Day 25-26: Rest Day

There comes a time in ever training regimen that changes must be made in the name of progress, I am at such a point right now.  Following the bro split has been great for building a foundation, but my gains are slowing down and my body is in plateau.  I am going to drop down to a three-day split.  I will have a pull day where I will work back and biceps.  I will have a push day where I work chest, shoulders and triceps.  And lastly, I will have a leg day where I focus on the lower body.

The reason that I am doing this is to get more activation out of my muscle groups.  With the bro split, I had a week to recovery with each muscle group.  While this was great at first, when your body becomes acclimatized to work you’re doing, you are fully recovered and ready to go again a few days later.  This leaves the muscle isolated and untouched when it could be getting some work in.  This new split will help me get to each muscle group twice a week which will help with my strength gain.

There is no ab day, because abs are something that I try and touch most day.  Weather it is in a workout that I post on this blog or just late at night before bed, abs are something that can benefit from getting hit more often.  I never realized how important working your core is.  A strong core can help your bench press, squat and deadlift.  These compound movements help to activate your core and give it a workout, but this is not enough.  Hitting core quickly after your workout to give it a quick burn will help it gain the strength it needs.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 19: Rest Day – Changes Moving Forward

When I started blogging I jumped right into it, bought the domain, set up the theme quick and didn’t even think through what I wanted to write about or the strategy I was going to use.  It was just something that interested me as a young marketer who needed to become comfortable writing content.  I knew I wanted to focus on something fitness related, but the form that this would come in was still a mystery to me.  With so much emphasis today being placed on video in regards to filming workouts and body transitions, I felt like the written word is something that is being forgotten about in the fitness realm.  The written word is a story just like a video, but ingested in a different way.

After a month of blogging, I’m ready to build on what I have been doing and have no interest in abandoning it anytime soon.  While the blog is great for sharing detailed posts about what I have been doing in my workouts, there are still aspects of my daily life that aren’t being touched on, which play an important part of my fitness goal.  I’m mainly referring to cardio and diet here.

They say that to achieve the body you desire, 90% of the work is done in the kitchen, and 10% is done in the gym.  This means that I have only been reporting on 10% of my day-to-day activity.  This provides me with an exciting problem.  How do I want to showcase my diet and cardio that I am doing outside the gym?  The answer that I have come up with involves branching out from blogging to social media.  Instagram is a visually engaging channel which is great for showcasing diet.  The diet that I am on is always changing depending on my fitness goals and how my body is feeling.  Currently my diet emphasizes proteins and fats with fewer carbohydrates.  I have been trying to time my carbohydrates to ingest them prior to or after a workout, which is harder than it seems.

I will be posting what I am eating daily on my Instagram to hopefully be a positive example to show what meal prepping is like and how to easily make healthy meals at home without spending a ton of money.  My philosophy on eating clean is that if you are feeling good, and feeling like your moving in the direction, then you are on the right path.  I don’t count calorie intake or ratio of protein/fats/carbs just because of the sheer time it takes to do, and the reality is that counting is guessing most of the time.  Your body is a natural counter, and you just need to listen to what it is telling you, and that’s how you mold your diet to best fit your body.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 17-18: Rest Day Thoughts

After getting back at if for only three days I made the call to hold off for a couple of days to not aggravate my neck strain.  This is a weird strain that doesn’t seem to be recovering.  Normally with injuries they tend to start feeling better each day but with my neck it’s just been getting stiffer.  I’m not sure if I am sleeping on it wrong or what the heck is wrong, but it’s just one that I feel I needed to make a call and take a few days off.  I’ve talked before about knowing your body and what you can and can’t work through, and this is one where I felt it will pay off more in the long run if I take a couple of days now.  It’s better to shut myself down for a few days to let the ice and heat do their work.

What makes this injury frustrating is because I have no idea how I hurt my neck.  It was one that crept up on me and before I knew it, it was a problem.  With hurting yourself in the gym, you can normally narrow down an injury into one of two scenarios.  Scenario one is when you feel a pop or tear on a movement.  Easy and plain as day to point out, and easier to understand what you need to do to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

The second scenario is when you have an injury creep up on you and the source or cause isn’t always known.  One of the most common examples of this I can think of are lower back injuries.  People will complain of hurting their lower back because they feel strain or discomfort in their day-to-day activities.  This pain isn’t necessarily from a certain activity or movement.  Time off helps but doesn’t necessarily heal.  They don’t ever fix the root problem because they don’t know if it was done in the gym, as a part their lifestyle, or even as a repercussion of diet, etc.  This is why that lingering lower back injury is so common in our society.

