Posts Tagged ‘workout’

“Have you tried the (insert name here) diet?”

You know what I’m talking about. Paleo, South Beach, Atkins; if it’s got a marketable name then it’s a Fad diet. I get that question all the time along with, “Have you tried (insert workout they saw on TV here)?”

Lately, I’ve been encountering a spate of these questions in person and otherwise. It’s not that I mind, but most of those people read this… so I figure I’ll hit all of the birds with one stone.

To begin with, I’m not calling these things out as bad because my initial foray into getting healthy was on one of these diet trains, but I am going to point out some of the important things I think people should take away from them if they are looking to go in this direction.

Tackling the diets first; there are a few things they all (for the most part) have in common that are actually quite necessary to being a healthy individual.

– They encourage the eating of whole and nutritious foods. You know, the stuff around the edge of the grocery store.
– They discourage anything processed or containing refined sugars/carbohydrates. Candy, soda, etc.
– They (the decent ones anyway) try to get you to prepare your own food, giving you complete control over what goes into your body.
– They all need to be done consistently to work. Granted, some of that is for marketing purposes, but the takeaway is consistency.

These things, done consistently, will get anyone results. You can’t eat healthy for a week and then binge on whatever you want the next and hope to see results.

Next to consistency, the number one thing I can say people should get behind is preparing your own food. If I could point to one single thing that was a key to my success, it would be preparing my meals in advance and planning what I would eat. I’m currently working on a big ‘ole post about meal prepping and how I do it, so I’ll save most of my rant for that. If you can’t wait for that, just Google meal prep and fitness or some variation thereof, and you will come up with tons of stuff on the subject.

Along with that, proper nutrition is key.  Carbohydrates, fats, protein.  Your body needs all of these things.  I know, the guy who did low carb to shed fat is saying you need carbs.  Trust me, they aren’t the enemy when used correctly.

Again, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with these types of diets. I believe that the issues begin when people believe that these are the only ways to get/stay healthy. The truth is that there is no need to subscribe to some pay as you go program or buy the latest fad diet, but there are things you can learn from these resources. Or, like I had to do, you can figure out that the internet has access to tons of freaking information and can actually give you more useful things than pictures of puppies looking all cute as hell. For free (just hijack your neighbors WiFi.)

Because puppy and Star Wars all in one.

Because puppy and Star Wars all in one.

As for the latest workout DVD’s and programs, I personally don’t have much to say about them thats positive or negative.

Obviously, there are some options full of nothing less than complete and utter bullshit.  6 Minute anything is sure to be 6 minutes you’ll never get back.  Anything that follows that pattern or tries to sell you all sorts of fancy equipment that is proprietary and relies on anything sounding like “special never before seen ab ripping technology” is not worth your time or hard earned money.

I say that, because this shit actually exists.  People.  This is a thing.  Why is this a thing?

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I have dabbled in P90X with some guys who happened to be going through the series and I did do some of the Insanity program with a roommate. While they certainly are challenging workouts, there is nothing particularly unique or new about them. However, if that’s what someone needs to get some kind of physical activity in their lives then I say go for it.

Having said that, I don’t really see it as necessary to shell out a whole bunch of dollars for a DVD’s worth of workouts when you can find all sorts of workouts online. See also: free.

A follow up question I got from someone after giving this answer was, “Well I don’t really know much about working out.” Okay, fair enough, but if you’re willing to shell out some hard earned dollars for some education, then I will always (and have somewhere else in this blog) recommend going to a gym and taking advantage of one of the personal training deals they always give to new members.

That probably doesn’t really give a good indication as to my feelings, so to sum it all up I shall use one of the most versatile words I can.

Meh.

For some, these things are the best ways for them to get healthy or stay healthy and I think that’s awesome. If that’s your tune then sing it, but if you’ve got the time to devote to actual training or some kind of research than I definitely think that’s the best way to go.

