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Day 3: Chest and Abs

Heading into this workout I knew it would going to be a grind.  I was feeling hella stiff from the work I had put in the day before.  I had gotten barely any sleep at night and walked into the gym a zombie.  On days like these you just gotta throw the headphones and rely on your determination to get through the lift.  To make matters worse, the gym was again crowded af.  I feel like the entire city of waterloo was working out at this particular Goodlife on this night, and they were all hitting chest.  No benches were open and it was just an all-out shitshow.

None the less, I threw in the headphones and proceeded to play some bangers I had discovered recently.  I searched “DJ Snake –Summer Tour”, pressed play, then put my head down and got to work

Warm up:

Stair climber for 5.  Get the blood flowing and loosen up.  The climber for me is a good indicator of how the workout will be.  Today the 5 minutes felt like 15. NOT a good sign.

Static stretching and band work to loosen up the shoulders.  Even with the stretching I felt stiff as a board.

Work Out: Chest and impromptu ab session

Abs:

  • Plank Cycle – 30 seconds flat, 30 seconds right side, 30 seconds left side.  Rinse and repeat 3 times
  • Medicine Ball Work (5 lbs ball) – Russian Twists for 30, Leg raises for 12 (hold ball above you), 15 sit-ups (ball tucked close to chest), finish by dropping ball and lying on back and holding legs 2 inches off ground till failure. Repeated this twice.
  • Ab Wheel Rollout – 6 reps
  • Hanging leg raises – 3 sets of average 10 reps
  • Declined Sit-ups superset with side bends – 3 sets of 20 reps, 45lbs plate for 15 reps each side

Chest:

  • Inclined Press – Warmed up with 40’s, and 50’s.  2 sets at 65lbs for 6 reps, 1 set at 55lbs for 8 reps
  • Bench-press – 2 sets at 135 for 8 reps, 2 sets at 155 for 4 reps

At this point in the workout I had been at the gym for about an hour or so, and it was still packed and every chest machine and bench was still being used.  I had to stalk for exercises to do.

  • Chest Press Machine – 3 sets at 45lbs for 12 (slow it down, focus on stretching muscle and contracting)
  • Chest fly machine – 3 sets at 115lbs for 10 (nice and slow again, feel the contraction and hold in the middle)
  • Dumbbell flys – 3 sets at 25lbs for 10

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 2: Back Day

Some people refer to the back as the legs of the upper body.  Basically they mean it’s a shitty part of the body to train because it isn’t chest or arms.  But I love back day, it’s my favourite body part to work out and thus it’s pound for pound my strongest muscle group.  Working out your back hard will make you feel like a grandpa the day after and that’s a feeling that puts a smile on my face.  I’m talking about that good pain where you know you’re feeling the work you put in.

This workout was upper back focused.  I didn’t plan on that but the gym was pack so I had to make use of the machines and equipment available.  Normally I hate a crowded gym, but the boys were going after it today which pumps you up and can elevate your lift.  Normally on a back day I would hit some deadlifts, but I wasn’t into waiting around for a bar or rack so I freestyled this workout without deads.

Warm Up:

  • Stair climber for 5 minutes – just enough to get that blood flowing and to loosen up, not doing it for the cardio.  Save the gas for the workout
  • Static stretching and stretching with bands.  I personally target shoulder mobility because of the issues I’ve had in the past with dislocations.

Workout:

  • Lat Pulldown with wide grip (dropset) – Pyramid up till max of 130lbs for 6 reps (3 sets).  Hit the heavy then drop down to light weight and focus on form while muscles are tired.
  • V Bar PullDown (dropset) – Start heavy 130 for 6 reps (3 sets).  Drop to light weight in dropset fashion and focus on form.  Feel the stretch and contraction.
  • Lat Pull Machine (dropsets) – Pyramid up to 85lbs each arm for 6 reps (3 sets).  Dropset fashion always lowering weight right after and hitting more reps focusing on stretch and contraction.
  • Bent over row – 110lbs for 10 reps (3 sets)
  • T bar row – 1 set at 90lbs for 12 reps, 1 set at 115lbs for 8 reps, 1 set at 135lbs for 5 reps, 2 sets at 90lbs for 10 reps

At this point in the workout I can barely lift my arms.  My back feels like I’m carrying a shield on it.  This is where you keep your head down and keep grinding it out.

