Wednesday and from then on we had friends hanging out with us and family coming in for the big party. Finally at the end of everything I enter this week and had two tests, a paper and a presentation to do. Finished with everything I am finally taking a chance to breathe and relax.

In the midst of all the things we had going on, I was able to stay on track with my workout schedule, and so far I have at least maintained my weight. There  are still a few days before my weigh in, but even with all the cake, bbq sandwiches and a few libations, I haven’t gained any weight.

Over the course of the last week I have had a chance to experiment a little bit. Last Friday I didn’t do my power yoga because of our visitors. However I did go to the gym and do a short HIIT workout.

For the first 15 minutes I simply turned on a timer and completed as many rounds as possible of 10- 1.5 pood kettlebell swings, 10 box jumps, and 10 dips. After complete a round of all three exercises I immediately jumped into the next round. With a few well placed breaks I was able to complete 8 rounds in 15 minutes. I then completed 4 minutes of 10 pound sledge hammer slams on a tire. I did this in 20 second periods with 10 seconds of rest. Following the same setup I completed a 4 minute period of tabata situps on a hyperextension bench.

Something else I have begun to experiment with is a myofascial roller routine and yoga before bed. I spend 9 minutes using a foam roller on my entire body. I start on my legs and work my way up. After using the roller I spend 12 minutes doing a series of yoga poses to stretch my legs and hips, and finish with a series for relaxing the back and preparing for sleep.

In the next two days I will post both these routines and pictures to make it much easier to follow.

Glad to be back!

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Got 10 Minutes?

Before I post a workout I want to update you on the results of the treadmill interval workout from yesterday. Everyone says that a strong core is a key to increasing your speed when running. The abdominal muscles help control your upper body and pull the legs. I never doubted this, and it makes since scientifically, but I have never experienced a run that truly works my mid section. That was until yesterday. Yesterday interval training put my abs to the test. Today was leg day, and that always finishes with 4 sets to failure of 4 ab exercises. Unfortunately I had no strength left and my abs screamed from the first rep. Having obviously hit them hard enough yesterday I ended the workout without finishing. Remember  like all muscles the abdominal’s need proper rest as well.

Now for today’s routine. As I was sitting around working on homework my wife sent me a text and let me know that she didn’t think she could make it to the gym today because of a change in her schedule. Not a big deal. I asked her if she could give me 4 minutes to put her through a workout. What started as 4 minutes turned into 9.

While it isn’t the 40 minute run or a long strength routine, I designed a quick tabata based strength and cardio routine. In order to do the routine you need 5 pound dumbbells, a kettlebell, and a medicine ball. Over the next 9 minutes you will spend 20 seconds working and 10 seconds resting. The exercises are pretty straight forward put I do want to be sure I clarify a few.

Jump Rope with 5 lbs dumbbell- hold the dumbbells in your hands and act as though you are jumping rope

Plank Rows- Hold the dumbbells while in a straight arm plank. Alternate between pulling the dumbbells off the floor and to your shoulders one at a time

Single arm kettle bell swings- Squat with the kettle bell in one arm between your legs, explode out of the squat and using one arm raise the bell over your head, return to the starting position and switch hands before next explosion.

Medicine ball to a the ceiling crunch- hold the medicine ball over your head with straight arms, sit up just enough to get your shoulder blades off the floor and engage the core. Make sure the ball moves straight to the ceiling and not forward over your body.

Static boat hold- left your legs and back off the floor until you make a perfect V, hold this pose

Here is the workout as my wife followed it. Hope you enjoy!

9min

300 Calories in 35 minutes

This morning was a crazy start to the week. It was Presidents Day and with that meant military child care was closed. Not normally a problem, but we didn’t find this out until  we were trying to drop off the kid. Needless to say, everything I had planned needed to change as well. Being a cardio day this isn’t as big a deal as if it were a lifting day.

So my original plan was to tweak last weeks failed attempt at running and yoga. I had planned on doing the yoga portion first and then doing the treadmill workout. Based on the time commitment of that routine, I decided to do a shorter treadmill interval workout. Next week we will see if the yoga and running works out!