As always, find what works for you and do that.  Then do it again.  Again.  Again.  Again.  Again.  You know… consistently.

-Moody

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I’m a little rusty on my algebra, but what I’m trying to get across with my title is that working hard is hard work and vice versa.  If you want something you’ve got to work for it because relying on luck isn’t much of a bet.  Kind of a no brainer, right?

Short answer: nope.

I wish I could say that I always bought into the hard work mentality.  I was raised knowing what hard work was, but it took me a while to pull my head out of my ass (as so eloquently put by my Dad…again) and start applying it to my own life.  The truth is that, for the most part, I coasted through life.  Now, that’s not to say I was a societal burden; I worked jobs in high school, was a decent student, volunteered at a fire department, and hung out with friends.

All in all, I was average.  What I wasn’t, though, was ambitious.  Thankfully, who I am today is a far cry from that person.  I think that Jonathan Safran Foer sums up my thoughts best on how I feel about that period of time, “My greatest regret was how much I believed in the future.”

My problem was that I just expected life to happen a certain way.  Graduate high school, go to college, graduate, get job, etc.  There was no thought on my part that things would happen any other way and, when they inevitably did, I floundered.  I thoroughly believed that the sun would rise again the next day and I would keep moving inexorably towards the next phase of my life.  What happens on the day the sun rises and suddenly you’re 80?  What do you say to yourself then, when you realize that your yesterdays outnumber your tomorrows?

Hindsight being 20/20, I can point to the one thing I dislike most about who I was before.  Frankly, I actually find it to be one of the least attractive qualities anyone can possess.

A lack of ambition.

Now, I’m not defining what any one person’s ambition should be.  If you want to go to Starbucks every day and become a connoisseur of all of their offerings with a specialization in their lemon pound cakes (because you guys, YOU GUYS, they are so damn good) be my guest.  But you better attack that goal daily.

Every single day I do something, anything, to get me closer to my goals.  Even if all I manage to accomplish is one thing, it’s a successful day.

Take fitness as an example; eat right, exercise, learn something new about fitness/nutrition, try something new, etc.  Today, I’m not getting to the gym because its rest day but I am eating right and I’m also going to do a little more research into stretching because I suck pretty hard at that.

All of that = today gets a gold star.

Do something every day that brings you closer to your goal and eventually you’ll get it.

When in doubt, though, here’s my old standby :

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-Moody

You all are in for a treat because this week’s post is basically derived entirely from Jim Carrey’s movie Yes Man.  Which can mean only one thing; the gratuitous use of pictures from Jim Carrey flicks.

Prepare yourself.

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As usual, a little background is in order.  This week I accomplished a goal that I didn’t even know I wanted.  I ran the Glo Run Washington DC 5k with some friends.

It.  Was.  Awesome.

Let me first say that I don’t really enjoy running.  I have to “practice” running, if you will, because it’s not something that I’m naturally good at.  That being said, because I do it somewhat regularly, I’ve gotten decent at it.  When my buddy said he had an extra ticket for this 5k and asked if I wanted to go I said, “Sure, why not?”

This is out of character for me.  I used to be the guy that would find any reason to not do something that I either had no interest in or that, Morgan Freeman forbid, might even challenge me.

          “I can’t because…of… things.  Things I have to do that aren’t that…,”

          “You don’t know me! You don’t know my life!”

           “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!!!” followed by a stomping of feet and a childlike tantrum.

All of these would be suitable methods for me to avoid things.  Lately, though, I’ve been trying a new tact.

Saying, “Yes.”  Turns out it actually works pretty well.

Shocker, I know.

I’ve been pushed, pulled, and straight up dropped out of my comfort zone so many times in the last year I can’t even count them all.  The cool thing is that it usually seems to pay off in some fashion.

In the case of the 5k, I wasn’t so sure.  Most of my training right now focuses on high intensity interval training and not distance running, so I was a little apprehensive about how I was going to do.  Not to mention that a little over a year ago I would have scoffed at the very idea of running a single mile, let alone 3.1.

