Day 38: Push Day

Warmup:

  • 5 minutes on stair climber to get my blood flowing.
  • Upper body stretch.  Focus on shoulders to get them loose

Workout:

  • Dumbbell Press: 50 for 15, 60 for 12, 70 for 9, 70 for 8, 80 for 4, 80 for 3, 70 for 6
  • Inclined Press (Drop set): 50’s for 6 then drop to 35’s for 10.  Three sets of this
  • Inclined Fly’s superset with dumbbell shrugs: 30’s for 8 reps then 50’s for 15
  • Military Press: 45 for 12, 65 for 10 for 3 sets
  • Fly Machine: 115 for 8 for 2 sets, 130 for 8 for 2 sets (focus on squeezing contraction)
  • Chest Press Machine: 40 for 8 reps for 3 sets. One arm at a time.  (slow this right down)
  • Cable fly’s: 25 till failure (not counting reps) for 3 sets
  • Triceps Pushdown (straight bar): 50 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Triceps Pushdown (rope attachment) (drop set): 40 for 8 then drop to 20 till failure for 3 sets
  • One Arm Triceps Pushdown superset with triceps kickbacks: 40 for 8 then superset to 12.5’s for 10
  • Dips: 3 sets of 10

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 35: Push Day

On these push days, I have noticed that I have been avoiding working my shoulders.  For me, shoulders I my least favorite part of the body to work out.  My left shoulder has dislocated a couple hundred times in my life due to a sports injury.  There was a time it was so bad it would slip out in my sleep.  It was the worst of times.  Through rehab and watching the movements I used my left arm for, I am happy to say that it has been about 2 years since I had any major movement in my left shoulder.

A big reason why is because of rehab and stretching.  It might not look the coolest to be playing around with the bands doing stretching before workouts but it’s what helps me loosen up that bad shoulder and get it warm.  On these push days, I should start devoting more time to shoulders.  This doesn’t necessarily mean pushing heavy weight with them, but by doing more reps with lighter weight, it is still possible to strengthen the shoulder and its ligaments.  Even though I said I was gonna work shoulders more in this workout, I did two shoulder exercises and moved on.  Guess I don’t always follow my own advice.  Maybe next lift…

 

Warmup:

  • Stair climber for 10
  • Stretch of shoulder using bands
  • Band and static stretches for back

Workout:

  • Dumbbell-Press: 50 for 15, 60 for 15, 70 for 12 for 2 sets, 80 for 4, 80 for 4, 50 for 8
  • Shoulder Press: 50 for 12 for 3 sets
  • Arnold Press: 30 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Chest Press (individual arm): 40 for 12 for 4 sets (focus on contraction and squeeze)
  • Chest Press (both arms): 100 for 10, 115 for 6, 100 for 10 (focus on squeeze in middle and hold)
  • Cable Flys: 22.5 for 15, 25 for 12 for 3 sets
  • Triceps extension superset with triceps kickback: 35 for 10 then superset to 15 for 10. 3 Sets
  • Overhead Triceps Cable Extensions (dropset): 25 for 12, drop to 17.5 for 8 for 4 sets
  • Rope Triceps Extensions: 30 for 10, 40 for 8, 40 for 5, 30 for 7, 30 for 6
  • Triceps Dips: 3 sets of 10

Finisher:

  • Skipping for 10 minutes

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

 

Skipping is the new Jogging

Pound for pound, skipping is one of the best forms of calorie burners.  I haven’t used a skipping rope since I was a little kid.  I figured only boxers and kids 5 and under use the skipping rope but then I started doing research on ways to burn calories and forms of cardio that weren’t the stair climber or running.  Living in Canada, running is great for 8 months of the year, the other 4 is just not something I’m interested in.  I don’t mind running in the cold, but running in -20-degree is just a bit much for this guy.

I stumbled upon a Youtube channel called Jump Rope Dudes, Formerly Zen Dudes Fitness.  These guys know their shit when it comes to skipping.  Their channel teaches you proper form, proper equipment, jump height and various other techniques.  I had some concerns when it came to skipping such as the effect that it would have on my knees and ankles.  These concerns were null when they walked me through proper technique.  Turns out you don’t have to jump a foot off the ground like I was doing when I was a kid.  Just bouncing an inch off the ground is enough and keeping a straight and loose body makes it a low impact form of cardio.

Skipping burns about 15 calories a minute, which is far more than the treadmill and stair climber.  It can be a form of HIIT when you push it and blasts calories and melts that fat like butter on a fire.  I have been looking for a new finisher for my workouts and skipping has been great for the week I’ve been doing it.  I try and keep the rope moving for 5-10 minutes and at the end of that I burn over 100 calories.  Not bad for such a short time.  I was naive when it came to the cardio workout that skipping is.  After 60 seconds, I’m sweating and out of breath.  Not sure if this is because I need to get used to skipping or because I avoid cardio likes it’s Ebola.  At the end of the skip, I feel exhausted and is a great way to end a workout.

