Posts Tagged Health

Simplify Your Workout

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After working out consistently for the last 15 years, I started to get bored and little burnt out. So, last year I took up long distance running and ran my first half-marathon last year at the Saratoga Palio (1:46) in Saratoga Springs, NY.

That helped with my cardio, but I lost serious interest in lifting weights. That’s a problem because one of the best ways to burn fat is through strength training. Plus 30 is around the corner and weights become more critical as guys get older.

Check this out from Body Logic MD:

Every year between the ages of 25 and 60, the physically inactive male will lose muscle mass and muscle strength at a rate of .5% and although this number may seem low, it adds up quickly. After the age of 60, male muscle loss doubles to about 1% every year. After 70, muscle mass and muscle strength declines by 2% every year. This doubling continues every ten years until death.

And from Askmen.com

Studies suggest that men lose five pounds of muscle per decade after the age of 40 due to reduced levels of human growth hormone (HGH). According to those harrowing numbers, by the age of 60, most men will have 80% less HGH in their system than when they were 20.

Here are some examples of workouts I’ve done for the last decade:

1.  Upper Body / Lower Body (alternating cardio days in between)

2.  Day 1 – Chest/tri’s, Day 2 – Shoulders/Legs, Day 3 – Bi’s / Back (repeat)

3 sets, 12 reps for each exercise.  Or heavy weight, low reps if I was trying to really bulk up. 

3.  Full body workout:  Chest, tri’s, bi’s, shoulders, back and legs all in one session.

So what does a guy who is a little burnt out from the status quo and has less time to workout do?  Strip his workout down to the basics.

For the last four weeks, I have only done 4-5 exercises during my strength training. I write them down on a sticky note with a target number for each one. So instead of saying:  “I’m going to do 3 sets of 12,” I say “I’m going to do 150 push ups today” and break it down from there. If I can’t fit it on a sticky note, I’m doing too much.

Check out my workout from Monday:

160 push ups (sets of 10)

50 pull-ups (using a machine at this point) (sets of 10)

100 bicep curls (sets of 20)

200 sit ups (crunches, planks, bicycle kicks, etc.) (sets of 25)

100 body squats (sets of 25)

I also threw in some jump rope (five sets, 30 seconds each). I essentially do non-stop circuits while occasionally stopping for water. This way I’m done in 30-40 minutes and get a great workout in. If I am busier one day, then I just lower the counts.

My numbers have increased though.  For example, a month ago I only did 100 push ups. Monday I hit 160 for the first time. My goal is to do 50 push ups in a row and 200 overall by the end of October. On my current pace, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Last week I mixed it up and did the bench press instead of push ups. I benched 40 pounds more than I did three weeks earlier. It was also fun because I hadn’t done it in a while.

This all stemmed from a workout I did with a couple of buddies recently (@jlicciardi is one) who are hardcore crossfitters. I loved the simplicity and practicality of it. We finished in about 25 minutes, but I was sweating and sucking wind big time.

So if you find yourself in a workout rut, maybe you’re doing too much. Evaluate what you can cut out and simplify your workout. There are so many options and techniques these days, sometimes it’s best to stick with the basics. Try it out and let me know how you do in the comments, or if you have other ideas please share those as well.

Now if I can just nail down my eating…

-JM

@averagegents

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Why Every Guy Should Love Soap.com

Does any guy like going to the drug store? I sure don’t. Up until recently, it felt like I was there every other day.  I would write down everything I’d need for the next few weeks and think I was good to go. A typical list would look something like this:

  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Soap
  • Rogaine (I’m not going down without a fight)
  • Garbage bags
  • Birthday card

You get the idea.  I’d walk over to Duane Reade, pick up everything I need, stand in line for 10 minutes and drop $120. Walking home I’d think “at least I won’t be back for a while.”

I’d be getting ready for bed that night only to discover I forgot floss, the reason I needed to go in the first place!

I know this has happened to you too.