The .1 matters people… don’t judge me.

So, at the race I started off slow to let my muscles warm up.  I was feeling pretty good, “This ain’t so bad,” I’m thinking.  Then I look around and I have completely left my group behind… or have they left me behind?!  Nope, they’re back there taking selfies (you know who you are, and you know it’s true).  Then I start to realize I’m passing people and—what is this black magic?!—I’m not getting tired?!

BLASPHEMY!

Because I was going to pass up an opportunity to put Morgan Freeman in my blog? Nay.

They said I couldn’t fit Morgan Freeman into my blog twice in one post.  BOOM.

Or…. Not?

Maybe, my work has been paying off.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m actually in shape.

Then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, I’ve finished with a time of 26:13.  That ain’t lightning, I know that, but for me to have run even one sub 9 minute mile a year ago would have been nothing less than a pipe dream.  I had just run 3.1.  YES, 3 POINT 1.

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The takeaway here is that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to achieve this if I had said no.  It was an impulse decision that took two seconds to make and, had I gone the other way, it could have been a missed opportunity.  I wouldn’t be learning what I’m learning in the gym if I told my buddy, “Nope, I’ve never done that so I don’t want to try.”   I wouldn’t be where I’m at now if I hadn’t said, “Yeah, I’ll make a change and I’ll go 100%.”

I mentioned in the last post that I seem to jump into things with both feet, occasionally without looking; I think I should clarify that this is a newly learned behavior.  Certainly, more measured approaches have their time and place, but I’ve learned that sometimes you’ve just gotta go with your gut, take the leap, and see what happens.

Don’t be afraid to jump.

-Moody

 

As with most things I write about, it’s a fickle beast.  One day you’re on top of the world; the next, you’re not leaving bed because… well, this:

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We’ve all been there.

I think it’s pretty easy and common for people to get to a point where they feel like they’re stagnating.  Sometimes one rough day turns into two, then three, and next thing you know it you’ve spent a whole week just not meeting the mark.  The trouble starts not when you have an off day, that happens to everyone; it starts when you begin to question why you’re even bothering.

It would be easy to stop, wouldn’t it?  It would be better to not have to think about what type and how much food you’re eating.  It would be easier to just eat whatever your friends are having instead of going your own way.  It would be nice to not take time out of your already busy day to workout.  Right?

Wrong.

Taking a break from any of these things isn’t the issue.  I’ve written about doing just that, so we know that there are plenty of ways to recharge the batteries.  The issue here is when you’ve done those things, you’ve taken the breaks, you’ve changed things up, and now you’re starting to think it’s not worth the effort.

To be honest, I’m lucky that I haven’t gotten to that point or even approached it with my fitness goals.  I’ve seen people who have though; I’m sure everyone has.   I’ve certainly gotten to that point with other parts of my life in the past.

As per my normal behavior, I’m gonna be a little blunt.

Don’t do that shit.

Don’t.

Do not sit there and tell yourself you’re ready to quit.  You just think you want to quit, but you haven’t really thought it through.  Have you actually done everything you can to succeed at your goal?  Honestly, have you tried everything?  You think long enough and I’m pretty sure you’ll find another way.

I figured out during a conversation the other night that the reason I’ve succeeded at the things I have, and failed utterly at others, all comes down to whether or not I was willing to accept any other outcome.  It comes back to a few words I’ve already written about, Intensity and Focus.

Not to go full hippy on here, but a little self visualization can go a long way.  If you can see yourself at the finish line before you even get started you can’t lose.  It used to go against my very nature to jump in with both feet, but then I did it and it worked.

As for this fitness goal of mine, somebody once called what I’m doing a “fitness kick”.  I don’t really know for sure, but that sounds an awful lot like something that doesn’t last; I’ve kind of gotten over that stage of my life at this point.  What I do know, is that even if I wanted to quit, I couldn’t do it.  I’ve come too far to quit.  I’ve invested too much of myself in this to just give it up.

