Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Friday the 26th & Sunday the 28th: Rope Work

I didn't have a lot of time to work out on Friday, so I just did some jump rope intervals. I knew that Saturday would be a busy day because I would be working on a service event that I had help organize, and I just wanted to do enough to get a good sweat going, which was why I chose to do some rope work. When push comes to shove, there is really no other form of exercise that can compare to jumping rope, especially when you consider that it can be done just about anywhere and with a minimal amount of equipment. One of the main reasons that I like to jump rope is that I rarely get bored with it. It requires enough concentration that time just seems to pass by quickly, and on the rare occasions that start feeling bored, all I need to do is change up the rhythm, speed, or pattern that I am jumping in order to refocus. Recently, I have been trying to skip rope about three times a week, and I have found that these workouts are always some of the sweatiest workouts of the week. At first I thought that jumping rope would be hard on my knees but that has not been the case thus far.

Here is a link to an article on the benefits of jumping rope.

Friday's Workout:

Jump Rope 15 intervals of 90 seconds of work and 15 seconds rest

Sunday Jump rope and Laps:

100 skips
1 lap around track (1 lap = 1/15 of a mile)
200 skips
2 laps
300 skips
3 laps
400 skips
4 laps
500 skips
5 laps

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weds. Sports Conditioning & Thurs. Plycore:

Ok. My Weds. & Thurs. classes were about the same as last week, so I will not give a breakdown of the exercises because you can see them elsewhere on this blog. So, I am going to make this post about the one thing that was different about these classes: the smell! It is unfortunate that there is a person in our classes who does not practice proper hygiene. I am not writing this to try to embarrass anyone (I doubt that anyone from my gym even knows that I keep this blog). I am writing because it is a real problem that has been going on for a while, and I am really not sure how much more I can take. I am usually the type of person, who likes to confront problems head on rather than leave things unspoken, but in this case, it just does not feel right. I just can't bring myself to go up to a person and tell them that they stink, and this person does in fact--stink. It is to the point that I have almost been nauseous. At first, I thought that the person might have some sort of medical condition, but as time has gone by, I am pretty sure that they are re-wearing gym clothes without washing them. I have noticed that the smell is worse on days that their clothes appear more wrinkled and nearly non-existent when the clothes look like they are fresh from the drawer. All of the regulars from the morning classes are aware of this problem, and we know to avoid the culprit. However the person often comes in late, and if class has started, you'll smell their presence before you know that they are there. We have complained to the gyms staff, but nothing has been done about it to my knowledge. I am really afraid that one day, I am just going to snap and say something. In fact, Thursday was almost that day.

Weds. class was bad, but it takes place in a open gym, so unless the person is right beside you, you are alright until you have to run the stairs! Once you hit the stairs, the smell is motivation to leave nothing in the tank and hit those stairs with a purpose. So Weds. passed for me with just a mild amount of aggravation because, I knew that it could be much worse, and much worse it got on Thursday! A large part of Plycore class takes place in a small aerobic studio, and the olfactory offender, true to form, came in late and took the spot right beside me. One of the first exercises we did were arm extensions. Honestly, the air was so ripe that I had to leave the class and exercise in the hallway outside the room. I felt sick for the rest of the class, and by the time we started running the stairs, I was in a nasty mood. I couldn't enjoy my workout, and I was so upset that following class I had to speak with one of the staff members. Personally, I need to be in these workout classes. They really help me push myself, but this person's lack of hygiene is pushing me. I hope that the staff will say something either directly to the person or to the class as a whole.

Here is an article about Gym Etiquette

Monday Sports Conditioning: 03/23

This sports conditioning class was really rough. It was taught by Kim, and Kim's classes are always demanding. I find them to be particularly challenging because she has us do a number of exercises that none of the other instructors at the Y use. She often has us do a lot of crawling or running with weights. Also, her classes will employ a good deal of jumping, burpees, and mt. climbers. Another reason why Kim's classes are challenging is because she has us due more reps or longer sets for each exercise. Her classes generally don't require much running, Byran and Dan both require much more. Overall her classes require much more strength and she seems to isolate muscles more. I enjoy taking her classes once or twice a month, but I don't think that I could handle doing them every week because there are too many of her exercises that make me feel like my body just isn't ready for at this time. Her classes a geared more towards people who are in good shape and are training for sporting events. Honestly, I am not in that category of people so taking her class once in a while is alright, but weekly would be a bad idea.

I am not going to bother writing a detailed account of the class because it has been so long ago that I couldn't recall everything. Most of the exercises were timed instead of rep counts. We did a lot work with weights: running, squats, and stairs, ect. There were a couple of exercises that I couldn't do, and did push ups instead. One of these was getting into a plank and climbing up the wall with your feet until you body is veritcal. I just couldn't do this because of the weight it would put on my shoulders.  It may seem like I am complaining about this class, but I am not.  It is just that this class shows me all the work that I still need to do inorder to get where I want to be. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Abbreviated Workout: 3/22/10 Wordrode Malfunction

Sunday's workout had to be cut short due to a Wordrode Malfunction.  No, this was nothing like Janet Jackson.  So please call off the FCC. I was having a very good run on the treadmill, but I had to stop running because the inner part of my leg was rubbing against my shorts the wrong way, and it was starting to get rubbed raw.  I thought about doing some other exercises, but I was having a pretty busy day, so I just cut it short.  Also, I knew that Kim would be teaching Sports Conditioning class the following day, and her classes are no joke, so I just decided to take it easy and call it a day.