Lucky for us, Soap.com came along.  With its amazing selection, reasonable prices, user-friendly layout and fast delivery; it’s hard not to believe it wasn’t started by a guy who thought:  “I can do better.”

Their customer service is also impeccable – I once sent them an email and got a response in 12 minutes. The shopping experience is similar to Zappos.com, so don’t be surprised if you receive your shipment the very next day.

Even if you forget to order something via Soap.com and need to visit the drug store, at least you saved yourself a trip.

Visit Soap.com to see what I mean. Here are a couple of discount codes to get you started.

  • 20% off household items ‘HOUSEHOLD20’
  • 15% off everything else that isn’t a household item – ‘SAVE15MORE’

Enjoy.

-JM

Follow me on Twitter @averagegents

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Body for Life: The Gambler

As Kenny Rogers sang in The Gambler “You gotta know when to hold em’, know when to fold em’.  Know when to walk away, know when to run.”

It’s time to re-boot Body for Life.  In Week’s 3 & 4, I fell off the wagon.

Kenny Rogers - Nov 2004 Photo by Alan C. Teepl...

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I wrote those words on June 14, 2011.  It’s now July 11, 2011.  I dreaded this post for a long time, and procrastinated accordingly.  My last BFL post was on June 1st!    Wow.

It’s funny.  I wanted to write, but knowing I blew it on the Internet is pretty humbling and suspended everything on the site.  How does one commit to a 12-week program online with regular readers and blow it half way through?  Well, I’m back hat in hand.  Here’s the lowdown on my Body for Life failure.

I never got back on the wagon.  By Week 6, I was 230 (original weight was 234) and at a crossroads.  I could push on and finish knowing that I had did poorly four out of the six weeks, or double down and start over.  I kicked that idea around for a few days.  I knew I needed a solution and results before I made another post.  Nothing worse than writing this:

“Waaaaa, I’m a huge loser and couldn’t make it six weeks. Now excuse me while I go scarf down a burger and fries.”

No way.

At the same time my wife kept saying:  “You have to read this book I bought.  You’re going to love it, it’s totally you.”

But I had to complete Body For Life, right?  I said I was going to do this 12 week program.  Everyone will think I’m a loser. Then that scene from Batman Begins randomly popped into my head.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTWjtnKv4vE

“Why do we fall Bruce?  So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

I was focusing on the wrong thing.  See it’s not about failure.  We fail all the time and that’s OK. As long as we learn from it and react appropriately. In fact, I bet most AG readers can relate to what I went through. The average reaction would have been to go back to my old ways and put on another 10 pounds. I told my wife:  “OK, give me the book.”

And so I started the Dukan Diet the very next day.  Within two weeks, I lost 11 pounds and am down to 220.  I have 10 more pounds to go.  So why is The Dukan Diet working, instead of Body for Life?

First, I want to say that Body for Life is a great program and it does work.  I’ve done it before and know this for a fact.  My problem was all the tracking.  Maybe I’m lazy, but I don’t want to write down what I’m scheduled to eat each day, and then write down what I actually ate and when. All the tracking grew annoying.  I don’t mind tracking my lifting, because it’s critical and nice to see the improvements week-to-week, but food was too much. Tell me what to eat and how much of it I can and I’ll do it.  Dukan does exactly this.

I also went through your typical eating issues.  Instead of recovering from one bad meal, it turned into one day, then the weekend.  The Dukan Diet focuses solely on eating, and it’s the smartest book I’ve ever read on the topic of dieting.  I think by combining the workouts of Body for Life with the eating of the Dukan Diet, I’ll be in tip top shape.

There were also logistical issues.  It’s expensive and inefficient when two members of a family are on different diets.  It made our trips to the grocery store and meal preparation more cumbersome.  In truth, this played a big role in the switch.

I’ll write more about the Dukan Diet, but not on a weekly basis.  Feel free to check it out here.

It’s great to be back and I’m sorry for the delay.  Hope you stick with me, as we’ve got some good topics and interviews coming up this summer.

-JM

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