Monthly Archives: September 2009

“Rest Week” in Maui

I’m back! If my blog has appeared to be stagnant recently, that is simply because I was away in Maui last week. Nick was invited to educate the fitness staff at the Ritz Carlton on ‘Self Myofacial Release’, ‘Joint Mobility’ and ‘The Truth About the Core.’ I on the other hand, was fortunate enough to be his partner in crime! To say the very least, Maui met my expectations as the most incredible place to visit.

Prior to traveling to Maui, as you may have been following, I have been hitting the training hard for my November Figure show. This past week in Maui was coordinated well for my “rest” week to recover and rebuild. In Maui, they have a term called Polynesian paralysis – it is a well used term to collectively explain the ultimate relaxation that sets in on the island.

Despite the Polynesian paralysis, I didn’t sit around and turn into complete mush! My rest week still included moderate activity. Rather than two workouts per day (a cardio session and strength training & conditioning session), I kept my workouts to one per day in the morning. I mixed it up each day because although we had a gym, equipment was limited. I brought my trusty jump rope, ran a good bit and performed some body weight circuits which included chin ups, push ups and squat jumps to name a few. Enough work to stay active, break a sweat and maintain a little pump.

I am back now and training hard again. I feel good and refreshed! I have about 6 weeks remaining to train and still a good bit of work to accomplish! I will be turning up the heat a bit… stay tuned 🙂

Coming Soon!

I want to clarify the “high intensity” titles in my previous posts. If it gives any false impressions to you readers, I titled the “high intensity” series as such because it is highly intense on our nervous system between the heavy load, low rep ranges and the anaerobic bursts for conditioning. However, there are two other schemes that we work into my undulating training cycle and they are by no means “moderate or low intensity.” Everything we do is high intensity when it comes to effort and output. What you will see in the upcoming posts will display my training & conditioning on mid-rep range days as well as my high rep workouts. Stay tuned, those are coming soon!

Thank you all for following this blog and my training thus far. I appreciate all of your posts, questions, support and interest!

Want a Chiseled Physique? SPRINT!

Let’s talk about sprinting!! This is the last component to my “high intensity workouts.” As I mentioned previously, we always hit the pavement for sprints on my heavy leg days. We do this because they are explosive, anaerobic, great for EPOC and fat loss plus so many other great benefits.

There is a GREAT article on sprint intervals and the science behind them, the benefits of doing them and ‘how to’ by Loki on bodybuilding.com which can be found here. The article is titled, “Sprinting: The Purest, Most Powerful, Physique-Shaper in an Athlete’s Arsenal.” I think that is a Bad A$$ title and I couldn’t agree more! Check out the article, they do a fantastic job covering all bases on why sprinting is killer for your system and a must in physique training.

So! Back to my sprint workout on Tuesday which consisted of :

  • Eight max-effort sprints, roughly 50- 55 yards, followed by four max-effort sprints for roughly 35-40 yards. (We measured the distance with steps / eyeballing and then marked the “track” with cones).
  • My goal was to accomplish the 50 yard sprint under 8 seconds, which I completed each one between 7.0 and 7.6 seconds (yes, even my 8th sprint).
  • The shorter sprints took me between 5.2 and 5.4 seconds to complete.
  • We aimed for a 1:8 ratio of work to rest. I walked back to the start line each time between sprints and started again when I was feeling about 80% recovered and able to breathe normal again.

 

Check out the sprint article on bodybuilding.com and if you’re not sprinting as part of your conditioning, I highly suggest you start incorporating them. Take a look at the physique of an Olympic sprinter, when was the last time you saw one who wasn’t chiseled??

Strength Training Split, High Intensity, Part III

I thought it would be appropriate if I gave you the next segment of my high intensity training since my hamstrings are screaming at me today.

Tuesday’s are a lower body day and out of our undulating series, yesterday was a heavy day. This is the complementary workout to my upper body heavy day (1A). Workout 1B, like Workout 1A, has only a few exercises but we get our volume in multiple sets. In fact, we only did three strength exercises plus conditioning at the end.

I began my training with an Active Dynamic Warmup — this is crucial preparation for getting the most out of your workout. A dynamic warm up should be designed to increase your body temperature, fire up the CNS, activate muscles, increase mobility, prevent injury and several other benefits. I will get into this topic in a future post.

My workout yesterday went as followed:

Bulgarian Split Squat:

  • 1 body weight warm up set (6-8 reps per leg)
  • 1 light weight warm up set (6-8 reps per leg)
  • 5 sets x 6 reps per leg

(Note: I wore a weight vest during my heavy sets because my leg strength out performs my grip strength. The extra 20 pound weight vest allows me to really challenge my legs beyond my grip capabilities.)

We superset the Bulgarian Split Squats with the Glute Ham Raise, a fantastic exercise for the posterior chain.