The Workout:


5 mins 4.0
10 mins 7.0
5 mins 4.0

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Saturday Ride

Saturday was a really sunny wonderful day . . . and . . . I volunteered to help a co-worker with a program and spent nearly the whole day inside. Oh well! I had a good time, and it is always good to lend a hand, but it is just ironic that all of the some-what crappy days go by and I have nothing to do on the weekend, but the first sunny day, and I am stuck inside for most of it. However, after the program was over, my wife and I went on an 8 mile bike ride. I could have gone to the gym, but I needed to be outside. This was a nice little ride that was highlighted by an encounter with a small family of deer. We were riding near my office, which is adjacent to a 306 acre undeveloped woodland right in the heart of Raleigh that some people would like to see turned into a park. There are a few bike paths and a lightly travel rode with a nice sidewalk that a lot of employees jog on during lunch times during the work week. And, on the weekends the place is an absolutely perfect place for a ride or walk.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Friday Afternoon Workout: How Not to do Crunches!!

Friday Afternoon's workout was going well until I lost concentration and messed up my form on my abs. I didn't really hurt myself, but I felt enough discomfort that I chose to alter my workout, which was the smart thing to do. But, I should have been more careful in the first place. Like most people who workout, I focus on my abs (probably more than I should). America seems to have developed a fixation on abs. I am not sure when this developed, maybe it was John Smith's six pack abs that caused Pocahontas to fall in love with him and save his life or maybe Abraham Lincoln's lack of abdominal definition led South to think that the North wouldn't put up much of a fight, who knows? But, everyone seems to be fixated on flat abs, and crunches are an easy way to injure yourself if you're not careful. The biggest issue seems to be neck strain because people use or slip into an improper form and push their chins into there collar bone as they pull themselves up, which is exactly what I did while working out on last Friday. Luckily, realized what I was doing wrong and decided to alter my workout away from abs. Once I felt the pain in my neck and shoulders, I decided to do some thing else rather than attempting to correct my form. I figured at that point there was a pretty good chance that I would make the strain worse no matter how much my form improved.

The Workout:

Jump Rope 15 intervals of 90 seconds of work and 15 seconds rest

Intervals 90 seconds work 15 rest:

  1. Standard Crunches
  2. Crossover Crunch Left
  3. Crossover Crunch Right
  4. Bird Dogs
  5. Fire Hyrants
  6. Standard Crunches
  7. Crossover Crunch Left
  8. Crossover Crunch Right
  9. Bird Dogs
  10. Fire Hyrants

 Jump Rope 5 intervals of 90 seconds of work and 15 seconds rest

Monday, March 22, 2010

Thursday Plycore and a Bicycle Ride

The time change still had me a mess on Thursday.  Despite being on time for class, I just never felt as good this week as I did the week before.  The class was great and I enjoyed the workout, but I never got in sync.  This was another big running class, and it had an outside portion as well.  However, it was just a bit colder than last week, which wasn't any real problem after the first couple of laps.  In the Afternoon, my wife and I went for a bike ride along one of Raleigh's Greenways that runs near our apartment.  It runs from Meridith College to the NC Museum of Art, which is a really cool place to bike.  The entire course is paved and takes you over several good sized hills; the course is 5.8 miles round trip from my door and has a lot of cool sculptures (like the one above) built in to the course.  We couldn't have asked for a nicer day for this ride.  Now that the weather has started to improve and my wife has a bicycle, I know that I will be much more active in the evenings after work and on the weekends, so I am hopeful that I will really start to see the pounds fall off as the warmer months.  I can't think of a time since childhood where I have been looking forward to summer more.

The Workout:

4 laps around the Track
50 Push Ups
100 Crunches
100 Arm Extensions

2 laps around the outside of the bldg.
20 squat presses w/8lbs. dumbbells
2 flights of stairs Up & Down
2 laps around the outside of the bldg.
20 squat presses w/8lbs. dumbbells
15 push up on a flipped bosu
4 flights of stairs Up & Down
2 laps around the outside of the bldg. 
20 squat presses w/8lbs. dumbbells

15 push up on a flipped bosu
20 lunges (each leg) w/8lbs. dumbbells
6 flights of stairs Up & Down
2 laps around the bldg.

PM 5.8 Mile Bicycle Ride

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weds. Sports Conditioning Class

Monday’s 12 days of Christmas workout really wore me out, so I was forced to take Tuesday off. Wednesday's Sports Conditioning class was better than last week's, but really last week's was just a mess, so the bar was pretty low. I enjoyed the class, but I just felt out of sorts throughout the whole class. The time change has played havoc with my internal clock and mad waking up for the morning class more difficult. This class starts at 6am, and I would normally get up around 4:15, so that I would feel awake by the time class began, but this morning I woke up at 5:25, which was enough time to get there but, made things more rushed than I would have liked. There were no major changes to the class from what we have been doing, so I am not going to bother with the details of the workout, since they can be found in my older posts.