So, to paraphrase what turned into a rant (sorry, except not really); when you’re ready to quit, think about how far you’ve already come.  Do you really want to give all of that up?

-Moody

In the not so distant past, I wrote an article about listening to your body.  I, being completely biased, think it’s pretty good and has some decent info.

So I promptly ignored it.

I didn’t ignore what my body needed nutritionally; nay, t’was not nearly so subtle.  My body chose to alert me to my stupidity through pain, and lots of it.

Luckily it wasn’t an injury, it was due to me changing up my routine (again).  I started working out with another friend and our plan for that week essentially scorched all of the accessory muscles that I had been ignoring.  These muscles do not take scorn lightly, but I figured, “Meh, I’ll be fine.  Push forward”.

I was wrong (again), which is a trend of mine.

I woke up one day in a state of pure fire the likes of which can only be compared to that of ten thousand burning suns.  All.  Over.  My.  Body.

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I didn’t do a damn thing that day.  On one side, this was okay because it was my scheduled rest day.  On the other however, it could have been avoided.  I know myself well enough to know that it would have taken an injury for me to rest before my rest day, which is stupid.  I also know that, after my two rest days, I felt absolutely fine.  The problem is that I was pushing the outside edge of the envelope.

I like pushing myself, its part of why I’ve succeeded and, I think, a necessity for anyone to be successful at anything.  I also like knowing my limits; this gave me some new insight as to what those are and what things I need to work on.

The lesson I’m walking away with, though, is that I came really close to pushing it a bit too far and hurting myself, which would have been a huge setback for me.

Lots of people, including myself, will tell you that your mind will give out long before your body does.  Even believing that, there is a fine line between when you should push yourself because you are capable of more and when you should rest because your body needs time to recover.

For most people who are hitting the gym 3-4 times a week, this isn’t going to be an issue.  If you are just starting out and haven’t done much in the way of exercise, you’re going to feel those initial workouts a little bit more than someone who has been at it for a while.

I wish I had some definite piece of advice for when you should push yourself versus when you should rest, but I don’t.  All I can do is leave you with the ubiquitous, “Listen To Your Body” mantra.

And hope that you learn from my mistakes (again).

-Moody

I’m disgusted with myself.

Nay, more than that, I’m disappointed in myself.

Now that I’ve brought you back to the worst thing your parents could ever say to you, I’ll clue you in to the source of my misery.

I’ve become a morning person.

I know.   I’m nauseous just writing it.  Some of you understand my shock, but some of you don’t.  So, why is this revelation so awful?

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Because childhood.

There was a day when sleeping half the day away was on my To-Do List, when sleeping in made my day a success, when sleeping in was considered productive in my book.

My dirty little secret?  I like it.

These days, I go to bed excited that I have an alarm set for sometime before 6 (depends on the day) to get me up and to the gym.  I wake up on my off-shift days when I could be sleeping in and go do physical activity.

My 13-year-old self would kick my ass right now for even suggesting such blasphemy.

Despite the betrayal to my inner child, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I love the fact that by the time everyone else is starting their day the hardest part of mine is already over.

The benefits I’ve noticed waking up early and getting to the gym really do outweigh the benefits of sleeping in.  I’m more productive the rest of the day, I have more energy the rest of the day, and the endorphins that I’ve got flowing through me make me much happier than the average Northern Virginian (granted, that’s not saying much.)

Besides those obvious improvements, the most surprising benefit to starting out early is actually my improved sleep habits.  I generally go to bed at a decent hour, I fall asleep, and I stay asleep.  Of course, my current night shift schedule tends to wreak havoc on my circadian rhythm no matter what I do but this certainly helps me on my off days.

