Monthly Archives: February 2010

A Great Message From Nike

The other day I was working at my computer while half tuning in to a recap of the olympics. A commercial came on and captured my attention to the fullest. I like everything about this commercial, the song, the lyrics, the MESSAGE being sent to the viewer. I love how it shoots each athlete in many steps of practice (as we’ve all been there).

The ad is for Nike and the song  The Hours – “Ali In The Jungle” 
It says: 

“It’s, not, how you start, it’s how you finish.
And it’s, not, where you’re from, it’s where you’re at.
Everybody gets knocked down,
Everybody gets knocked down,
How quick are you gonna get up?!
Just how are you gonna get up?!”

Check it out for yourself. I hope it inspires you too as we can all relate with our own sport, goal or life journey! We train, practice, put blood, sweat and tears into something. We will stumble and probably even fall a time or two or three. But get back up! Keep training! Keep fighting for your goal no matter what the goal may be…because the internal REWARD when you achieve is BIG!

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The Airdyne Bike

Blizzard number two hit Baltimore today and has us trapped inside again. I thought since the airdyne bike in my bedroom was starring me down and begging for attention, I would post a quick thought about one of my favorite pieces of equipment for cardio/conditioning…

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Dear AIRDYNE BIKE, I love you for many reasons:

  1. It is a change of pace and movement from running and sprints
  2. It engages your upper body in the push/pull of the handle bars
  3. It’s easy to control the resistance… no dials necessary… the bike is designed to increase resistance as you pedal faster
  4. In addition to just cruising along, the bike can be used for insane, heart-throbbing, windsucking, leg pumping  interval training and conditioning 🙂
  5. And, you can use your creative side and utilize the handle bars for an upper body conditioning workout

I personally choose the airdyne bike at least 3 times a week for a conditioning challenge and often have my clients tackle the bike at the end of their training session for a big finish. The following are a few ways I like to mix up my airdyne work:

  • Moderate Interval Work: 3 minutes on the Airdyne Bike (Moderate intensity, RPM in the 60’s) followed by 2 minutes of jumping rope. 5 minutes per round, complete 4 rounds for a total of 20 minutes.
  • Complete a Timed Mile on the Airdyne bike in as little time as possible. (Goal time: under 3 minutes, 2:20 – 2:30 if you’re really pushing it!) Over time, after you’ve mastered one timed mile, try incorporating a rest period (pedalling mildly for recovery–about the same amount of time it took you to complete the first mile ie: 2:45) then begin timed mile number 2! Its brutal, but doable 😉
  • Moderate to Hard Intervals: 1 minute warm up, 1 interval round = 30 seconds hard pedalling (RPM’s above 80), 30 seconds easy pedaling (RPM’s 40’s or 50’s). Repeat 8 rounds and a 1 minute cool down for a total of 10 minutes.
  • High Intensity Intervals: Another interval scheme I enjoy is 10 seconds hard (and I mean HARD, RPM’s around 90’s or breaking the 100’s) 20 seconds for recovery. 30 seconds is one round, repeat 8 rounds for 4 minutes total. This is a Reverse Tabata. If you are at the intensity level you should be, 4 minutes will be all you need to feel smoked!
  • Upper Body Interval Training: Last, try the Airdyne bike in a non-traditional way–using your upper body. This is a great way to get conditioning while allowing your legs recovery. Check out the video below for an example.

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The above suggestions are by no means an exhaustive list of all the great things you can do with an Airdyne Bike. Try these, create others and let me know what you come up with! I’m always up for a new challenge !! 😉

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…now excuse me, I have a date with my Airdyne Bike.

Remembering a Close Friend and Mentor

I’d like to break from the trainer talk for a moment today and share with you all a piece of me that has shaped who I am today as a person and a trainer. A few years back, I decided to turn my passion for training into a career. I was very fortunate to become aligned with some amazing mentors within the industry who taught me things from philosophy, to programming, their knowledge from personal experiences, etc. The first to inspire me tremendously was Martin Rooney. A few months later, another very special person was a gifted to my life, Jason Hadeed.

Jason, 33 years young, lived in Montgomery County and was a very accomplished strength coach in the industry who owned Elite Athlete Training Systems (also known as E.A.T.S.). Outside of training, Jason’s Number One were his two little boys, Nik and Alex. Among many other hats he wore, Jason was an amazing man, father, trainer, mentor and friend.

