So I often talk about change, but primarily about ways to change strength training. The same, however, should also be done with cardio.
The body simply gets used to what we do. Just as changing strength routines is important, we should continually change our cardio routines if functional fitness is the desired goal. Training for specific things like a marathon requires a complete plan that builds upon itself so don't confuse the two issues.
For the rest of us that like to be healthy, strong and look good I suggest keeping the body guessing. To do this, we may do treadmill one day, bike another and so on, but times and distances should also be changed. Increase the incline or resistance. Additionally, doing some steady state exercise and then breaking into interval style (such as boxing) can another alternative.
Think outside the box! Get the heart pumping! Add some slam ball work in between other forms of cardio or add plyo moves inside of your strength circuit!
The body and our mind needs to be challenged to progress. Keep it guessing to keep it growing!
So as I have recently posted, I have been sticking to a three day a week full body workout with cardio days mixed in. Still, as I am such a big proponent of mixing workout up, today's and tomorrows workout have been changed. I am doing a semi-split circuit.
One of the best forms of cardio I have personally found is boxing. Today's workout was an upper body semi-split as follows.
I first did a round versus the reflex bag, but as it ended I immediately did a set of plate circles. After ward, again with no rest I did a ste of presses. It was only then that I took a 1 minute rest. I then went into a round vs. the heavy bag and repeated the weight half of the circuit.
After another minute, I again did my round against the reflex bag and then did a set of curls, immediately followed buy press downs. One more minute and I went against the heavy bag, and repeated the strength sets.
I will do legs and back in similar fashion tomorrow as I didn't feel my legs were recovered from a previous workout. Still using this pattern. This is a fairly quick workout, but is simply brutal if you push yourself.
Dropping some of the weights on your strength phases may also be good idea as the combination of cardio and weights really taxes the system.
While this is a sample of part of my routine, I hope it shows a great way you can add variety to your training. After these two days, I will get back on track with my full body workouts.
Again, nothing says you have to do the same workout all the time, in fact doing so stalls progress. Perhaps adding this technique into your routine may be something to consider!
So I was shopping tonight and saw a young lady that apparently works out. For the most part, she looked very fit, except one thing I noticed. Balance! Now I am not talking about her ability to stand on one leg, but instead talking about the difference from the front of her body to the back!
Balance is something many, especially beginners, forget! I suppose vanity and our mirrors are to blame. People, please don't forget to train the back side of your body!
Sure, we want to train biceps, quads and chest as everyone, including ourselves can see them. That however, leaves 50% of your body unnoticed. At least for the person training, but not for everyone looking!
You see this young lady had large, well defined quads, but was totally lacking in her hamstrings. I mean the difference was night and day!
Now what I am talking talking about here is purely aesthetic, there is plenty of physiological reasons behind maintaining balance, For instance, allowing the quads to overpower that hamstrings can cause both knee and lower back problems. The same can be said about the chest and back, or other antagonistic muscle groups!
I suppose my tip here is to simply look behind you! Train what you cannot see as well as what you can. In the end, you will be more pleasing to the eye, and healthier over all!
So I recently shared I had added some new supplements into my routine to re-energize my workouts. Truth be told, I have been working out for over thirty years now, and it can sometimes be hard to stay focused. Thus, the supplements.
NOW, one thing I always preach to my clients is changing up the routine. That is what gets results. Now I too am always changing my routines, but recently I took a more radical approach. I went backwards!
Now, I don't mean I over trained and lost the hard work I have done for years, but I decided to go back to a basic full body workout 3 days a week. This is something I have not done in YEARS! Still, I see my new clients progressing so I thought, "why not!"
My days of being a cop are over so I no longer have to be quit as big as I am. I am not worried about competing as I really have no desire and am still fairly strong. Therefore I am stepping back in time.
Since I have been doing the workout I am having fun again! It is also allowing to do a lot more cardio on my off days, something I need since I am getting older. Change IS the key to growth, but maybe sometimes going backwards is the new way forward!
The body is an amazing thing. It is designed to take care of itself. Now, we all here that fiber is good for lowering cholesterol. True, but how? I thought I would share a simplified answer so you simply don't have to take this fact without some clarification.
Fiber is essentially the indissoluble part of plant. When in our intestines, it is hard for the body to pass it through. Think about some old oatmeal sitting in a bowl. It gets thick and VERY hard to clean. It's like this in our intestines. So, the body will use something to help it pass in the form of bile.
Bile is made in the liver and stored in our gallbladder. Think of bile as a lube to help the body pass the fiber through our system. Kind of like oil! It kind of coats the mass, helps to break it down and slide through more easily.
The amazing think is bile is made from cholesterol! The cholesterol is pulled form our bloodstream and turned into bile, and passed to the gallbladder where it waits until needed.
As you can see then, adding fiber into the diet will help lower you cholesterol as it is pulled from the bloodstream. Now, this is obviously and over simplification, but should give you an idea of WHY the doctor says eat more fiber!
Eat your fiber!