Now, I fully understand that everyone’s different and everyone does certain things better at certain times.  No big, if you’re the afternoon/evening gym goer then keep on doing your thing.

I used to be the afternoon gym goer and I changed for two reasons.  First, my workout partner liked the mornings.  Second, my gym is way too damn crowded in the afternoon and as much as I like people, I sometimes kind of can’t stand them.

Okay, really, I just don’t like fighting for equipment at the gym.

That your last set?”

“Yes.  But I am going to sit here and text my girlfriend for the next ten minutes.”

I’m not the only person who feels this way, (obscure reference time!) drummer Martin Atkins’ piece of advice for being successful is, “Get the fuck out of bed.”

Eloquent, elegant, and classy.

If that doesn’t do it for you, take it from a former late sleeper; you might actually like being a morning person.  Give it a shot, worst case scenario you just flip the pillow to cool side and go back to sleep.

-Moody

“Do everything with passion, pride, strength, perseverance, consistency, patience, and rage.  This is the only way to achieve.”

Now, the nerd in me desperately screams that this is not the way of the Jedi.  That may be true, but let’s be real; they were pretty arrogant and got their asses handed to them for a reason.

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Star Wars references aside, I have no idea who first made the statement above but I’ve stumbled across it a number of times while perusing the vast expanses of the interwebz.

Shocker, I completely agree with it.

Fitness is one of my passions.  It consumes my thoughts during my free time; I mean c’mon…I write a blog about it.  I take pride in how I’m taking control of my life.  I have been strong when in the past I would have been weak.  I have persevered though low points.  I have managed to stay consistent in my efforts.  I have learned to have patience with my progress because nothing happens over night.

When I first came across this statement I realized that I had done each of these things without knowing it.  I had utilized each behavior to accomplish my goals and create new ones and the only word that gave me pause was rage.

For those who know me, this should come as no surprise.  I’m generally an easy going person and it takes quite a bit to piss me off.  In the past I could get heated over little things but I’ve largely grown out of that, something I actually attribute to me getting healthy.

Rather than ponder what “rage” meant, I took the next logical step: I Googled it.

Fancy, I know.

A lot of the definitions do talk about anger, but those weren’t the ones that caught my eye.

                    A burning desire or passion.

                    To move with great violence or intensity.

                    To prevail forcefully.

These definitions made sense.

The second definition, though, is what really got me.  All because of one word my soccer coach growing up had stressed to my team.  I will never forget having him stand there and talk to us right before a game or at half time and ask, “What’s that word I’m always talking about?”

The entire team responded with, “Intensity”.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that one word would define my life for both better and worse.  I realize now that when I didn’t give my best in school, when I didn’t care about college like everyone else did, when I allowed myself to become unhealthy, and that when I ever quit anything;

It was because I lacked intensity.

I lacked rage.

Be passionate, take pride, be strong, persevere, stay consistent, have patience, and hold it all together with rage and intensity.  Success will follow.

-Moody

This week, I decided to be adventurous and go trail running.  Most of my running has been done on a treadmill, so actually covering ground felt awesome.  Running itself felt awesome.  Feeling awesome about feeling awesome about running felt awesome, say it slowly and it will make sense.

The root I stepped on did not feel awesome.

 

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It felt like pain, disappointment, anger, silent mockery of my joy at running, and regret.

But mostly pain.

So, I hobbled myself the half mile back to where we were parked and I was about to give up.  I was going to resign myself to my fate of a rolled ankle and wallow in my own misery.  But that didn’t happen.

Have I mentioned how awesome work-out partners are?  It’s true, it’s science; they’re the shit.

He could tell I was angry, the litany of swear words may have clued him in.  He could tell I was disappointed, probably because I told him.  He could tell I felt bad I cut his workout in half, also because I’m an awesome communicator.

He said, “Dude, let’s go lift.”  And it was good.

I’ll admit that it may not have been the brightest idea.  I probably should have gone straight home and elevated, iced, and medicated my ankle.  But I didn’t and it felt manly as hell to have gone to the gym instead.

