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Sunday, January 29, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 4 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This was Week Four of Four in the New Rules' "Break-In" Phase. The Break-In point is where baseline strength standards will supposedly be established. Since this is one of the lighter parts of the year, I added in Doberman Dan's 31 Days to Bigger Arms arm workouts.

Monday went well! I finally got up to 1 "plate" per side on the deadlift (135lbs) for 15 reps. I bumped up weights pretty much everywhere else as well, so I had a good day.

Wednesday marked my last "A" workout for this phase. I maintained weight on the squat, but I'm not too sad about it since I maintained a new weight from the last workout (a weight that took a LONG time to get to). I maintained pretty much everything else as well, but had a solid workout.

Friday was the last workout for this phase! 10 more lbs on the deadlift, and progress everywhere! Great way to finish out the Break-In phase.

Nutrition:

Not my best week for nutrition - I binged almost every single night this week. Although my calorie counts were above the line, I ate mostly healthy until I hit this weekend and pigged out on junk food. I'm not proud of the pigging, but I did keep everything in check more than I normally would.


Running/HIIT:

I did a bit of running in the Vibrams this week to see how they felt. No milage whatsoever, but I did get a feel for running in them - a little rougher than running in regular shoes, but I felt good in them! 


Mobility WOD:

Still not keeping up with these... I have had a bunch of random expenses crop up, and I need to purchase some basic equipment to continue through the MWOD workouts. So I'll have to jump back on after I weather this storm.

That's all for Week 4, just 48 more to go!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 3 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:


This was Week Three of Four in the New Rules' "Break-In" Phase. The Break-In point is where baseline strength standards will supposedly be established. Since this is one of the lighter parts of the year, I'm adding in Doberman Dan's 31 Days to Bigger Arms arm workouts.

Monday went alright. I maintained weights at the levels from the previous workout, and only moved up in added weight on the crunch. I also moved up in the Bigger Arms weights too.

Wednesday went MUCH better. I bumped up weight on almost all of the lifts (the exception to this was the one-arm DB shoulder press, which I just removed a counter-balancing weight). In the "Bigger Arms" workouts, Wednesdays are the heavy days, which usually is less fun. I couldn't get my hands on an ez bar, so I had to do those standing curls and lying skullcrushers with a straight bar (which is definitely not fun for my wrists).

Friday was the first awesome day for the "A" workout in a while - I finally broke 95lbs on the squat! I also moved up weight on all of the other exercises, which was exciting.


Nutrition:


This week went surprisingly well on the nutrition front. I kept my main numbers in check, and only binged on Sunday for 250 extra calories!




Running/HIIT:

Nope!


Mobility WOD:



Still not keeping up with these... I have had a bunch of random expenses crop up, and I need to purchase some basic equipment to continue through the MWOD workouts. So I'll have to jump back on after I weather this storm.

That's all for Week 3, just 49 more to go!


ps: I know this post is way late, sorry for the wait!

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK on Welfare in America

Heard this quote being discussed on TV today:

"Whenever the government provides opportunities and privileges for white people and rich people they call it ‘subsidies.’ When they do it for Negro and poor people they call it ‘welfare.’ The fact is that everybody in this country lives on welfare. Suburbia was built with federally subsidized credit. And highways that take our white brothers out to the suburbs were built with federally subsidized money to the tune of ninety percent. Everybody is on welfare in this country. The problem is that we all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free enterprise capitalism for the poor. That’s the problem."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr

On MLK Day everyone likes to align alongside Dr. King's ideals, but the truth is that he held beliefs that cannot be casually endorsed by everyone - particularly politicians. It's always funny to see major political figures dance around honoring Dr. King's memory while avoiding many of the beliefs that contributed to his accomplishments.

So that quote is food for thought on Martin Luther King Day, and I hope everyone reading this had a great day - hopefully by making it a day on, not a day off.

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 2 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:


This was Week Two of Four in the New Rules' "Break-In" Phase. This is the point where baseline strength standards will supposedly be established. Since this is one of the lighter parts of the year, I'm adding in Doberman Dan's 31 Days to Bigger Arms arm workouts.

Monday was a lot of fun. I added weight to everything I did, including moving from 95 lbs to 105 lbs on the deadlift (2 x 15). I also moved up in the Bigger Arms weights too.

Wednesday was not as much fun, although it did bring progress. This time around I managed to Squat 95 lbs at 2 x 15 again, and also bumped up weight on the Static Lunge, DB Row, and Swiss-Ball Crunch.

Friday was another solid weightlifting session. I bumped up ten more pounds on the deadlift without any issues, and moved up weight on the shoulder press and lat pulldown as well. During this session I met a new trainer at my home gym, who does a lot of Martial Arts and Crossfit work. I would LOVE to train with this dude sometime, but it will probably have to wait until after the completion of the NROL program.


Nutrition:


Nutrition went better this week. I improved my protein intake and again only binged twice on my net calories. I noticed a pattern for my binges based on the Loseit! data for the first two weeks. I tend to binge once a week for about 250 extra calories, and then a second time for about 750 extra calories.



Running/HIIT:


Again, no Running or HIIT for me. However, I did get to do some more walking in my Vibrams, which will help my feet acclimate quicker.



Mobility WOD:


I kinda fell off the bandwagon in Mobility this week. I did 3 sessions in one day on Sunday (not wise, but alright), and one more on Monday. However, I forgot to purchase the necessary supplies that KStarr told us to get! So I'm officially "that guy" until I get some supplies. On a more positive note, KStarr posted a new video for the first time in a while, which is great!