Another reason why I didn't feel good about this class was all of the rep skipping that was going on, which really shouldn't bother me but does. It just sucks to be the very last person to finish what you are doing, but I just hate skipping reps. I understand someone skipping an exercise if it is something that is causing pain or you just can't do, but skipping reps to stay with the pack doesn't help a person get stronger. Personally, I would rather push myself; so that someday I can reach the point where I can do everything the instructor gives us to do. Another reason why I think it bothers me is that it makes for a lonely class. I mean part of the reason that I go to the classes is the social component. I can work out around people anytime at the gym, but I take classes because I want to be part of the group and to socialize, which is difficult thing when you are the only person still working on a task and everyone else is across the gym seeming staring at you. They may even be admiring your tenacity (at least that is what I hope they are doing), but it doesn't really matter because you're still, and now the difficulty of the task is coupled with your natural desire to be part of the group. Personally, I feel that having the internal strength to resist the temptation to skip reps to stay with the group is more important than having the strength in my arms to do twenty pushups. It is this mental strength that will keep me going to the gym when the scales are not being kind, and it is that strength that will keep pushing me to get up at 4am.  However, sometimes this class make me feel like I would just be better off running alone in a desert. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Sports Conditioning: 12 Days of Christmas

Today's sports conditioning class was merciless.  There is no other way to put it!  this was the best workout that I have done since I began this blog.  In fact, I still feel tired from it.  Bryan was our instructor today, and every so often he will have us do what he call the 12 Days of Christmas and trust me, each of these "days" brings the gift of pain.  This workout is just done just like you would sing the song, and by the time you get to the 12th day your just glad that it is over with, sort of like how I have felt every single time that I have been force to sing that song!

1) The Grand Tour (two flight of stairs up & down + a lap around the track and a run down the hallway)
2) Running the white lines (run in the shape of a 5 and do side scuffles for the Horizontal lines)
3) Squat Jumps
4) Dips
5) Eight Count Burpees (hands to the ground, plank, spread feet out, Bring feet back together, push up, stand up, Jump)
6) Crunches
7) Leg Raises on a bench (each leg)
8) Push Ups
9) Squats
10) Mt. Climbers
11) Bunny Hops (small jumps like skipping rope without the rope)
12 Juping Jacks

The 11th & 12th rounds were beyond painful. I was the only one still attempting to complete all 12 rounds by this point. Everyone else had either completed the workout or given up and joind the others for a streach. The thought of stopping never entered my mind. I finished 5 mins after class had ended, which is good considering the last time I did this workout I finished at least a full 15 mins after class. Also, I know that I pushed myself much harder this time. There were a couple of times around days 8 & 9, while I was doing the burpees or after climbing the stairs where I felt kind of bad, but I never tought that I was pushing too hard. However, the bicycle ride home from the gym was not plesant, nor was the one from home to work, and I am fairly certian that the one home from work will not be either. Reguardless of the biking difficulties this workout may cause, I enjoyed this class a great deal, and I am really proud of the effort level that I put into it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

An Exercise Junky Finds the Good Shit!

Well, I am not sure what got into me today but I really wanted to sweat today. And sweat I did!!! Not only was my shirt soak, but by about half way through my workout my shorts were starting to get heavy from the sweat that they has absorbed. Today's workout felt good mentally as well as physically. I was able to get to a place where my mind was really focused on what I was doing. In fact, by the last third of my workout time just seemed to pass with an exhilarating ease. I think that this kind of high is only felt by true junkies. Your drug doesn't matter; this is the type of high that all true junky seek. Yes, I admit that I am a addict, but I content with my addiction right now. And considering how many years I was addicted to Cheezits and CNN Headline News (Hey, I know that just sad, but it could have been HSN!), I think that there may be some major benefits to my current drug!



Today's workout:

Warm Up: 1 mile Bicycle ride to gym

1st Intervals: Jump Rope 90 seconds work / 15 seconds rest for 15 rounds

2nd Intervals: 90 seconds work / 15 seconds rest

  1. Burpee into a prisoner squat w/high knees
  2. Fire Hydrants w/leg extension
  3. Standard Crunches
  4. Oblique Crunches w/leg raises (left)
  5. Oblique Crunches w/leg raises (right)
  6. Burpee into a prisoner squat w/high knees
  7. Fire Hydrants w/leg extension
  8. Bicycles
  9. Crossover Crunch Left
  10. Crossover Crunch Right
  11. Burpee into a prisoner squat w/high knees
  12. Bird Dogs
  13. Standard Crunch Crossover Crunch Left
  14. Crossover Crunch Right

3rd Intervals: 90 seconds work / 15 seconds rest

  1. Jump Rope
  2. Burpee into a prisoner squat w/high knees
  3. Jump Rope
  4. Prisoner squat w/high knees
  5. Jump Rope
  6. Fire Hydrants w/leg extension
  7. Jump Rope
  8. Standard Crunches
  9. Jump Rope
  10. Oblique Crunches w/leg raises (left)
  11. Jump Rope
  12. Oblique Crunches w/leg raises (right)
  13. Jump Rope

Cool Down: 1 mile Bicycle ride from gym

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturady's Workout: The Mechanics of Change

Yesterday was an off day, so I felt a little sluggishness when I began my workout, but it quickly went away, and I had a really good workout. I feel a stronger and more sturdy in general, and when I workout, I can tell that a workout that would have left me gasping for air a few months ago is now nothing more than normal exercise. I still sweat a ton, but I have to work much harder to hit the point of exhaustion. These changes are particularly noticeable when I run on the treadmill. My wife says that she can hear a difference in the way my stride sounds on the treadmill. She says that I sound a lot lighter than before. Also, I have noticed that I feel like my pace has picked up throughout my life. In fact the hallway at work has begun to seem a lot shorter to me than it once did, and I feel like I am carrying me weight in my shoulders more than before. My weight all used to be centered right in my belly, but I really think that my center of gravity has shifted towards my shoulders. All of these changes are welcome, and I want to see this progress continue over the coming months because I know that I am on the cusp of major turning point in my life, and I need to make myself into the person that I have always really wanted to be. It is hard to look at yourself in the mirror everyday and think that this is not suppose to be the person looking back at me. I am not just talking about appearance but attitude and mental outlooks as well. In earlier posts, I've written about how I am not a type-A personality person, and I am not, nor will I ever be one, but I am also not the type of person who is comfortable doing nothing and letting life just pass them by. I am too aware that life is fleeting, and I don't want to waste another second on something like a Road Rules Marathon or an episode of Survivor!

