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Working out with my wife

May 30th, 2010 · No Comments

Recently my wife and I have started a workout routine together….The Beach Body product slim in 6 review. Now I am sure you are chuckling and wondering how working out with my wife can actually be more beneficial than working out with the guys…beyond the obvious reason that she is better to look at working out than some sweaty guy. The truth is it works and works very well for me. http://it.garciniacambogiagcomplex.com/

First, it gets us both on the same page with our diets. We go shopping together and share input on our weekly meal plans. This is just huge in my opinion. Second, she pushes me in areas that guys usually miss. So while she doesn’t scream at me to push out that last rep, she does push me to stretch more and is rather blunt when my form is slipping during the slim in 6 routines. This is good for me. http://it.dermicos.net/

The third reason and the biggest…we are doing something that we enjoy together. I would say that it makes work outs easier. So I recommend working out with your wife…the benefits are quite impressive. http://it.skinetrin.eu/

On to the “slim in 6″ breakdown of the last week. Debbie Siebers definitely has developed a full body work out that will make you sweat. The process goes for six weeks and has incrementally longer workouts as you get in better shape. It also includes a 14 minute stretching routine and 11 minute ab buster routine. We moved up to the second phase, Ramp it up, on our sixth day of the routine and the benefits are noticeable on both of us. In week one, assuming we measured in the same places, my wife lost a total of 3.75″ and I lost 4″. Ideally, my biggest loss was in the waist/hip region were I lost 3″ and not in my arms or chest….so the workout and associated diet don’t appear to be costing my upper body mass. I have added post workout creatine to my diet and added two heavy upper body workouts in during the week, but so far so good. http://magnetstrong.it/

Don’t be afraid to workout with your wife….the results may surprise you. http://it.magnetstrong.com/

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May 17th, 2010 · No Comments

I have been in sports, exercising, and weight training since I was about 6….or basically my whole life. That said I should know the importance of stretching. Well I have been drastically slacking in the that area for some time…like a few years. I have been doing some basic stretches for about 2 minutes and then getting at it. Today I decided to change that a little. So my wife joined me and we did the stretching portion of the “slim in 6″ beach body video. Guess what….I was actually embarrassed how tight I have become. I actually did a monster full body work out today that was easier than the stretching afterwords.

So hear my warning..stretch :) The longer the better.

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Split workouts or whole body workouts….What to do?

April 21st, 2010 · No Comments

The answer for this question really is another question. What are your physical fitness goals? Do you want to grace the covers of muscle and fitness with bodybuilders, teach aerobic classes, sign up for that Cancun swimsuit contest, or just be able to play a tennis match without dying? So the answer does lie with your goals.

There are tons of different theories and philosophies surrounding this subject and each is right when applied to your goals. If you fitness goal is to run a half marathon….then heavy split routines isn’t the best route. If you really want to beef up and add massive amounts of strength and mass then splits are the way to go.

Let’s look at some basics;

Endocrine response-Modern sports science has shown the more muscle mass one uses in a training session, the greater the endocrine response. So from there the issue is basically common sense. By doing a split routine the athlete is isolating muscle groups and reducing overall muscle exercises (therefore reducing muscle uses, HGH, testosterone, and fat burning ability). Now this may be good for an athlete trying to purely build mass, but very few work out enthusiasts I know are looking to purely increase mass. Most are instead looking for a complete toned body. So then full body workouts are more efficient due to the ability of working out increased muscle mass while increasing the release of endorphins.

Bones and joints-Often split workouts are accompanied by heavy movements (squats, bench press, etc) and isolation exercises. While these isolation exercises are good for a final burn out of a muscle group, they are poor for bone and joint strength (and very injury prone if done incorrectly). Early weightlifters inadvertently discovered that by focusing more on heavy weights and fuller body work outs led to greater mass gain through out the whole body while also shortening work out times (2 hour marathons at the gym have always been my pet peeve…..I really feel something is wrong if a work out takes more than 45-60 minutes….we aren’t world class athletes).

Functionality-When was the last time you picked up a child toy, planted your feet firmly underneath you , and then proceeded to raise the toy up to the child while holding your arm straight and extended to the side? I would assume not often…that is another issue with split work outs. They include isolation exercises more focused on body symmetry than real world applications. I say toss out the isolation exercises. If you want to get big…go heavy with complex body movements like squats, bench press, etc. If you want to tone…do the same exercises, but lighter with increased reps….once again remember your goals.

Strength-It is well known that if you want to get stronger….go heavy. Do isolation exercises include “heavy”? Very rarely since that really isn’t the purpose of isolation exercises.