My plan for skipping is to build a solid foundation of technique and pace.  5-10 minutes is enough for me right now but as I get more comfortable I can start to add to this.  I must admit I am self-conscious about skipping in front of people.  I am no professional so I am constantly fucking up and getting frustrated.  My gym is great because it has a yoga room so I just go in there and I can skip alone in peace.  After skipping for a week, I am making small improvements, but small improvements lead to big results.  It’s encouraging to look on Youtube and see all the skipping transformation videos.  I will include my favorite at the end of this post.  The results aren’t all because of skipping because diet plays an important role but nonetheless, results are results.  Skipping has become my new jogging, and I don’t have to endure the cold of winter to do so 🙂

Johnny

Soon to be “Johhny Two Plates”

Tips for 2018’s New Gym Crowd

“if I feel I’m making progress then I am making progress”

Were fresh in the year 2018, and the gym has been like a zoo.  Although it sucks waiting for machines, benches and even waiting in line at the water fountain, I love seeing all the new faces in the gym.  It’s important to remember that these people are making an effort to better themselves and achieve their goals.  Everyone has their own story and it’s not my place to judge anyone because lord knows I was in their shoes at some point.  Some of the new faces are first time gym goers trying to live the gym life for the first time in their lives.  Some are those who fell off with their fitness and are trying to get back into it.  These newcomers all seem to have similar looks on their faces.

When you first start at the gym, motivation is high, but confidence is low.  These newcomers share a daunting look that this is going to be a lot harder than they thought.  You look in the mirror after a couple of workouts and there are no results to be seen, and it really is disheartening.  They realize it will take daily work and persistence to reach their goals, and it doesn’t come easy.  But as someone who has gone through it, I can share some tips on how to better go through this period and stick with it for the long haul.

Tip 1: Pump Theory

  • This is a theory that I came up with myself and really has no academic fact to it, it is just a personal philosophy I went to the gym with. When you lift, your muscles fill with blood and it gives you a feeling of a pump.  This pump feeling is what I focused on.  When you get a pump, your making progress, so I chased this with every workout.  You won’t see this in the mirror off the bat, but instead it is something that you can feel, so focus on that.  A tip for getting a nice pump is to do dropsets.  Dropsets will give you a thick and juicy pump feeling.  Hit a dropset for your first few lifts and let this feeling of juiciness motivate you for the rest of the workout.

Tip 2: Stay off the scale

  • New year’s comes with resolutions. How many of us have said this is the year I’m going to lose that 10-20 pounds?  If your stepping on the scale daily waiting to see the number drop you’re going to be discouraged.  The first few days you might see results from dropping water weight but then it will trail off and discouragement sets in.  Instead step on the scale every two weeks or a month, take note of the changes, but don’t make that your sole focus in the gym.  I focus on feel, if I feel I’m making progress then I am making progress.  Body change isn’t some linear perfect line on a graph, it is a staggering and frustrating process that takes time.  Focus on the feel, not the number.

Tip 3: Look at your eyes, not your body

  • When your head is on a swivel in the gym, your focusing on everyone but yourself, even though you’re the reason you’re at the gym. It is tough to see those who are smaller than you lifting twice as much as you, but that’s how it goes in the beginning.  You need to accept and come to terms with this.  I would find myself looking at others, then looking at myself and judging myself.  This lowered my confidence and it would ruin my workouts.  When you put the blinders on in the gym, you are forced to focus on yourself.  I wouldn’t look at my body, I would look at my eyes in the mirror.  This allows you tap into a motivated and focused mind state.  Each set, each rep is yours to progress.  I found myself having fun with myself.  I’d catch myself smiling when I couldn’t get that last rep up, but I knew next time that rep is mine to own.  The mind is your biggest obstacle when it comes to gains, so stay in your zone.  If you can believe you can get there, then that’s half the battle right there.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

 

Holidays and Comfort

Many people I have been talking to and the blog posts I’ve been reading, have mentioned that they just aren’t active during the holiday season.  With friends, family, booze, food and shopping all becoming distractions this time of year, it is easy to push the gym and physical activity down to the bottom of the list of things to do.

For myself, being from Canada, we have been getting blasted with some severely cold weather.  It has been a challenge for me to stay in the gym putting in the work but I’ve been doing it.  I would love to be curled up by the fire at home all snug and cozy, but I have a goal and only putting in work will get me there.

As I am progressing through this journey I am being more and more confident in how you need to be able to say no to the things that make you comfortable.  Sitting at home and watching a movie with a drink in my hand would make me feel comfortable.  Running outside for 45 minutes in -15-degree weather is not comfortable.  Eating turkey with gravy and finishing a bottle of wine would make me feel comfortable.  Spending 2 hours working legs on Christmas eve is not comfortable.  With this being said, at the end of the day, I can tell myself before I got to bed that I am closer today than I was yesterday.

There is a time to feel cozy and comfortable.  But this doesn’t always propel you towards your goal.  Moderation is key, so is making yourself feel comfortable being uncomfortable.  I still curl up next to the fire and let myself drift off to sleep all snug and cozy, but only after I’ve accomplished what I needed to for the day.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

via Daily Prompt: Cozy