Today's Workout:

Tread Mill 30 mins: 5mins level 4.0, 10 mins. level 6.0, 5 mins level 4.0, 5 mins. level 6.0, 5 mins level 7.0

Intervals: 90seconds work 15 seconds rest
  1. Crossover Crunch Left
  2. Crossover Crunch Right
  3. Standard Crunch
  4. Bird Dogs
  5. Prisoner Squats w/leg ups
  6. Crossover Crunch Left
  7. Crossover Crunch Right
  8. Standard Crunch
  9. Bird Dogs
  10. Prisoner Squats w/leg ups
  11. Crossover Crunch Left
  12. Crossover Crunch Right
  13. Standard Crunch
  14. Bird Dogs
  15. Prisoner Squats w/leg ups

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nat'l Run Day III, Out Running Myself: Thursday Plycore

Yes, this class qualifies as another National Run Day. But, more importantly, this class marks a very significant change for me. When I started taking these morning classes, the first class that I took was a Thursday Plycore class. It was mid-September and still warm, so Dan was having us run our laps outside around the building. I remember by the second warm up lap I was so winded that I was walking part of the way. At the time, I felt kind of in shock about my poor conditioning because I had been working out for a while and could see an improvement from where I had been at the beginning of the summer. But, on that morning in September, as I tried to force my feet to move it struck me just how far I had to go if I really wanted to get healthy.

Since that day, I have attended nearly every week day morning class while continuing to work out on the weekends. I have noticed a huge improvement in body as the weather has gotten bad and we move our workouts inside. It has been easy to put that first class out of my mind, but yesterday the weather was nice in the morning, and Dan had us run outside for the first time in about four months. As we started our first lap around the building, I wasn't thinking about that first morning at all. I had settled into my normal position towards the back of the group, but I was keeping up. However, I started to think about that first morning as I ran up the little hillside that begins each lap. I could feel my pace beginning to pick up as I approached the spot where I had to start walking on that first morning. Something in me was not content to just keep walking. I had to open up my gate and leave that person behind. I felt good as I picked up speed and soon I noticed that I was passing my classmates one by one. By the time we entered the building again I was leading the class. But, I didn't care because frankly, in my mind there were only two people running out there: me and the guy that showed up to that class six months ago. Honestly, the rest of this workout was pretty unimportant. I couldn't maintain my pass and my classmates passed me, but I never stopped. I ran around that building six more times and never stopped.

The Workout:

2 laps around the building
20 Clean and Jerks 8 lbs dumbbells (10 each arm)
20 push ups
5 Squat Jumps
4 flights of stairs (up and down)
5 chin ups
sprints/butt kicks/ high knees up the hill


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Weds. Sports Conditioning: Day of the Jackass!

This class was train wreck from start to finish. Honestly, I have nothing good to say about it.

Normally, I enjoy Weds. morning's Sports Conditioning class. However this weeks class was one the worst classes that I have taken at the Y. First, there were just too many people in the class to start with, and a lot of those people were more interested in their own conversations than the instructors directions. This led to the having to repeat herself over and over, which she loathes to do, which also led other class members to get confused about what was a new instruction and a repeat causing more problems. On a personal level, all of the constant yelling across the gym really had me out of sorts and unable to focus making each exercise more difficult because I was unable to just shut my mind off and let my body take over. Then just as class seemed to be getting a little better, in walks two guys with four teenage boys wanting to practice basketball on the courts that we use for the class. We only had about 10 mins. left of class and we told him that the courts would be open afterwards, but instead of waiting, he decides to start complaining to the instructor that the class is not on the schedule (which it is). When the instructor told him so, he only insisted more that it wasn't. Then instead of waiting for the now 7 mins. of class to end, he gets the the rest of his group together and start doing drills in the middle of the gym that we are using for class. Now as you can imagine, this went over like a Lead balloon and plunged the class into a state of disarray. To make matters worse the guy was a frickin' board member along with being a complete tool, so the staff didn't really do much.

The workout itself was much like last weeks class, so I will not try to describe it. Frankly, I just want to forget about it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tuesday's Good Weather Workout Diversification!

 Oh -- Man! I have no idea what it is about this winter, but I am so glad to see it starting to fade away. We at long last hit 70 degrees here in Raleigh. Normally, cold weather doesn't bother me at all, but for some reason, it has gotten under my skin this year. I can't wait for the sun to come out so that I can get outside. Now, for anyone who doesn't know me all that well, I am a bicycle freak! I love to ride my bike and take it to work anytime that the weather will allow, and I use it as my main mode of transport. However, my wife has been afraid to ride here in America. She is afraid of how fast the cars go, which I can understand. But, I am happy to say that on Monday, she bought a new bike, so I now have a riding partner and can share with her something that I truly enjoy.

