Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Holiday Spare Tire

I haven't posted in a few months due to the nature of my last post. I am refocused and hopefully over the "vain" pursuit of working out and back to the basics of eating right and exercising. We all know now that the summer months have come and gone and the air is cool and days are short, exericise decreases and eating increases. The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and fat intake. Celebration and calories often go hand in hand, and that's ok, we should have fun over the holiday season. What is not ok is neglecting to work double time in the gym in order to counter-act the excess calories and treats. When our bodies take in extra calories and can't break them down fast enough they end up storing them as fat! Our metabolism's has been trained (if follow the warfare eating plans) to break down small portions, and so when we eat these huge portions we throw off our fat burners and we end up storing it in the worst places (stomach, butt, face, and chest). So some practical ways of beating the holiday spare tire is by intensifying our workouts, working until we are exhausted and therein burning those extra calories and fat that we like to ignore on the way in.

Sample Holiday Workout Schedule:

Do 4-5 days a week.

Cardio: (taken from previous post)

Treadmill Workout: 20 Min Total

Warmup: 5 mins - Light Jog

10 Mins- Sprint at 95-100% Intensity 1 min/light jog 1 min (be careful but push yourself)

Cooldown: 5 mins- Light Jog

Stationary Bike Workout: 18 Min Total

Warm up 3 Mins- (i.e. Level 6-9)

Intensity Training (12 min total)

Increased Resistance (i.e. Level 12-15) -2 mins (95-100%)- ON
Decreased Resistance (i.e. Level 8-10)- 1 min (65-75%)-OFF

Cooldown 3 mins- (Level 6-9)

Weight Training: Circuit training (building muscle burns fat) - for every 1lb of added muscle we burn (resting) 50 more calories per hour

Circuit 1:
1. Squats or Leg press
2. Bench Press or Chest press machine
3. Dumbbell Curls
4. Military press or Shoulder press machine

1 - 2 minute rest

Circuit 2:
5. Tricep Extensions
6. Lateral Pull Downs
7. Leg Extension machine or lunges
8. Chest Fly Machine

1 - 2 minute rest

Circuit 3:
9. Standing shoulder raises (dumbbells)
10. Hammer curls
11. Dips (bench dips if necessary)
12. Upper back row machine or Lawnmowers

1 - 2 minute rest

Start by doing each circuit non-stop (moderate to light weight to start 10-12 reps), then between circuits rest 1 to 2 minutes

Perform entire workout 2 times through for the first 2 weeks. After progression is made increase weight/reps and do entire workout 3 or 4 times through.

4-5 week program

4-5 days a week.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vanity vs. Health

When it comes to working out and "eating right" there is a fine line that often walked between health and vanity. Every person is unique, and has unique physical characteristics about them. The "super lean guy" hates himself because he can't put on weight and feels inferior because of his size. The hugen can't stand when he looks at himself because even though he can bench press 400 lbs, he has no definition. The culture we live in puts all kinds of terrible pressure on us to forfiet this idea of "uniqueness" and all strive to look like the guys on the cover of "muscle and fitness," or the girl on the cover of "maxim." All men are supposed to look like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV- you know huge broad shoulders, massive chest, and chiseled abs. All women are supposed to look like Marrissa Miller- tight stomach, well endowd, and hour glass shape.

If these are you goals, then I suggest you quit your job, say goodbye to your friends, family, and social life, invest in a personal trainer and nutritionist, and consult a plastic surgeon. Working out and eating right are not all about "the look."

Sure it's niced to be noticed once a while for how we look but if that is the only reason for exercise then get used to dissappointment because you'll never be satisfied.

We eat healthy so that we can get the vitamins, minerals, and other essentials our body needs in order to live (and workout). We exercise and workout so that we can use our bodies to train, to relieve stress, to boost energy, to function properly, and to feel good about ourselves.

The only thing that matters is your own personal goals and desires coupled with your own willingness to stay dedicated. If your goal is to run a half marathon, then make the necessary sacrifices and train according to your schedule and run a half marathon. If your goal is to lose weight, then make the necessary sacrifices to eat healthy and exercise regularly. The only person you can blame is yourself if your not reaching your goals. But remember to not be so hard on yourself either, set realistic goals and reach them. Congratulate yourself for a job well done, and set higher goals. If you continue on this path you will, without a doubt, be satisfied.

Monday, July 12, 2010

1 Round Insanity Complete

In all of my training, in any sport, no other type of workout has pushed me to my limits the way this program has. Think of the 400 meter sprint, you know the one where at the end it feels like you can't breath and all you want to do is collapse because your lunges burn so bad. That's kind of what Insanity 60 makes you feel like, except you do it for at minimum 30 minutes and at the high end 45 minutes. Seriously though, I ran the Chicago Marathon last year, and I am more exhausted and physically spent after one of the MAX workouts than I was after that race! I am excited to do another round of it coupled with some distance runs for the Chicago Half-Marathon, because it has increased my endurance and speed like whoa. I ran the marathon last year at a respectable 7:25 pace; I have gone out and run a few 6 milers over the past few weeks just to see if I could improve. Sub 7 minute pace each time. Giddy up!

Needless to say Insanity 60 is just that, insane. Not only has it improved my endurance, I also have increased in core strength, and even got some size back in my upper body. You can't help but shred fat from this workout plan, some of the workouts you can burn over a thousand calories in just under an hour. Those calories being burned are the ones that are the hardest to burn too; this is the baddest, meanest, fat shredding workout you'll ever try.