That being said, I took the next few days off from working out,  gave it the proper rest that it deserved, and posted the obligatory pictures of it on Instagram.  It’s still healing, but I can at least be active on it.

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Now, I tell that story to illustrate a few things.

Number one; rest your injuries, don’t be stupid and do what I did because that could be dangerous.

Number two; get a work-out partner.

Number three; getting in shape is full of up’s and down’s.

That third one is my focus today.  Trials, tribulations, obstacles; whatever you want to call them – they are going to happen.  It’s not even a question.

You don’t have to watch the video below, unless you’re about to work out…then you should totally watch it.

My favorite part : “…it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward.” 

Cheesy?  Yup, but you can’t tell me that Rocky Balboa doesn’t occasionally have a way with words.  That statement, to me, sums up all of the challenges that come with getting healthy.

I read a lot of blogs and articles on being healthy and most of them focus on the physical challenges, much like my example above.  While those certainly are difficult things to overcome, it’s the mental struggle that is always the hardest.

Making the right choices with our food day in and day out, choosing to wake up and go work out rather than sleep in, saying no to getting drunk with our friends, choosing to rest an injury rather than make it worse; all of these things wear down our mental toughness and any of them can cause us to fail.

We will fail.  It’s inevitable.  But, as that quote says, it’s about taking the hit and moving forward.

So, move forward.

-Moody

Which is exactly why you should get a workout partner.

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Of course, the gym doesn’t have to miserable.  Personally, I love going to the gym and look forward to it. I’d be lying, though, if I said there weren’t days when I needed some motivation to actually peel myself from my incredibly comfortable bed and drag my sorry butt to the gym.

Even if the gym isn’t your thing it’s always good to have someone to keep you on track.  I don’t care if you just like to go for a walk in the evenings, having someone text you, “Ready for our walk?” will get you off the couch on those nights you’d rather watch Friends and Seinfeld re-runs.

That is a thing, right? No?  Yeah, I don’t watch those either…

For those of us that do go to the gym, you cannot tell me you haven’t been tempted to cut off a rep or two on that last killer set.  First of all, don’t cheat your sets and reps.  Second, we’ve all been there.  It’s a whole lot harder to sell yourself short when your buddy is the one doing the counting.  It’s also much easier to deal with pain and fatigue when you aren’t doing it on your own.

My workout partner and I pretty much hit the gym together all the time, but there are days when our schedules just don’t match up.  On those days, whoever finishes the workout first seems to throw down the gauntlet to the other via text.

“Knocked out 20 reps at 500 on legs!”

“I hate you.  Challenge accepted.”

It’s not something we plan, but it does make us each push harder when the other isn’t there.

My buddy and his wife have to be the greatest example of workout partners I’ve ever met.  They are in the gym like clockwork every day at 0600 and hit it hard for at least an hour.  Is she anywhere near his level of physical strength?  Nope, but that doesn’t stop her from kicking ass on her sets and pushing him to constantly improve.  Likewise, he pushes her to give her best every set and doesn’t care at all that she’s not pushing the same weight he is.

Frankly, if she was pushing the same weight, it would be the most frightening thing I’ve ever seen.

This brings me to my final point, and really I’m just pointing to a past post.  It’s not about finding a workout partner who lifts what you lift, runs as far or as fast as you run, or even has the exact same goals as you.  It’s about finding someone who pushes you past where you were yesterday and helps hold you accountable to your goals.

-Moody

So far with Relentless, I’ve focused on fairly non- tangible ideas.  While those have their place, I figured it would be worth it to put some practical stuff in here as well.  This post specifically is about my current workout routine.   I do plan on adding another page to the blog about the different workouts I do and, eventually, I also plan to put one up that has some healthy recipes on it that I use.