I ride a Simple by Giant, which I have modified for more street riding: new handle bars, metal pedals, re-enforced rear rim. I've swapped out so much of it that the bike's name is Frankenbike! I is a single speed with balloon tires and only has a coaster break, which means that I get a really good workout whenever I ride and that my bike is virtually theft proof because no one wants it! So, as the weather begins to get better, I will be adding more rides in to my workout regime. My wife and I took our first one yesterday, and I can't explain how happy it made me. But before I get all weepy over the joy of biking, I should write about my morning workout class.

Yesterday morning Dan offered a special 30 min Plycore class, which I decided to attend. The class was much more focused than our regular plycore classes and used more weights. It was a nice change of pace. I have been seeking a class on Tuesday morning that would appeal to me, but the Y's current offering for Tuesday morning is just not my cup of tea. Dan won't do this every week but I will try to attend whenever he does.

Tuesday Morning's Class:

4 Laps around the track (the track is 1/15th of a mile)

20 Lunges (each leg) with 10lbs weights
20 Squats w/ 10lbs. weights
walk around the room with weights

3 sets of 5 chin ups
3 sets of 10 box jumps

This was a pretty short class, but it was a nice little workout and what I needed after National Run Day on Monday. After work, my wife and I went on a 5 mile ride through the streets of Raleigh. I used USATF's Route Mapper to measure the distance after I got home.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mon. Sports Conditioning: Nat'l Run Day II

Bryan was Monday's instructor and the class was once again a run fest. I am not going to try to describe the various exercises that we did because there were just too many and some were timed while others were counted, so it would really be too much effort. Basically, the class began with a really good warm up, which I enjoyed because Bryan is by far the best instructor at the Y for the quality of his warm ups. The other instructors either don't take enough time or just don't combine stretching and warm up exercises. After the warm up, we did about 40 mins. of runs, some sprints, some drills, and laps and stair. There were other exercisers like pushups and dips interspersed between these runs, but the ratio was at least 3:1. Following the running segment of class, we did some kickboxing drills for about 10 mins. and a cool down.

Overall, I like Bryan's class because it forces me to do things that are more geared for smaller more agile people, and when you are 6 foot something and closer to three bills than two, agile is not a word that is often used to describe you neither are nimble or quick. In fact ,the words you hear are lumbering or bulky But, this class really forces me to use my motor skills and make a lot of controlled movements, which is just something that is not a part of my other classes. Also, Bryan's class is offers a good balance of drills, running, and exercise. However, it does not change very much from one week to the next, so I am glad that it is not offered more than once or twice a week, so that I can use it as a change of pace.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunday's Workout: Burpee Hell Day!

Sunday came around and I felt like A MILLON BUCKS! Honestly, the sun was shining, the robins had returned, and I just felt awesome. The last three days had been pretty rough, but my energy level seemed to finally be right back where I needed it, and I was really looking forward to going to the gym. The only problem was that I didn't know what I wanted to do. I've been mired in a weight loss poll of stagnation for the better part of February, which really had me disappointed after Saturday's half-assed mediocre effort. I knew that I really wanted to put in some good work and really make this a hard workout. Well, I think that there is only one thing to do when you feel like you want to just give yourself an ass kicker workout: BURPEES!
God knows I hate burpees. I mean really, who likes to do burpees? Only someone who enjoyed paper cuts or the guy that actually enjoyed being stuck on the runway with Jet Blue for 24 hours could really find any pleasure in burpees. In fact, the first time that I had to do them for my exercise classes I almost renamed them "pukees"!! But . . . if you really want to improve your stamina burpees are the way to go.
However, when I got to the gym on Sunday, I noticed that the Redwings were playing the Blackhawks, and just for the sake of anyone who doesn't know me, I am a hockey nut! I'll watch just about any two teams play. I am not a fan of either of these teams, but I just couldn't pass up the chance to watch the game, so I decided to run on the treadmill while I watched the game then move on to the rest of my workout. I think that this was a wise choice on my part because by the time I got the burpees, I was already in peak workout mode and well past warmed up. Going straight into burpees is always harsh, but running seemed to make them easier (at least to start with).
The Workout:
Treadmill 30 mins: 5mins. Level 4, 10mins. Level 6, 5 mins. level 4, 5 mins. level 6, 2 mins. level 7, 3 mins. level 6

Intervals: 90 seconds work 15 seconds rest

  1. Burpees with leg ups
  2. Prisoner squats with leg ups
  3. Fire Hydrants with leg extensions
  4. Burpees with leg ups
  5. Prisoner squats with leg ups
  6. Fire Hydrants with leg extensions
  7. Burpees with leg ups
  8. Prisoner squats with leg ups
  9. Fire Hydrants with leg extensions
  10. Burpees with leg ups
  11. Prisoner squats with leg ups
  12. Fire Hydrants with leg extensions
  13. Burpees with leg ups
  14. Prisoner squats with leg ups
  15. Fire Hydrants with leg extensions

After this I was a sweaty mess and I felt like my lungs were going to bailout of my chest!!! Great Workout!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Outsmart Your Brain Article & Saturday's Postage Due Workout

Yep . . . I must admit that Saturday's workout was nowhere near my best effort. In fact, I need to call the check with the Postal Service and see what I owe them because this one was pretty much mailed in. There is no denying it. I was just not feeling it at all. I was still sore and had a lot things planned for the day, so I just did enough to feel like I had done something and left it at that. I don't feel bad about it either. It is ok to take it easy on days when you feel out of sorts in order to avoid injury and to regain energy for the days ahead. Anyway, since Saturday’s workout was rather uneventful, I figured that I would make this post more interesting by sharing an article from Esquire (Yes. . . I am a subscriber, and you should be too.), which is one of my favorite magazines to peruse on a monthly basis. I'll put all the workout info in after I talk about the article.