After all that…in my opinion there are two types of athletes working out regularly;

  1. Body builders and power lifters-These guys are looking for massive increases in strength and mass. They will lose weight starting 4-6 weeks before an event, but most of the time they carry around a gut (needed for calories). The also tend to have physical therapists, sport nutritionists, personal trainers, and the big one….sponsors to cover their bills. In other words…a small percentage of people in a gym
  2. People who want to be in shape (most men, woman, athletes, runners, models)-These people want to reduce body weight while increasing tone and fitness. For the most part they hold no desire to be huge, just fit and maybe a partial six pack. This much larger groups needs a different work out than #1, but tend to read articles written for the #1 group thinking it is for them……well they could be better served by a whole body work out.

So let’s look at what a work out would look like for each group, better yet let’s skip group #1 since they have trainers, doctors, and sponsors looking after them and hit group #2;

Day1- 36-54 minutes

  1. Bench press-10-15 reps
  2. crunches-15-20reps
  3. Bicep curls-10-15 reps
  4. Squats–10-15 reps
  5. Push ups-15-20 (body weight only)
  6. Lunges-10-15 (body weight only)
  7. Go through this routine in order 2-3 times with mid-heavy weights. You want to use a weight that you will be maxing out and burning once you get into the 10-15 rep range.

Day 2- 60 minutes

  1. cycling-A nice 20-30 minute high speed work out
  2. Yoga, Pilates, etc-An exercise routine more focused on increasing lean muscle mass and flexibility

Day 3-42-63 minutes

  1. Military Press-10-15reps
  2. Leg lifts-Use a leg lift exercise you like…there are many and great for the abs
  3. Tricep Hammers-10-15 reps
  4. Calf rises-10-15 reps
  5. Seated punch (hold weights in a boxer stance and alternate punches out)-15-20 reps
  6. Back extensions-10-15 reps
  7. Jumping side lunges (body weight only)
  8. Go through this routine in order 2-3 times with mid-heavy weights. You want to use a weight that you will be maxing out and burning once you get into the 10-15 rep range.

Day 4-60 minutes

  1. Running-Ideal 30 minute run or jog
  2. Yoga or stretching exercise

Day 5-48-72 minutes

  1. Lateral pull downs-10-15 reps
  2. Standing trap rises-10-15 reps
  3. Bicycle drill (1 minute)
  4. Hamstring extension-10-15 reps per side
  5. Seated row-10-15 reps
  6. Shoulder shrugs-10-15 reps
  7. Side to side crunches-20-30reps
  8. Clean lift and jerk-10-15 reps
  9. Go through this routine in order 2-3 times with mid-heavy weights. You want to use a weight that you will be maxing out and burning once you get into the 10-15 rep range.

Day 6-50-70 minutes

  1. Aerobics, Zumba, PX90-40-50 minutes
  2. Stretching

Day 7-Rest

As this routine represents….as the cycle progresses the work outs get longer. There is also sufficient time between body part work outs for rejuvenation and rest for specific body parts. The key being that in each workout there is an upper body, mid-body, and lower body piece ensuring a full body work out. While at the same time switching exercises to focus on certain muscle groups.

Remember….the choice between split work outs and whole body workouts is YOUR goal.

Blog Collector

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Want high intensity, but lack the time?

April 16th, 2010 · No Comments

Lately I have been a little busier on the work front and that translates to less time working out. Add to that what appears to be an overall plateau in overall health fitness (I have been gaining strength, but also gaining weight) and I think it is time for a change.

So this week I switched things up by dropping the weight workouts and focusing purely on jogging and free body weight workouts. This week my work outs are staggered like this;

Start with a 1.2 mile jog. Luckily for me, I live on a dead street with what appears to be the perfect grade for a strenuous jog. The road has a vary consistent 5% grade through out its 1600 foot length. So I start at the top and run down hill for 1600 feet and then start the climb back to the top….doing the loop twice in the 5 mph category (my knees really start to ache going any faster).

Immediately once I am done with my jogging circuit…I switch to my free body weight circuit which goes as follows;

5 (per leg) single knees rises on a step-I am tall, so I use the third step which is basically 27″ above the ground. I plant one foot on the third step and the other on the ground. I then proceed to use the one leg and rise so that both feet are on the third step and then return the lower foot back to the ground. This is great for core (keeping balance), strength (rising my body mass with one leg 27″), and stretching.

15 incline push ups-I go into a traditional push-up stance with my hands on the second step (working chest muscles at a different angle) and pump them out. I can always switch which step I use (or not at all) to get a different angle on the pectoral muscles.

10 tricep deeps-Hand placement depends on your height. I use the third step and place my hands behind me on the step. My legs and feet hang off the step in a sitting type of pose, but are not to be used. I like this exercise because you can instantly feel the workout in the triceps and also get some shoulder, lat, and back movement.