So I have been trying to keep working out hard, but have been feeling a little unmotivated. This weekend, I went and purchased some more protein, as well as Epic's test booster as well as fat burning stack. They were really a package deal, so it saved me money.
Anyway, when I lose motivation I often do this. Try out new products. Why? For me, THIS is motivating! Trying something that can possibly help me break a plateau! It very often works. Perhaps because the supplement is a good product, but perhaps it may simply be a placebo effect! What I do know, is when I spend money on a product it often FORCES me to stay on track! Simply put, I work harder BECAUSE I don't want to waste my money.
Yes, this cannot be the foundation of you fitness program. The basics means hard work and determination along with a good plan. Still, if you need a quick kick, look into changing up your supplement plan. THIS may be just what you needed!
So life sometimes get's in the way of my workouts. I mean, it is life. This weekend I was asked to go to Chicago for a meeting of Freemasons, something I am very involved in. Still, I was pretty busy and didn't get my normal workouts in.
Still I did do what I could. I took the steps instead of the elevator, and when I woke up I got some push ups, sit ups and chair curls in. Chair curls? I simply used a chair in my room as my resistance and lifted it up and down.
Is it the perfect workout? Absolutely not! Was it better than nothing! Absolutely! For me, the key is to do the best you can. Life WILL get in our way, but we still must live! Do the best you can, but never, EVER, give up!
One of the things I often see with people that are trying to get into the fitness lifestyle is that they often fall into what I call the "all or none syndrome." Starting a new journey into a healthier lifestyle can be challenging. Oftentimes, it forces people to TOTALLY revamp their daily lives. From sedentary to working out. From staying out all night to going to bed earlier. From eating poorly to making better food choices.
What I caution people on is trying to avoid the all or none syndrome. You do NOT have to do everything perfectly when starting out. Admit to yourself that there WILL be bumps in the road.
Now most people that start out are truly energized. They WANT to make the proper changes. That is great! Still, it is imperative to realize that if something occurs that alters your plans on this new healthier lifestyle, to roll with the punches and not allow it to sabotage your success.
If you had a workout planned and had to work overtime, don't let this small bump destroy things. Simply move the workout to the next day and move on. If something comes up and you cannot eat the perfectly planned meal you prepared, make the best choices you can under the circumstances. Don't just say to heck with it and eat a McDonalds, but instead pick the healthiest options you have available. Perhaps a healthier sandwich at Subway,
Remember, the fitness lifestyle is not a quick fix! It is not something you do for three months and then walk away. No, this is a lifetime commitment. When something throws a wrench in your plans, simply accept it and move ahead. What you cannot allow to happen is that since you missed workout you then decide to let things snowball and eat bad, stay out late and fall back into bad habits! Accept the realities of life, but ALWAYS keep moving forward!
When I first met Michael, he came to me looking to get into better shape as he was 283 lbs, was on blood pressure medications, and had a family history of heart problems. Simply put, Michael realized that he needed to make some life changes to protect his health.
Michael and I sat down and put a plan together which included a proper diet, cardio, stretching, and strength training! What I can say about Michael is that he did everything I asked and more! He immersed himself into the fitness lifestyle.
One of the things he always enjoyed was hiking, so we included this into his training regimen along with the other components. Ironically, when Micheal advised his doctor that he had hired a trainer and that he was including strength training, his doctor indicated that all he really needed was cardio. Still, Michael continued with our plan, and he was soon down 20 lbs. As he continued to drop fat over time, his doctor finally admitted he should continue with the plan as he was making great progress. Eventually Michael lost 50 pounds and was off of his blood pressure medications. Michael is now down to a healthy 212 pounds and in September or 2014 climbed to the top of Mt. St. Helen's! A week later, he completed his first half-marathon!
Michael's story shows what can be accomplished through a good training program, and a strong desire to succeed!
Michael on top of Mt. St. Helen's
So I was thinking about the way we train. I think the biggest problem with the way most people train is that they do what they like, but don't do much of the things they don't. For instance, if you love to jog, but hate strength training, generally we jog much more than train with weights! The same thing happens the other way around as well. I suppose that is just human nature!
Still, for overall fitness, should we do it the other way around? I mean we are better runners because we love to do it! Still, shouldn't we focus more on what makes us healthier overall?
I personally have always struggled with this. I mean I love pushing myself under a heavy weight stack but have never truly enjoyed cardio. Sure I did it since I played rugby for 12 years and had to do it as a cop, but in the end, I simply did what was "necessary." I just kind of faked it!
Now however, I am 47 years old with a history of heart disease running in my family! I have realized that while I love to lift weights, I already excel at that. What will ultimately keep me alive longer is more cardio! That has become my primary focus! That does not mean I no longer lift as I most certainly do, but I have forced myself to look at the bigger picture. I have forced myself to work more cardio into my routine.
Now I have experimented with ways to make the cardio routines more "fun," such as adding boxing and biking into the mix instead of simply hitting the treadmill, but the fact remains that I had to change my focus!
If you are truly interested in overall fitness, I suggest you look at what you love to do and what you hate, and put more emphasis on the latter! THAT is what will ultimately make you a more well rounded athlete!