What I really liked about this article is that it reflected exactly how I feel about dieting, which is that that strict diets are a trap because eventually you’re going to come off the diet and then . . . well you're screwed. That is not to say that people shouldn't watch what they eat. I am all for people eating more healthy foods and avoiding over eating. My basic point is that if you drastically alter the way you eat isn't beneficial and instead people are better served by making long term minor modifications to how they approach eating rather than jumping headlong into whatever fad diet book is atop the NY Times best seller list. One of the things that I like about his article is that it provides simple scientific explanations of how hunger works and some good ways to deal with it. Specifically it talks about how almonds act as a hunger suppressant: "The good fats that nuts contain cause your stomach to suppress ghrelin production, but it takes about half an hour for them to kick in. Note: Peanuts aren't actually nuts, and they contain a lot of saturated ("bad") fats. Stick with something that grows on a tree. (Esquire)" I must admit that the whole peanuts--bad--thing had always confused me and led me to think that all nuts were bad. Now, I am sure that those salted and sweetened nuts that I always see in the stores that look so tasty are certainly not what the article is talking about, so I will be sticking with some plain old unsalted almonds.
I thought that this article was pretty relevant to where I am with my weight loss goals because I am trying to make healthy changes to the way that I eat. I want to scale back my eating a bit, but I am more interested in ways to improve my diet with healthy alternatives to things that I know that I should eat regularly. Also, I found the tips for dealing with the physiological sensation of hunger relevant because I know that often my stomach will be telling me that I am hungry when I am not. So, the ideas that the Esquire gives for dealing with hunger are great.

Outsmart Your Brain

Satuday's Mailed in Workout:

Round Two: 60 seconds work 10 seconds rest

  1. Crossover Crunch Left
  2. Crossover Crunch Right
  3. Standard Crunch
  4. Bird Dogs
  5. Fire Hydrants w/ leg extension
  6. Crossover Crunch Left
  7. Crossover Crunch Right
  8. Standard Crunch
  9. Bird Dogs
  10. Fire Hydrants w/ leg extension
  11. Crossover Crunch Left
  12. Crossover Crunch Right
  13. Standard Crunch
  14. Bird Dogs
  15. Fire Hydrants w/ leg extension

Round Two: 60 seconds work 10 seconds rest

  1. Standing Tricep extensions
  2. STANDING SIDE BENDS 35 lbs. weights (right)
  3. STANDING SIDE BENDS 35 lbs. weights (left)
  4. Alternating Kickbacks 12 lbs weights
  5. Overhead Press 12 lbs weights
  6. Alternating Bicep Curls 12 lb. weights
  7. Standing Tricep extensions
  8. STANDING SIDE BENDS 35 lbs. weights (right)
  9. STANDING SIDE BENDS 35 lbs. weights (left)
  10. Alternating Kickbacks 12 lbs weights
  11. Overhead Press 12 lbs weights
  12. Alternating Bicep Curls 12 lb. weights

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Firday Circuit Class

This class was not all that difficult.  Mainly because I was still wiped out from the last few days.  This was mainly my fault.  I could have worked harder, but I was just doing go to make it to the gym.  I know that it is going to take me a few days to get back up to full speed.  I have gotten pretty sore around my shins and my feet are a bit swollen as well.  this is pretty much due to the pounding from the jump rope and stairs, but I went to a Hockey game on Thursday night and had to keep legs in an awkward position for a long time.  My shins always feel really sore for a few days after I sit like that.  The same thing happens on airplanes as well.

Anyway, For Holly's 6:15 Circuit class she gave us 30 exercies, and we did each one for 60 seconds.   No repeats.  Below is a list of all of the ones that I can recall.  After that we did a few Jump squats (just what my shins needed).  Over all this was a good workout because I really just wanted to put in some work but not overly tax my body.

The Workout

  1. burpees
  2. Jumping over a small box
  3. dips
  4. jumping jacks
  5. push ups
  6. Push ups w/weight raises 8lb.
  7. overhead press with 8lb. weights
  8. tic-toc leg raises
  9. Side Jumps over an exercise mat
  10. Bird Dogs
  11. planks
  12. ski mobiles
  13. jumping lunges
  14. squats
  15. bridge hamstring curl on stability ball
  16. roman chair
  17. ball touches
  18. Sculler sit up
  19. Heel raises
  20. Cross over Mt. Climbers

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hitting the Wall!

Well, I seem to have pushed myself to the point where my body has figured that it know what is best for me. After Wednesday’s Sports Conditioning Class, I felt wiped out, but I was looking forward to Thursday's Plycore class. However, after work I felt rundown and low on energy. Around 9:30pm I just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and went to bed. My wife has just started a new position at job, so she was beat as well, and we decided to call it a night early. I slept really heavy, but around 3am I got up to go to the restroom. I felt pretty good when I woke up and actually thought about just staying up until it was time to go to class, but I figured that another hour sleep would sort me out and went back to sleep. I woke up with my first alarm, but figured that I would wait and get up when my next alarm went off. Now, I remember turning off the next alarm because it is hard to find the of button on it . . . but unfortunately my last alarm was the clock that is the least difficult to turn, which means that sometime I can turn it off without really being awake, and that is just what I did. So, I woke up 10 mins. before Plycore started! I wasn't even that upset because I knew that I was just too tired to go, and I knew that if I forced myself to go to the gym that I would just hurt myself.