10 (per leg) standing crunches-I refer to this as the “head lock to knee” movement. Standing straight up with legs slightly wider than my shoulders and arms up I bring one leg cross body and up  (higher than waist) while bringing the opposite elbow down to my knee. This is great for core in so many ways.

10(per leg) lunges-I place one foot one the second step and one behind me on the ground. I then proceed to drop my body (watch over extending you knees) down so that my upper leg is in a very deep position and then use that leg to rise up out of the lunge.

I go through the free bodyweight workout circuit three times without breaks between exercises. The total workout is usually done in 30 minutes and I feel it when I am done.


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In the market for a treadmill?

February 10th, 2010 · No Comments

What makes a great treadmill? It all depends on how you plan on using it. Some people like running, others like just plain walking and jogging, and others are looking for walking up extreme grades. The choice is up to as each offers different exercise benefits. In our house the treadmill routines tend to be walking to a fast jog with grade changes. So that helps us define what categories to look at when shopping for a treadmill, but we also have to give consideration that I am 6’4″ and 265 pounds….so the treadmill has to be able to accommodate my stride and size. I found some of the following at ProForm.com which I feel is a good list of things to consider when purchasing a new treadmill, whether Proform or another brand.

* If you are a runner or larger, look for a treadmill that has at least a 2.5 CHP motor.
* If you are tall or a runner, look for a deck length of at least a 55 x 20 inch deck.
* A treadmill that goes 10 MPH is adequate unless you are training for a marathons or wind sprints.
* The cushioning on your machine is important based on your workout style.
* If you focused purely on walking save money and buy a treadmill with a 1.75 to 2.0 CHP motor.
* If you plan to walk, a deck size of 50 x 16 inches will work fine, but I still recommend the larger deck.

Look for a treadmill with the following if you are over 225 lbs:

* A treadmill that has at least a 3.0 motor.
* Durable and quiet treadbelts. Specifically look for a minimum 2-ply treadbelt.
* High quality cushioning is key to limiting joint and back pain.

What features to consider;

o Built in TV
o Ability to plug an iPod/MP3 into the deck with high quality speakers
o Workout programs designed by personal trainers
o Workout fans to keep you cool
o Heart rate monitors to provide quick and accurate readings.
o Designed to reduce storage space
o High resolution displays to track your workout statistics
o Online fitness resources to enhance your training

I do lean towards the Proform treadmills as shown at  ProForm.com. Proform is a brand of Icon Fitness, which is the world leader in fitness equipment sales, but for years as been associated with budget treadmills and lower quality as compared to high end products. The Proform 2010 model class has shown a deviation from this thinking as they have increased motor power, treadmill sizes, while only increasing prices modestly. Compare the 2010 class to competitors and you will see that you can have a significant savings while enjoying the same treadmill specifications….to which you can add all the Proform brand benefits such as Ifit, online forums and health materials, and of course Jillian Michaels.

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Meal plans

February 8th, 2010 · No Comments

I know…..meal plans! To a man that means no more pizza, wings, nachos, and a severe reduction in beer consumption. A torture, I feel, most men will rank right up with going to the opera or missing the super bowl. The reality is that once we reach a certain age…..a good daily diet has to become a priority. I am not saying that all of our favorite bar food has to disappear, but we do need to eat better.

So now I bring up eating better…..visions of brown rice and boiled vegetables fill my head and my stomach grumbles rather loudly and similar to a bothered grizzly bear. So in my quest for better food that is low in calories, fat, and filled with important nutrients I came across the healthy recipe list at the Mayo Clinic. The recipe list is well laid out, includes a lot of surprising “man foods”, and overall the recipes appear quick and easy (sure to make the chef of the house happy).

Saturday evening, before I went out for my weekend job of being a door man, I tried the first recipe which was quick, easy, and well received by almost all four members of the household. The recipe was basically a vegetable pizza. The recipe is baked french bread covered with diced asparagus, red peppers, diced tomatoes, minced garlic, a little pizza sauce, topped with low-fat mozzarella cheese. At first I was slightly apprehensive…but it was very good and contained minimal fat and only 250 calories per serving which are pretty big. I had three servings…I know a lot….but having a vegetable filled pizza, finishing stuffed, and knowing that I had only consumed 750 calories for a dinner (compared to say a big mac meal that has a 1,350 calories)…priceless.

Of course Sunday was the Super Bowl and that basically was a horrible eating day…..but for the rest of the week I have what is appearing to be a very tasty meal plan to make up for one night of debauchery.