Baby steps, you know like from the movie "What about Bob," Baby steps. It's how we acheive real goals, its how we conquer our biggest challenges and obstacles. We take small, but effective, properly planned out, baby steps. In the past 4 years, I have taken working out pretty seriously, I have taken proper eating, somewhat seriously. I have been able to lift real heavy weights, and I have been able to run and swim really long distances. And what I have realized is that I love all of it, and its all good. But none of these "acheivements" could have been possible, without taking the baby steps along the way. The best way to run a marathon, is one mile at a time. The best way to swim 2.4 miles is 1 lap at a time. The best way to press over 400lbs is 1 pound at a time. Its real easy to get discouraged from working out, because of the lack of "instant gratification" that we all desire so much. But I want to encourage anyone out there that is feeling down, because they can't "see" the results from their hard work, to first look at what your goals are, to see if they are realistic, and two just keep going. Keep pushing and keep "going to work", because even though it may take years to accomplish your goals, the "baby steps" are what will get you there.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

P90x Progression and Insanity 60 Commencement

6 months of P90x completed and the results speak for themselves. Body fat down, waist size down, strength up, flexibility up, and endurance up. The most difficult part of the workout was following the diet plan, its not easy having a social life and try and sacrifice anything that tastes decent. However, I still love what p90x did and now I am ready for the next step. I recently started beachbody's latest program; Insanity 60. It's a series of workouts that take the most intense plyometric and cardio intense exercises and combines them into the nastiest, most exhausting, fat blasting routine I have ever done. I don't know if I could be doing it without having done P90x; I am two weeks in and have been eating clean and already see and feel results. Every two weeks there is a fit test to track progression, monday will be my first test. I am anxious to see the final results.

Keep pushing yourself, and never be satisfied; work work work and work some more.

On a side note; I am so proud of my wife, she is training for the Chicago half marathon in September!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Simple and Healthy- The Abs Diet Plan

Eating right doesn't have to be stressful, it doesn't have to be tricky, and it certainly doesn't have to taste bad. There are a few simple rules that can be followed and eating healthy can be easy.
High protein diets with a good mix of complex carbohydrates, fiber, and limited sugar is really all it takes. Protein is essential to smart eating and weight loss, it helps build muscle and keeps you fuller, longer. Instead of stressing over what not to eat, you should focus on what you should be eating. Below is good list of food to base a healthy eating plan around, if you can establish a solid base then everything else will fall into place. The list is from the "Men's Health Abs Diet Plan" and I have been basing my diet off of them for the past 3-4 years and have been more than satisfied with the results. You can find more information about these foods and the benefits of them at

Almonds, and other nuts
Beans, and other legumes
Spinach, and other green vegetables
Dairy, (yogurt, milk, cheese - low fat)
Instant oatmeal (or just oats)
Turkey, and other lean meats
Peanut butter
Olive oil
Whole wheat (breads, pasta, etc.)
Extra Whey protein
Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and other fruits

If you base you meals off of these 12 "Power Foods" you will have no problems losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet.

Make healthy eating a lifestyle change rather than a "get slim quick" diet; and over time you will see the pounds come off, the energy levels boost, and your self confidence soar.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ode to Men's Health- Abs

I recently read an article in Men's Health that gave some good insight and helpful tips for "revealing" your abs and other muscles. Here are some bits and pieces from the article that I found helpful.

If you can't see your abs, don't assume it's because you're missing out on a magical abdominal exercise or secret supplement. Blame your mindset.

You see, losing belly flab is a boring process. It requires time, hard work, and most important, dedication. Take the right steps every single day, and you'll ultimately carve out your six-pack. But if you stray from your plan even a few times a week—which most men do—you'll probably never see your abs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter Blues

Two months down in 2010, how's that "new you" coming? After 8 straight weeks of exercising and eating right you should be at a point where you can see some noticeable results, right? This is a time to reward yourself if you have been working hard. Treat yourself to something you have been sacrificing and it'll be oh so sweet.
Now is a good time to change up your routine and switch your workouts, your body needs to be challenged by change and confusion. Its time to start thinking about some serious workouts that will get you "right by spring." HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts are the best kind of workouts to shed that excess body fat and a good way to check your current aerobic shape. HIIT combines both aerobic as well as anaerobic into one nasty workout. There are many upsides to this specific type of training, it improves our cardiovascular health as well as fat burning; which, lets be honest, all of us want to do. Another plus to HIIT is that is doesn't take a whole lot of time, so you're in and out of the gym and with a better workout than if you would've spent an hour doing "normal" exercises. Below are a few different samples of HIIT exercises that will test you both physically and mentally.

Treadmill Workout: 20 Min Total

Warmup: 5 mins - Light Jog

10 Mins- Sprint at 95-100% Intensity 1 min/light jog 1 min (be careful but push yourself)

Cooldown: 5 mins- Light Jog

Stationary Bike Workout: 18 Min Total

Warm up 3 Mins- (i.e. Level 6-9)

Intensity Training (12 min total)

Increased Resistance (i.e. Level 12-15) -2 mins (95-100%)
Decreased Resistance (i.e. Level 8-10)- 1 min (65-75%)

Cooldown 3 mins- (Level 6-9)

Elliptical Workout/ Stair Stepper Workouts
Both of these machines can be used to do similar workouts as the stationary bike; increased resistance and increased intensity.

Now anyone of the workouts above coupled with some good stretching to start and finish plus a decent abdominal workout, will have you feeling gassed and great all at the same time and you will be done in less than 45 minutes.

Quick Ab workout

1. 15-20 reps -lying leg raises (keep legs straight and lift with your core)
2. 15-20 reps -toe touches (lie on your back and keep arms straight in the air; situp and reach to your toes and come back to lying on your back)
3. 15-20 reps (each side) - oblique crunches (lay on your side with legs stacked at 30 deg. angle and crunch elbow to thigh* good luck with that)
4. 30 secs- plank (up on your elbows, forearms, and toes and hold )

Repeat twice through.