So this morning I dropped the kid off at the YMCA daycare, so he could workout (play in the baby room), and I hit the treadmill. I then proceeded to complete a treadmill workout with intervals at 3 different top speeds. Unlike past workouts, I held the higher paces for 2 minute intervals. I found this to be harder than past workouts. While I burned more calories using the past methods, this was a higher Rate of Perceived Exertion. The longer I can hold the faster rates, the lower my run times will be when run the PRT or enter races in the area.

The calories on the chart are based on slower rates. I borrowed the workout from another runner and her fast paces were 0.5 mph slower than what I ended up using.

35minGive it a try and let me know how you do! Keep up the hard work. It is always better than the alternative.

Valentine’s Day

Last week was Valentines Day and as full time students and parents, my wife and I decided it was a good idea to celebrate on Saturday. So Saturday night I cooked a meal, made homemade ice cream, sat on the floor and had a picnic while watching a movie.

So what did we eat? For dinner I made Tagliata for Two. The recipe is in Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes by Nigella Lawson. Tagliata for Two is a simple NY Steak recipe, and was by far the best I have ever had!

You will need:

2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper

1 Teaspoon Oregano

A pinch of Kosher Salt

2 Teaspoons of Red Wine Vinegar

12oz NY Steak

8oz of Cherry Tomatoes

 

And you will need to do:

Heat your grill as high as it will go. I wait until the grill reaches at least 550 before I start to cook the meat. While the grill is reaching temperature take the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place it in a bowl just big enough to fit the steak. Add the Red Pepper, Oregano, a pinch of kosher salt and then the 2 teaspoons of Red Wine Vinegar. Mix the sauce together and allow it to sit in the bowl.

Next place the steak on the grill for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes flip and let grill for another 3 minutes. The steak will be rare, but cooked to a safe temperature. Nigella Lawson states in her book- get a good quality meat and do not over cook, otherwise don’t even bother. My wife is afraid of rare cooked meat, but loved this dish!

So after taking the steak off the grill, place it in the dish with the sauce. After 2 minutes flip the steak and soak for another 2 minutes. After soaking both sides, slice your cherry tomatoes and lay them face down in the sauce. Once every tomato is sliced, smash them into the sauce and stir well.

Now Slice the steak into thin strips and split the strips between two plates. Arrange them in a nice order and then pour the cherry tomatoes and sauce over the layout. I served them with my fries from last week, but you could do salad or green beans. For dessert we had homemade ice cream, also from the book. Later this week I will post that simple recipe.

300 Calories in 6oz and 30 grams of protein. Enjoy!

Photo Feb 16, 8 44 30 PM Photo Feb 16, 8 44 42 PM

Weigh-in Day

Alright. So it has been another 2 weeks and it is time to weigh in and see how things have progressed. As far as I can see, I do not notice differences between the photos from two weeks and today. This isn’t a big deal, as long as my measured stats are changing I am on track and doing what I want to do. The aesthetic changes will come, and that is usually the hardest part of a program.

Lets see how the past two weeks have gone:

Weight- 175.4lbs, 2.2lb loss

Body fat %- 10%, 1% drop

Chest- 40″, Still not back to where it was on day 1, but it is up 1″, and is growing since the fat dropped off

Arms- 15″, is a drop of less than a quarter inch, and with my strength increasing I believe that is a fat loss

Hips- 38″, down an inch

Waist- 32″, down 3/4″

Thighs- 22.5″, .5″ drop

Calves- 15.5″, no change

Forearms- 12″, No change

Neck- 16″, no change

Shoulders- 48″, 1/2″ increase

from now on I am going to do the first week’s pictures beside the newest pictures. Here they are:

R Front 1 R Front 3 R Back 1 R Back 3 R Side 1 R Side 3R Flex 1 R Flex 3

Let me know how your workouts and goals are coming along!

 

Avoid Workout Fatigue

So today I decided to change my warm-up routine and I instantly regretted it. I normal do 5 minutes of cardio, but thought I would do a tabata set of push-ups  I spent the next 5 five minutes doing 20 seconds of push-ups and then resting for 10 seconds. Not a bad warm-up, if I was doing legs. But today was chest day, which is the reason I chose to do push-ups in the first place.