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Morning Work Outs

February 4th, 2010 · No Comments

I read in a health magazine that working out in the morning was the best time for a work out for the following reasons:

1-Your body has been burning calories all night and when you work out in the morning you continue this burn while your body is already calorie depleted
2-The endorphin rush will help you through out the day be in a better mood and more productive
3-Morning work outs help reduce stress through out the day
4-You have an abundance of free energy to help work out harder and longer

So this morning I started working out around 8 after the kids left for school and my wife had already done her work out. Today was a chest work out and I switched things up. Since the bow-flex is very versatile, I combined two exercises into one set. The basic set was like this;

1-Alternate punches with 50 lbs of resistance with one movement of each arm counting as one rep
2-Immediately followed by as many bench presses I could do with 210 lbs of resistance

I did this four times. The key being the punches. What I did was sit in a manner were my back wasn’t on the backrest of my machine, but I was still sitting. While this took lower body motion (from the hips down) out of the exercise I still had to focus on keeping my core tight to support the exercise. This exercise really combined a chest movement, an ab movement, and a shoulder work out. I will add that I really felt this workout deep in my chest, in my obliques, and shoulders.

I followed those exercises with three sets of chest flys, sitting biceps curls, and bent over concentration curls.

I followed my weight work out with a 1.75 mile run on the Proform 745 CS treadmill in 22 minutes. I was a little bit slower than I want, but I am still fighting a nagging pain in my hip area that I definitely don’t want to aggravate.

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Alternative Work Outs

February 1st, 2010 · No Comments

I hear often that boredom is the hardest factor in working out at home. Doing the same exercises week after week while looking at the wall across from the exercise equipment can get boring. I will also add, which I am guilty of, that looking at the aerobics instructor teaching her class while exercising at the gym keeps things interesting…..but working out at home offers alternative work outs.

This weekend we had another snow storm that has basically shut down everything. In my true northern blood form, I went out and started shoveling Friday evening, then again Saturday, and finished up today. So after shoveling I got curious and decided to research the exercise ramifications of shoveling. I visited the fitday site and plugged in “shoveling by hand”. It was then brought to my attention that a male fitting my categories burns 514 calories an hour snow shoveling by hand. So I then did an hour breakdown of my work;

Friday-75 minutes of shoveling
Saturday-75 minutes of shoveling
Monday-150 minutes of shoveling

For a total of 300 minutes of shoveling or 5 hours at a whooping 514 calories per hour….or a total of 2570 calories. That is a serious full body work out that probably cannot be recreated by any piece of equipment at a home or gym. Through in the added benefits of being outside, the occasional break to throw snowballs at the kids, and a happy wife……this is a work out that we all need to remember.

So next time it snows….don’t just start up the plow or snow blower. Grab a shovel and turn a choir into an alternative work out!

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Balancing Act

January 28th, 2010 · No Comments

I am a professional land surveyor which can be a very rigorous job. It is not uncommon to throw a 50 pound backpack on and hike for an hour up a 2000-2500 high mountain. What I have had a hard time doing is combining a physically hard days work with a routine during the evening.

How much is too much? Am I working out too much between the two activities to negate the health benefits? What I have done recently when working out in the field is a two step process. The first step is to identify the workout I achieved at work. Say just a plain hike is good for cardio, but not that great for the muscles. Then some days are clearing line by swinging a machete repeatedly for 8 hours…which is overall a better workout.

Today was a good day of just hiking. While it wasn’t an hour hike, it was constant walking up and down a 70-80 foot hillside for 3 hours. So when I came home I knew that I was good on cardio for the day….so I focused on the weights only. Step two-matching the right work out techniques to match my days work.

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Good Chest Workout with Lighter Weights

January 27th, 2010 · No Comments

Currently in my home gym I have my Bowflex Xtreme and my treadmill. While I love the Bowflex, my strength has surpassed the resistance bands that came with the equipment initially (I will have to order some upgraded bands soon). So the last few weeks while working my chest my workout consisted of-

Bench Press-8 Sets of 20 reps with 210 total pounds of resistance (could have done more, but got bored)

Chest Flys-3 sets 0f 15 reps with 90 pounds of resistance on each side (good isolation exercise, but not good for increased size)

Then 50-100 traditional push ups (I love push ups, but get bored counting the carpet fibers as I go up and down)

Which I felt wasn’t really doing the job. So today I am changing it up….So instead of doing just sets of vanilla bench pressing….I am including three different bench press angles into each set (easy to do with a bowflex…very hard to do with a straight bar). So without stopping I start with a traditional bench press, then switch to a declined bench press, and finished off with inclined press.

So Set one looked like this-210 pounds of resistance


10-Decline bench press

10-Incline bench press

I was able to complete that sequence three times. For the fourth set and on I reduced my reps by two for each exercise until I was completely burned.

Then I went into finish up with flys for some solid isolation exercise and a biceps workout. I think that switching up like this would be effective with equipment that works like dumb bells (a bowflex for example) or with dumbbells themselves. Where as trying this with a straight bar and bench means changing the configuration of the equipment a lot while losing the momentum from doing the exercises back to back with no break.

So what chest workout secrets are you hiding in your home gym?

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