First off, I’m no cross fitter.  I’ve encountered some elitist attitudes among cross fitters (which, to be fair, also exist in standard gyms) and I feel no need to pay the price of a year’s membership at my gym for one month at a cross fit gym to do workouts that are easily looked up on the internet.  That being said, I know some awesome people who love cross fit, so do you’re thing if that’s what you enjoy.

Sorry, can't resist poking a little fun.  I'll make fun of my fellow gym rats soon enough, don't you worry.

Sorry, can’t resist poking a little fun. I’ll make fun of my fellow gym rats soon enough, don’t you worry.

I tend to do more traditional lifting in the gym; it’s what I was taught, it’s what I enjoy. Since I’m still currently in a cutting phase I’ve been incorporating some circuit training to keep my heart rate elevated, fear not fellow gym goers, my circuits don’t take up more than one piece of equipment at a time.

I like to split my muscle groups up, currently those splits are:

-Legs and shoulders.

-Back and biceps.

-Chest and triceps.

On any given day I start with cardio on the treadmill.  I’m not going for insane here, nor is it even about distance.  I jog for 20 minutes.  Whatever the fastest pace is that I can do and reach 20 minutes, I do.  I’ve noticed that this has drawn my focus away from distance and turned it towards endurance.  Consequently, this has allowed me to increase my speed and endurance at the same time without sweating the details that the digital treadmills like to inundate you with.

Tip: Cover up the readout of the treadmill with your towel once you get it all set up, that way you aren’t stressing over the numbers. 

After that, I pick two workouts per muscle group.  I pretty much go with whatever me and my partner are feeling for that day.  I know, “How do you get into a proper routine by not doing the same workouts for weeks at a time?”  I hear what your saying and when it comes to the goal of putting on muscle mass I completely agree with being more regimented in which lifts I perform.  The purpose of this particular style of workout, for me, is to burn fat and not lose a lot of muscle mass while doing it.

For this example we’ll go with Chest and Triceps.

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Sorry it’s small (zing!), sometimes WordPress defeats me, click on it to enlarge it

What this shows is that between each set of every exercise I do 30 seconds of jump rope and 30 seconds of some abs exercise.  When it comes to abs I tend to mix it up and do something different between each different exercise i.e. decline sit ups, flutter kicks, leg raises, etc.

You don’t have to jump rope.  If a treadmill is convenient you can run for 30 seconds, if a bench is nearby you can do step ups.  The goal is to keep the heart-rate elevated throughout the entire workout rather than rest between each set.  Now, it may seem counter-intuitive, but I think you’ll find that you recover from the actual weight lifting portion faster with these intervals.  I would say that it has something to do with increased blood-flow but then I’d be talking way above my pay-grade, for all I know it’s all in my head.

Also, while the goal is to keep the pulse elevated that does NOT mean it’s time to compromise form on the lift for speed.  That’s what the intervals of cardio and ab work are for.  When I get to the lift portion of the circuit, I slow down and control my movements.

While not the main goal, I’ve seen decent gains in strength by doing workouts like these, but my overall cardio level and my core strength have gone up by leaps and bounds while also causing my fat levels to drop.  My gym partner and I are only continuing this for about another week, which will bring us up to 4 weeks total on this plan before we switch to a program designed to build more lean muscle mass.

Sadly, it isn’t over yet.  To finish up this workout, me and my partner head to the weight machine area of our gym to squeeze out any last bits of effort we’ve got.   We finish up with three rounds of the following exercises done in another circuit fashion, one exercise after the other:

-Standing Calves Raise

-Machine Biceps Preacher Curl

-Triceps Dips

-Another core ab exercise, preferably one we haven’t hit yet

I’m sure that there are other better workouts to accomplish what I’ve written here, but my workout buddy showed me this routine and it kicked my ass.  Naturally, I enjoyed that and decided to keep it up.  By all means, search the internet and talk to your friends to find a workout that accomplishes the goals you have in mind.

-Moody