Today’s warm-up got my heart rate up, and I definitely got warm, however I fatigued the very muscles that I needed to perform my first few exercises. Suddenly I found myself unable to lift the same weight I have been lifting for the past few weeks. The first three exercise on chest and triceps day are Incline Press, Incline Flye and Dumbbell Press. As you can see these three exercises rely on the same muscles I used to do the push-ups. No other exercise was effected, and by the time I was done with these three exercises I was able to move to the other exercises on my list as if it was a normal day. The reason for that is because my first exercise focus on big muscle groups and the next series focuses on small/individual muscles.

Now after beating myself up a little and wondering if I was in need of extra calories, I realized what I had done and I thought it would be a good idea to talk with you all about it. So here are my tips for warming up.

1- Prepare properly for you session. This means eat and drink the appropriate items before going to the gym. I make sure I eat thirty minutes prior to a lifting session. For me this usually means a protein and carbohydrate packed snack bar, with a full drink of Spark. This gives me all natural energy as well as fuel for my muscles and building blocks to prevent loss of muscle.

2- Warm-up properly. Unlike I did today, you should always warm-up properly. My plan typical looks like this- jog on the elliptical for 5 minutes when working chest, when working back and biceps I use the treadmill for 5 minutes, I row on a row machine on leg day, and on shoulder days I ride the bike. Chest is the first day of my workout week and I use the elliptical because it works my arms and my legs, but does not require me to push and use the bench press muscles. Biceps are day two and the treadmill works for this because there is no pulling of the arms like with an elliptical. Leg days i use the row machine because the hard part of the row is with the core and arms, and so my legs are not worked. And lastly I bike on shoulder day to loosen my legs up from the day before and let my upper body rest a little.

3- Hydrate properly. When lifting fill a bottle of water and after each set take a few sips. You should never drink enough to be full or feel the water in your stomach, but just enough keep yourself from getting thirsty. For me I do not like Gatorade. For a lifting session Gatorade has too many grams of carbs and sugar. Advocare has a new Rehydrate drink that has half the calories, half the carbs, half the sugar and more amino acids. I just started taking that and I am liking it so far.

4- Maintain a well balanced supplement and dietary routine. Make sure you are getting enough calories on a daily basis and have a post workout recovery snack or shake that works for you. For me it has always been a protein shake. And lately with the intensity of my workouts I have added a second shake to my day. I am currently about half way through my old protein brand and will order Advocare Post Workout Recovery next month!

5- Get enough sleep. This is easy enough. Be sure to get 7 to 8 hours a day, and do not go lift if you are tired. It is OK to take a day off and wait to lift when your body is ready for it.

 

Follow these simple steps and you will avoid workout fatigue.

Don't let this happen to you!

Don’t let this happen to you!

Cardio, Flexibility, and Strength

Today was a tough day. I will even admit that I did not finish my workout. I was pressed for time, but I had plenty of time to finish what I was doing, so even though I was cutting it close it was no excuse. The workout I came up with, was just really hard. Here was my plan:

Run 1.1 miles to the YMCA

Hop on a treadmill and complete a high intensity interval routine

Run 1.1 miles home

Do Rodney Yee’s Power Yoga DVD

and this routine was a great thought. Good solid cardio with a focus on HIIT, and then a stretching routine that would help with strength as well. But oops! That hour of running killed my energy when it was time to do an hour of yoga. Rodney Yee’s yoga program focuses on learning a routine and building strength. This particular video I purchased to master before moving to head stands and hand stands. So as the name implies, Power Yoga is just that, powerful and strength building. The entire dvd lasts 56 minutes. I only made it through 24 today. I got through the warm-up and the first set of poses, but once it was time to balance on a single leg- FORGET IT. I hit stop, stretched a little and took a shower.

Overall I still got a wonderful workout, and I got a good stretch after the hour of running, but I now have a gauge and can work up to finishes the two parts to the routine.

For those of you looking for a good routine for HIIT here is the one I followed today:

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For anyone interested in doing the whole routine, or working on your strength and flexibility through yoga, here is a link for that:

Rodney Yee

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Let me know if you give it a try or buy the dvd. Keep up the good work!