Going into Wednesday, I knew that I was getting rundown, but I wanted to try to push myself this week and try to do both Thursday and Friday's classes. As much as I am working out, I need to get better at listening to what my body is telling me and avoid an injury that might cause me a major setback. Luckily, these classes are so early that I oversleep when I hit the wall and that helps to prevent me from getting to the point of injury in the gym. However, I need to heed the warning signs of fatigue and not let myself get to this point. Now, I am glad that I was smart enough to not even attempt to go to the gym after I overslept, and this is a step in the write direction, but I really need to avoid the workout wall.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Weds. Sports Conditioning Class: Paid in Full

I am going to take a different approach with my description of this class instead of trying to describe each exercise I will mainly highlight the differences from last week’s class. Unfortunately, our instructor doesn't write down her routines for us, and we do so many different exercises that it is too difficult to keep track exactly what we are doing. So this week the main difference was that we were using dumbbells throughout the class: arm exercises, abs, lunges, squats, step ups, ect. I decided to use 12 lbs. weights, which were not as bad as I thought they were going to be. Of course I spent most of the class trying to keep up with everyone else. Trailing so far behind the classes is pretty discouraging, but I know that I am still completing the whole class.

Each week as the class is about to end our instructor will begin to tell people that if they need to leave she will give them an IOU for the rest of the workout. I pride myself on the fact that I finish my class even if it means that I stay later (unless I have to go to work early). Today, after the class was over she was cleaning up while I was still finishing up, and she asked me if I was sure that I didn't want to take that IOU and that she had really low interest rates. I told her that I am more of the pay as you go type of guy. The last thing that we had to do was 10 Burpees, which were pretty tough, but finishing with something difficult provided me with a real sense of accomplishment. The instructor was talking with a classmate when I finished the last one, so I walked past them as I was leaving the gym, looked at her and said, "Paid in full!" Okay . . . I know pretty dorky, but at the time it felt cool, and I'll take that.
Overall, I am feeling pretty worn down but my plan is to keep going until Saturday. I really want to go to the Friday morning class, and I think that I can handle that class because it does not require any running, but I will really be in need of a day off from the gym by then, so it may end up that I take Friday off.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday Morning Sweat Fest!

I got up this morning and felt like The Six Million Dollar Man after the crash and before the bionic implants! Unfortunately, as I struggled to get out of bed, I knew that there wouldn't be any bionic implants for me. Heck, I knew that I wasn't even going to get a kickass orange track suit with little sensor thingies on it!!! (Yes, I admit that when I put my i-pod on my arm band and run on the treadmill, I sometimes pretend that I am Col. Steve Austin) Hey, what can I say . . . I am a product of the '70's and . . . Damn I used to go ape-shit for The Six Million Dollar Man . . . I even had the toy (it was not a Doll . . . damn it!).

Anyway, let's just say that this morning was one of those mornings where it is best not to move around too fast too quickly. In fact, I actually tooks a few moments to test out each of my limbs just to make sure that the were actually functioning proplerly before I tried to nagotiate the shower. It took one of my legs awhile to get use to the idea that it was suppose to hold weight, but it eventually came around about the time that I sneezed and my abs nearly exploded. Eventually, once I was able to get myself sorted, I checked on the weather a realized that the rain hadn't started yet, so I would be able to make it to the gym if I wanted to go. Now, I am not exactly sure what it says about me, but I did really . . . really . . . really want to go! Granted, it did take me a lot longer to get ready get there than it did on Monday, but there was no doubt in my mind that I was going. I wasn't sure what I was going to do when I got there, and the idea of swimming did cross my mind for a fleeting second before it was replace be the thought of drowning! I have been known to swim as part of my workout, but I a pretty sure that today it would have been a very bad idea!  So when I arrived, I decided that I would do some jump rope and some intervals. 

Today's Workout:

Jump Rope: 15 rounds of  90 sec. skipping 15sec. rest.

Intervals: 60sec. work 15sec. rest
  1. Hamstring Curls w/stability ball
  2. Oblique Crunches W/leg Raises (Left)
  3. Oblique Crunches W/leg Raises (Right)
  4. Alternating Lateral Rows w/Resistance Band
  5. Alternating Front Raises w/Resistance Bands
  6. Hamstring Curls w/stability ball
  7. Oblique Crunches W/leg Raises (Left)
  8. Oblique Crunches W/leg Raises (Right)
  9. Alternating Lateral Rows w/Resistance Band
  10. Alternating Front Raises w/Resistance Bands
  11. Hamstring Curls w/stability ball
  12. Oblique Crunches W/leg Raises (Left)
  13. Oblique Crunches W/leg Raises (Right)
  14. Alternating Lateral Rows w/Resistance Band
  15. Alternating Front Raises w/Resistance Bands

 I looked like someone had thrown me into a pool with all of my clothes on when I fininshed this workout.  I am not sure if all of the sweat was due to the two-a-day on Monday or the rope work, but I was one big old sweaty mess when I finished.  Overall, I felt pretty good.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Madness of March Starts With a Two-a-Day!!!