  • Aussie Pullups – 4 sets for as many reps as you can till failure.  I hit 4 sets with about 15 reps average before failure.  These are a great alternative to pullups at end of workout.
  • Dumb bell Row – 3 sets at 60lbs for 8 reps.  Don’t cheat and be honest.  If need be drop weight and focus on stretch and contraction while leading the pull from the elbow.
  • Cable rear delt fly – 3 sets at 10lbs for 12 reps.
  • Lower back extension – 4 sets at 180lbs for 12

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

The Importance of Vision and Goals

Today I want to touch on something that one of my greatest idols always talks about, and that is the importance of a vision and goal.

“Why do you want to work out, what is your goal.  The most important thing is that you have a vision, that you have a goal.  Because without that vision and without that goal, you’re just drifting around and you’re never going to end up anywhere.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

These couple sentences are stuck in my head (often hearing them in Arnolds voice).  A vision sets the tone for how you will live your life.  It makes you accountable.  Are you habits and the way you live your life bringing you closer to your vision, or are they pushing you away from it?  When it comes to your body, it needs three things to make a vison a reality.  Weightlifting, cardio and nutrition is all it needs.  So often were caught up in the impossibility of life’s challenges, that we forget to break down these challenges into attainable wins that will bring us closer to our vision.

Here’s an analogy for you.  If you were told you could get a billion dollars, and all you had to do for it was to go outside and lift a rock, chances are you would be excited, yet probably skeptical.  You start asking questions, “well how much does the rock weigh” you ask.  If a voice answers back that the rock weighs one ton, chances are you would become depressed because it’s impossible to lift that much weight, and it’s not realistic, and you wouldn’t even try to attempt to move it.  But if a voice answers back that the rock weighs five pounds, you get excited because you know you can do that, because it is an easily achievable task.  But what if you applied your outlook for the five-pound rock to the one ton rock.  Five pounds is manageable, if you just chip away at the one ton rock, five pounds at a time, eventually your gonna move the whole thing.

Our visions and goals are things that need to be chipped away at.  If the vision is strong enough and you stay accountable to that vision, take it one day at a time and you will eventually get there.  My vision with my fitness is to become a lean and strong athlete.  I have set SMART goals for my vision.  I wrote them down on paper and I have a mental image in my head of how I want to look and feel.  Every day before I crawl into bed at night I’m doing an accountability check.  Am I closer today than I was yesterday?  Did I do enough today with the time I had? What am I going to do tomorrow to be closer tomorrow than I was today?

Have a clear vision, and chip away at it, one step at a time.

Johnny,

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 1 FTB (For the Blog)

I’ve been hitting the gym hard for the past four weeks but honestly I’ve been feeling like shit.  I treated the past four weeks as a foundation phase.  This phase is when you get your body ramped back up for the intense workouts after some time off.  I think there’s some saying out there that goes “to build a skyscraper you need a strong foundation”.

This phase saw me miss some days due to soreness, battle a two-week chest and throat infection, deal with some bad anxiety due to not having any work, and just overall being down due to my current situation in life.  Yep, I had a tough October and start to November, but I’m still grinding.  Life has some rough patches but just gotta take them in stride and keep your head up and feet moving.

With that being said, my body is feeling ready to start hitting the big boy weights and throw around some iron to reach my goal of benching 225.  I’m weighing in around 150ish so it’s not gonna be an easy feat to get to this goal, but fuck it, being unemployed gives me nothing but time.  I’m still not sure what kind of format I wanna stick with for throwing up my workouts on the blog, and at this point I have no subscribers or active viewers so I get to do some experimenting till I find I format I like.

AM Session: Cardio & Stretching

  • Stair climber for 20 minutes, at an average speed of 10
  • HIIT training on stationary bike for 10 minutes.  5 bursts for 20-30 seconds when you got the juice.
  • Static stretching of the legs to recover from yesterday’s leg day
  • Foam roll it out.  Confidence is key with foam rolling, just pretend like I know what you’re doing and the crossfitters will leave you alone without offering unsolicited advice

PM Session: Abs and Shoulders

Abs – Today I tried the Officialthenx 5 minute home ab workout.  This is a 5-minute consecutive ab workout that combines cardio and hits your core hard.  I would suggest warming up with some planks first like I did just to avoid pulling something.  This shit was intense and I will 10/10 be doing it on a regular basis now.