  • 1 warm up set (with simply body weight) performing 8 reps
  • 4 heavy sets holding a dumbbell at my chest, 6 reps per set

(Note: If the added weight becomes to heavy thoughout the set, you can lower the weight to your belly button or lose it completely.)

Rest: we took about 60-90 seconds of rest between each set which allowed almost three minutes of recovery between the same exercises.

 

 

Our conditioning segment was an anaerobic, high intensity, sprint workout which I will post very soon. After conditioning, we came back to the gym floor and finished with two sets of weighted calf raises.

So there you have it. The complementary workout to Upper Body Heavy Day. Check back soon for our high intensity sprint workout, it’s one of my favorites!

Saturday Workouts, Vanity Day

I know some of you are patiently waiting to see the complementary workout to 1A, which would be 1B: Heavy Leg Day, that is coming this week! Today I wanted to share with you Saturday workouts, also known as Vanity Days.

Four days out of the week we train hard. My program is split into Monday/Thursday – upper body, Tuesday/Friday -lower body. My fifth day of strength training is what we like to call a Vanity Day. Vanity days, although lower intensity, are no day at the spa! We focus on isolating the smaller muscle groups, as we call them, the vanity muscles or ones that look good on the beach!

We do this because during the week, we can’t fit every little thing into the program due to restricted time. We may hit these muscle groups a bit towards the end of a training session, but we use Saturdays to give them special attention.

Yesterday’s vanity workout took about an hour.

How to:I performed FOUR rounds of FIVE exercises in a circuit form followed by moderate cardio.

The Circuit: Work periods were 40 seconds with 20 seconds to rest/transition (one round takes 5 minutes).

The Exercise Choices (in order) for the Circuit:

  1. Dumbbell Shoulder Raise (lateral or front)
  2. Dumbbell Bicep Curls
  3. Reverse Skull Crushers (Not your average supine skull crusher, I will post a video clip of this soon).
  4. Landmine Anti Torso Rotation
  5. Weighted Calf Raises

Cardio: Immediately after the circuit, I performed rounds of jump rope paired with running. Jumping rope is a great additional way to hit the calves and shoulders more.

  • One round included two minutes of jumping rope followed by three minutes running on the treadmill at a moderate pace. Perform eight consecutive five minute rounds for a total of 40 minutes.

The above workout is of course subject to change and can be tailored toward your training needs and goals (but you get the picture!!) Feel free to supplement the exercises or cardio with your own creativity for a vanity workout!

Choices

I just want to comment on the fact that it’s not always easy to stick to a diet. If it was easy, everyone would do it. It takes a strong mind, commitment, prioritizing and desire. We must look beyond that moment of instant taste gratification or convenience and keep focus on the bigger picture, our goal.

Although I knew this before, I was reminded of that the night Nick and I were at the Kings of Leon concert (great show by the way!!) To put it mildly, I was very hungry at the concert and failed to bring any snacks. The only choices available were beer, pit beef sandwiches and a few others which were not on my diet friendly list–hmm, imagine that.

For a moment, and just a moment, I felt slightly annoyed about my diet restrictions. I quickly got my mind right, reminded myself of the bigger picture and figured I had two choices: 1. To give in to my hunger and annoyance with the less than acceptable food choices for training and getting lean, or 2. To choose to suck it up, hold out for my protein shake and stay the course.

The decision was simple and obvious but it’s not always easy on the follow through. It’s a mental game. As I got into the show, my hunger was soon forgotten. What lasted however, was the feeling of having faced a moment and choosing not to cave. It sounds so minor, but it’s a pretty empowering feeling when we get through those moments, big or small.

We meet these choices frequently throughout our everyday, no matter what our training goal and drive. We also meet these moments to persevere on the gym floor when we’re pushing through the last set and we feel like we have nothing left. It’s a matter of choosing to conquer each obstacle one at a time whether it’s a diet choice or a training effort.

Our mind will give in before our body does. Check back tomorrow for more on mental toughness…this is what separates the successful and eliete from the rest!

Strength Training Split, High Intensity, Part II

One of the most important components of physique training, aside from building muscle and symmetry, is getting LEAN! The more lean we are, the better we’re going to show off our hard work and beautiful muscle development. This too can be said for any male or female who wants to achieve that more “cut”, “toned” and athletic look.

Conditioning, as you know or will soon learn, is one of my favorite components to my training sessions. On our high intensity strength days, we limit conditioning to 8 minutes max. I will reveal conditioning for leg days in another post. What you will find below is part II (conditioning) for our upper body strength days, a push/pull tabata interval using bands.

This four minute tabata was created by Nick and requires an all out effort. We work for 20 seconds coupled with 10 seconds of rest. The tabata goes as follows:

  • Alternate band push (left foot forward), alternate band pull (left foot forward). That is one minute.
  • Alternate band push (right foot forward), alternate band pull (right foot forward). That is another minute.
  • Repeat that same sequence for a total of four minutes. If you give full effort, with the appropriate band resistance, it’s sure to finish you off!