With my neck, I felt a little discomfort and stiffness coming on for a few weeks.  I attributed it to my body getting used to me getting after it in the gym.  I tried to hold on to good form and can’t recall a set I did in the past few weeks where I strayed from form badly enough to cause an injury.  Looking back, I did climb up in weight for the deadlift quickly and this could have been an attributing factor.  I was trying to get back into the old weight range and might have overdone it.  Holding that weight puts strain on the neck and upper-back.  When I get back at it, I must focus on lifting less due to ego, and watching the position of neck and truly leading with my eyes.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

 

 

 

 

Day 13: Rest Day – What I Think About

The old stereotype of the gym is that it is seen by many to be this shallow place reserved for bodybuilders and men with high testosterone.  Men mindlessly chasing their dream body through a pump.  I was always able to see past this stereotype because I know each person in the gym has a story.  Something unique about what brought them through the doors for a workout.  I am sometimes curious about what’s going in the minds of my fellow gym goers.  We’re all here working out, but each of us is thinking about something different.  For myself, the gym means different things on different days, and in this post, I’ll tell you what I’m thinking about and use the gym for.

Turning off Mentally:  Somedays when I walk into the gym, I can’t wait to turn my brain off.  After a long day with the noise in today’s world, the gym is my place to disconnect.  I’ll turn off my cell service, throw in the headphones and like clockwork I’m zoned out from everything happening in the outside world.  On these days, I go blank, and try not to think about anything but what I’m doing at that place and time.  I focus on the contraction and stretch of muscle fibers, my breathing and the music in my ears.  Walking out of days like these at the gym is like getting a breath of fresh air.  Your head feels clearer; anxiety is greatly reduced and you’re ready to get back into the world.  Taking a mini-break from everything is great for when I’m feeling stressed or frustrated, I can hit reset on my day or week and jump back in when I’m done the workout.

Turning on Mentally:  I have a hard time walking and chewing gum at the same time, but I have no problems working out and thinking through ideas at the same time.  Some of my gym days especially with where I’m at in my career, involve lots of reflection on what I’m doing with my life.  If I’m having difficulty with a problem from work or home, the gym is my place to ponder and contemplate uninterrupted.  When it comes to solving problems in my daily life, I try whenever possible to practice a variation of first principles problem solving.  I deconstruction a problem and then reconstruct with solutions.  I find the gym to be the best place to do this.  I don’t have the pressure of someone watching over my back like I would at work, and I’m able to think for myself without other putting in their opinions and thoughts like at home.  I’m still focused on the lift and putting in a good effort, but on rests I don’t sit on my phone texting.  I use the time to work through problems at my own pace which is great for development.  This hour and a bit I’m at the gym is great to try and fix problems and find solutions for life outside the gym.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 7: Rest Day

For me personally, I don’t follow a set schedule when it comes to my rest days.  I listen to my body.  When my body is telling me “your sore today kid, I need a break,” well then it’s time to take a break.  Not resting when you need to can lead to major injuries, or even worse, you just going to the gym to go through the motions and minimize gains.  This is not to say that on a rest day you should sit in your room and watch Netflix all day, because there are things you can be doing to get you ready to get back in the gym.  It’s a rest day, not an unproductive day.  One of those things is stretching.

Stretching is a fantastic activity to do on a rest day.  The day prior I had done legs, so I woke up tight and stiff, and not in a good way.  So, what do I do on my day of rest? Lots and lots of stretching.  You don’t necessarily need to go to the gym to stretch, just lying in front of the TV and spending 15-30 minutes trying to loosen up those tense muscles groups goes a long way.  There are lots of great videos out there on stretching routines, and I have included a good short one that I use right here.  After a rest day, you don’t want to walk into the gym feeling tired and fatigued.  Listen to your body, I cannot stress this enough.  If your body needs two or three days after a workout, then so be it.  As you work out more and more, your body adapts in its recovery time.  This is why so many people hurt themselves when they start working.  They try and jump back to a level they were once at, or they try going for 7 days straight and BOOM, injured and off for three months.  I’m telling yah folks, If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen this, I’d be homeless but I could make a payphone call to tell you about it.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”