* I just returned to TCU, so it will be interesting to see how I can accommodate for great health in my typically busy schedule. I expect a small, short dip in progress, but we'll see.


That's all for Week 2, just 50 more to go!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Habit Change


Nick Crocker - Floss the Teeth You Want To Keep from Steven Dean on Vimeo.


I've been checking out some stuff on changing habits recently, and I've realized that changing one's habits is probably the best way to change your life for the better. What are the keys to habit change? Well Nick Crocker said it more accurately and in more detail above, but I've seen that sustainable, successful habit changes have two key qualities: they are gradual and small.

Gradual = occurring over a period of time. Nick suggests 6 weeks because while a habit takes about 21 days to form, 6 weeks gives you a few shots at it.

Small = Easily accomplished. Gunning it from 0-60 is a key weakness of many people's attempts at habit change. Small changes stick - just look at Nick's flossing example. So start small.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Is Yoga Dangerous?

I've seen a few posts over the past week or so raising concerns about the safety of yoga practices. I'm not a yoga practitioner, and I've really only experienced yoga in a few isolated gym class embarrassments. Here's a basic rundown, free of Chicken Little-esque screams about yoga equaling death:

  • Like most physical activities, performing yoga poses with poor form leads to injury. Duh.
  • The most injury-inducing yoga poses seem to be inversions (poses that flip the body upside-down, like the headstand or the plow pose) or poses requiring extreme spinal mobility (extreme ROM bridges, etc).
  • Hot yoga (Bikram, Forrest, Power, TriBalance, etc) can lead to tissue damage by making it easier to push past the body's natural stretch limits.
  • Many yogis (yoga practitioners) let their egos push them to dangerous zones that their bodies can't accommodate.
  • Yoga has been fundamentally changed from a meditative/spiritual practice with body poses to a body pose practice with meditation/spirituality - Western yoga practices are rarely anything like the esteemed traditions they owe heritage to.
So, yogis, feel free to carry on - but with a few caveats. You must respect your body's limits, you must seek to learn about yoga's long tradition, and you must keep your ego in check. And please avoid aversions and unnatural-feeling poses, especially when held for long periods of time.

###

Sources:

NY Times: How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body
Scott Sonnon: That's Not Your Yoga!
Wikipedia: Hot Yoga

Saturday, January 7, 2012

52 Weeks of Fitness: Week 1 Recap

For the year of 2012, I have made a yearlong commitment to better fitness and health that will change my life forever. The way I see it, I've been "talking the talk" for way too long - it's about time I start walking. The plan is to use workouts from The New Rules of Lifting, gradually start eating better, run (either HIIT or for distance) on off-days, and do Kelly Starrett's Mobility WOD Project  Workouts. Here's how I fared this week:

Lifting:

This Week One of Four in the New Rules' "Break-In" Phase. This is the point where baseline strength standards will supposedly be established. Since this is one of the lighter parts of the year, I'm adding in Doberman Dan's 31 Days to Bigger Arms arm workouts.

Monday was a great workout: Squat 2 x 15 @ 95 lbs, then Static Lunge sets alternated with one-arm DB rows, then pushups alternated with swiss ball crunches. Arms workout: Standing alternating DB curl, 3 x 12 @ 15 lbs, then supersetted with Seated overhead DB Tricep Ext 3 x 12 @ 25 lbs.

Wednesday was also fun: Deadlift 2 x 15 @ 95 lbs, then step-ups alternated with DB one-arm shoulder presses, then close-grip lat pulldowns alternated with reverse crunches. Arms workout: Standing EZ Bar Curl 3 x 6 @ 50 lbs, then Lying EZ Bar Skullcrusher 3 x 6 @ 50 lbs.

Friday, however, was a bummer: Repeat of Monday's workout, but I had to work squats at the end due to an occupied squat rack. I'm convinced that this compromised my strength and energy - attempted but only got 4-5 reps at 105 lbs, then couldn't get a full set at 95 lbs either. I finished out with a set at 70 lbs and moved on to my arms stuff. Arms workout: EZ Bar Preacher Curl 3 x 8 @ 40 lbs, then Cable Tricep Ext 3 x 8 @ 42.5 lbs. I'm stoked to see what Monday brings in the weight room.


Nutrition:

According to the "Lose It!" app for iPhone, my daily calorie budget is 2,321 calories. I was solidly under this number all week except for Thursday. However, the nutrition number I've been really working on all week is the amount of protein I'm taking in. The protein-intake guidelines vary by who you ask, but for gaining muscle the basic idea is to take in 1 to 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight (FYI, I'm currently sitting at around 138 lbs). According to "Lose It!" I have improved that number this week, with my lowest number being 82.3 g and my highest number being 157 g.

Running/HIIT:

I didn't do a single second of it this week. Not disappointing, probably a good sign actually. Why? Because the whole idea here is to create changes in my lifestyle that will stick. Going 0-60 in all areas of health will only ensure failure, and I am not here to fail.

Mobility WOD:

I did one WOD on Sunday, none on Monday, two on Tuesday, none on Wednesday, two Thursday, and none yesterday. These workouts are all 10 minutes or less in length so they're easy to work in anywhere in my day. I'll do Friday's and Today's either later today or do 3 tomorrow. Seeing some decent progress in psoas mobility so far, but I'm really excited to see progress elsewhere in my body - especially in my terrible shoulders.





That's all for Week 1, just 51 more to go!