Shoulders–  For this workout I didn’t count reps, just went to failure

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Writing a Fitness Blog: 4 things I’ve learned so far

1)Walk before you run. LEARN BLOGGING BASICS

  • Writing a fitness blog is no different than any other personal blog really. But before you change the world with your fitness knowledge, you must first learn how you can get the knowledge that’s in your head, onto the blog effectively.  As an amateur blogger myself I won’t try and pretend I know all the ins and outs, but I can refer you to HubSpots Inbound Marketing certification course.  They have great instructional videos on how to write blogs for business uses, but the concepts are more than applicable for personal blogs.

2) Plan your ideas in advance

  • When I started this blog, I jumped in head first with no plan. I had a name and that was it.  I had no strategy for my content.  No idea what it was going to look like, what I was gonna write about, nothing.  When it came to writing my first few posts I was staring at a blank page with no direction.  My advice is to sit down, and ask yourself “why am I doing this?”  The why in my opinion is the most important factor in writing.  Once you answer the why, you have a clearer picture of what your next steps will be.  This step is crucial when writing a fitness blog or any blog for that matter.

3) Know your readers

  • When it comes to writing a fitness blog, try and learn the personalities of those who will be reading it. For myself, learning these personalities came from years of watching the different niches of gym goers.  Jot these personalities down on paper in an organized manner.  I created buyer personas for the different types of gym personalities that I thought would be reading my content.  Knowing how they talk, their type of training, the supplements their taking, and their fitness goals make writing for these personalities much easier.

4) Be honest with your progress

  • It’s easy to boost for the web. I could inflate my reps or my workouts and nobody would know, but that’s not why I’m doing this.  I started this blog to track my progress as I work towards a bench of 225 lbs and I’m gonna be honest about my progress.  I’m an average joe by societies standards, no godlike physical features thats for sure.  I cheat on my diet sometimes; I don’t feel like working out every day and I often don’t drink enough water (but who does).  These are things I’m trying to change and I hope this blog helps me stick with it a way.  If I’m going to show people that it’s possible for them, I have to keep it honest and not hide behind filters and fake stats just to flex for the web.  Just trust the process and stick with it.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

The Journey Begins

I’ve been working out on and off now for about 4 years, and never committed to it 100 percent.  There have been periods where I’ll hit the weights hard, but never for prolonged periods of time.  The same goes for the diet, I’ve cleaned it up and done the meal prep thing for a few weeks at a time but it always fades off.  Why is this? I never set goals for myself when it came to fitness.  I just assumed since I’m getting a pump, getting a sweat going and burning some calories that I’m doing enough.  Thus, my body has looked the same for a couple years now.  Each year I’m losing and gaining the same ten pounds.  This is a typical cycle for a gym bro, but a time comes in a bro’s life where he must ask himself what kind of man do I want to become.  He can either be the kind that gives half his effort and accepts the status quo, or he can be the kind that says I will not stop at nothing until I’ve reached my goal.  I will not a man that accepts the status quo.

So, what is my goal then?  My goals with this project are twofold.  I need to challenge myself physically and mentally.    My physical goal is to be able to bench-press 225 pounds within 365 days.  It is simple goal, and easy to visualize.  225 pounds is a sexy looking weight, two plates a side.  Like C.T Fletcher says, there aint nothing better than a pair of 45’s slapping together.  I am currently benching a one rep max of about 145 so I have quite a bit of weight to put on the bar before I reach my goal.  Arnold always talked about his goal and vision.  It was so clear to him that each day he would wake up and his goals and visions would dictate how he went about his business.  I know what I wanna hit.  I know the body I wanna have.  Its time my vision dictates how I go about my business and start crushing my goals.

Starting to workout again

Mentally this project will challenge in other ways.  Everyone has goals and aspirations, but the consistency and perseverance are what dictate meeting and maintaining those goals and aspirations.  This process won’t happen overnight.  It will be a long and arduous task and I know this heading in.   With that being said, I know what I am capable of when I put my head down and work, and that’s what I intend on doing.

This undertaking will allow me to flex my brain muscles with my work outside the gym.  As a recent university graduate in Marketing, I am seeing the realities of the job market. Nobody will just hand you and opportunity, you must earn it.  I don’t have the experience for entry level positions, and my resume just isn’t strong enough to impress.  This project will give me skills and experience in web page management, content creation, social media management and back end analytics.  This website is my portfolio to show you recruiters that this kid has the determination and desire to succeed and gain the experience that is needed to get a job in today’s market.  If you’re interested in a candidate who has an entrepreneurial spirit and jumps into projects at a super-fast pace?  Then look no further because I’m your guy.

Sincerely,

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”