Unfortunately, Jason was taken much too soon and I share him with you all today, because February 8th marks two years since his tragic and untimely death.

I met Jason mid summer of 2007 at the beach. It was early on in my training career and I was very impressed with him as both a person as well as his training resume. We had an instant connection and a very important friendship that grew quickly from it. Jason was both a mentor and close friend to me.

Anyone who knew Jason and who worked with him said the same positive things about him. He made significant differences in the lives he touched and was far more than just a trainer/coach to his athletes, he was a big brother, a friend and a role model/mentor. He held his guys and gals up to great standards. At the funeral service, they paralleled Jason to the candle light. Jason was a guiding light to many and his profession was to help people shine. That moved me and I took it upon myself to continue that piece of him. It has always been my passion and ambition to work with clients of athletic ability and to work with guys and gals of all ages who have “the want to” — regardless of their talent, they want to be in the session, they want to work hard each time to achieve better results, they want to push new limits to make themselves better in and out of the gym. I admired how far Jason had come in his career and I admired the positive effects he had on people. I promised myself that I would also strive to carry on his legacy for him and for me.

Jason taught me a lot in the first year of my career as a trainer. Although I only had his physical presence for a short 7 months, the many conversations shared and his gifts stay with me each day.

I believe Jason passed the torch. Not only to me, but to his employees at E.A.T.S, his boys, his athletes and anybody else who he made an impact on. He inspired me tremendously and continues to do so. I often think, man, if Jason could see me now and I’m confident he does.

I miss Jason very much and will continue to keep him in the heart of my training. Be sure to hug and kiss your loved ones if you are still reading this, for tomorrow is never promised.

I look forward to reconnecting with you in the next life J.

Hugs, Al

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Contrast Training – Upper Body Pull

Wow, here in Baltimore today we’re seeing winter at it’s finest. Just to give you all an idea, it is currently 17 degrees. It began snowing yesterday afternoon around 2pm and is forcasted to continue through this evening. We currently have 22 inches of snow and may see up to 30 inches! It’s the blizzard of 2010! Frankly, I could take or leave snow…I’m a beach girl 😉 but it’s white, calm and gorgeous out there this morning.

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As for training, it’s still deload week so perhaps for today’s activity, Nick and I will take advantage of mother nature and get out there for some snow shoveling, hiking around the city and maybe a snowball fight. We live in a pedestrian oriented town–should be a fun day!  If I’m feeling the extra urge to workout, we always have the airdyne bike at the house 😉 

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If you’d like to check out one of our more traditional lower body deload workouts, check out Nick’s blog post here. He lays out the entire circuit, time, rounds, etc.

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Lastly, to complete the Contrast Training series, below is an example of Contrast Training for an upper body PULL workout.

  • Chin ups (or pull ups) paired with speed rows using a JC Band. I would suggest about 8 seconds of band rows as fast as you can pull or a rep range of 8-12. (If 6-8 chin ups are easy for you, you can always add a weighted belt).

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Another exercise that I love to pair with Chin ups/Pull ups are explosive medicine ball slams. Check out Nick’s video example below starring John Rallo:

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Contrast Training – Upper Body Push

As I mentioned in my last post, our training group is starting to feel the cumulative effects of the past four weeks of hard training. This week is a deload week where we are taking a planned break from the hard training. In order to give our minds and bodies a break, we’re filling our sessions with light active recovery work–mild cardio, foam rolling, mobility drills, and light work when it comes to anything strength oriented. If you would like to read further about deload week, check out this article and the following link here written by Jim Wendler on EliteFTS.com.

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In the meantime, I will provide you with this! The last several posts have been lower body dominant. I have also promised to give you readers an upper body series for Contrast Training. The following video clip is an example of an upper body contrast set. It includes heavy dumbbell bench press followed by explosive push ups. These videos have been filmed at one of the FX Studio locations where I train clients. It’s an awesome private studio located in Silo Point in Baltimore City.

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The above video displays more of an advanced plyo push up. For those of you who are looking for a beginner or intermediate version, look no further 🙂

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More this week on Upper Body Contrast Training!