Yes, boys a girls I drug my sorry ass self back to the gym in order to punish myself some more. Actually, I have come up with the idea that I should do a two-a-day the day before an off day. I am still kicking the notion around. However, I am not sure if I will be able to go to the gym tomorrow. They are calling for rain and my wife needs our car in the morning, so I will be on the bicycle again, so I won't make it in the morning if the rain is heavy, and I am reluctant to do a big workout in the evening and then go to Wed. morning’s Atonement class. We'll see how things play out in the morning.
I'll be honest; this morning’s workout CRUSHED me! I was actually having sharp pains in my head when I would stand up too quickly most of the morning. I am not bragging about this at all!! It wasn't scary. I just knew that I had over done it a bit this morning. I felt better by the afternoon, but I was still very tired when I arrived at the gym and wasn’t sure how much I would be able to do, but once I began working out I hit my stride pretty quick and was able to put in a pretty good workout. I am realizing that I have a lot more in the tank that I think I do, and I just need to learn how to tap into it.

Afternoon Workout:

For my afternoon workout I decided to go with intervals. 15One min. intervals with fifteen seconds rest in between. I did three rounds:

 Round 1:

  1. Crossover Crunch Left
  2. Crossover Crunch Right
  3. Standard Crunch
  4. Bird Dogs
  5. Fire Hydrants w/ leg extension
  6. Crossover Crunch Left
  7. Crossover Crunch Right
  8. Standard Crunch
  9. Bird Dogs
  10. Fire Hydrants w/ leg extension
  11. Crossover Crunch Left
  12. Crossover Crunch Right
  13. Standard Crunch
  14. Bird Dogs
  15. Fire Hydrants w/ leg extension

Round 2:
  1. Alternating Bicep Curls w/10lbs. weights
  2. Prisoner Squats w/leg ups
  3. Alternating lunges w/10lbs. weights
  4. Squats w/10lbs. weights
  5. Alternating Bicep Curls w/resistance bands
  6. Alternating Bicep Curls w/10lbs. weights
  7. Prisoner Squats w/leg ups
  8. Alternating lunges w/10lbs. weights
  9. Squats w/10lbs. weights
  10. Alternating Bicep Curls w/resistance bands
  11. Alternating Bicep Curls w/10lbs. weights
  12. Prisoner Squats w/leg ups
  13. Alternating lunges w/10lbs. weights
  14. Squats w/10lbs. weights
  15. Alternating Bicep Curls w/resistance bands
 Round 3:
Interval run: 1 min. Run 15 sec. jogging X15

March: A Month Long Descent Into Workout Madness!

If this mornings Plycore class is any indication, this month promises to be grueling, which is exactly what I need and want. However, it is still disheartening to find yourself laying on the floor writhing in a pool of your own sweat at 6:45am on a Monday morning even if you know that it is good for you. I feel like I did a good job in February, but I know that I could have done more in my classes. I don't want to push myself to the point of injury, but I intend to try to reshape my limits. Today's Plycore class fit exactly into that game plan because it focused upon the very type of exercises with which I know I struggle. There was a lot of running, stairs, and up and down exercises. Also, there were very few stationary exercises where I can catch my breath a bit while still progressing through the workout. So, I was not shocked to find myself at the very tail end of the class as I began my last round (everyone else having already either finished or skipped ahead to the ab portion of the class). I could have skipped ahead to the ab part as well, but I knew that I could do abs after class and that I would be better served by finishing what I was doing even if I was dead last and alone. Actually, finishing these workouts becomes a point of pride with me, which is why I really enjoy a harsh group workout. But I would be disingenuous if I didn't say that it bugs the absolute shit out me irritates me to be the last person to finish nearly every single class. I keep telling myself that if I can drop another 10lbs. I will begin to see improvement . . . just another 10lbs!!! I know that dropping those 10 lbs is not going to vault me to the ahead of the class, but I know that I will make it at least a little bit easier.

So, March is here at last, and I begin it laying on the floor in pool of my own sweat, totally out of breath, and hardly capable of the most simplistic of utterances after my first class of the month. Well, I guess that by starting out the month on the floor I really have only two options: I can either continue to lay there or I get up dust myself off, clean up the pool of sweat that I've left on the floor and move on. Personally, I can't abide laying on the floor feeling like crap for being last, which is why I plan to make today a two-a-day!

Warm up: Rode My Bicycle 1 Mile to the Gym

Today's Plycore Class:

High Knees (width of two basketball courts)
Side Shuffles Right (length of half a basketball courts)
Butt Kicks (width of two basketball courts)
Side Shuffles Left (length of half a basketball courts)
Sprint (width of two basketball courts)
10 Box Jumps
10 Push Ups
5 Jump Squats
10 Side Arm Pushups (Each Arm)
20 Squats
20 Arm Extensions
6 Flights of Stairs (up & down)
5 Pull Ups (assisted)
5 Burpees
5 Military Pushups* (Pushup, Mt. Climber, Pushup, Mt. Climber, Pushup)

*there are lots of things called Military Pushups, but this is how we do them in Plycore Class.

After class I did a few abs, but could not stay long because I needed to go to work.

25 Crossover Crunch Left
25 Crossover Crunch Right
25 Standard Crunch
25 Oblique Crunches W/leg Raises (Left)
25 Oblique Crunches W/leg Raises (Right)

Cool Down: Rode My Bike 1 Mile Home From the Gym