Triathlon Sprint & Discomfort

Humans were created to do incredible things and given the unique gift of forming their own existence. Anything that forces fear, discomfort, nervs of doing something you have never done before will make you push yourself. It is exactly the place you need to go to for growth. When you put yourself in these sittuations and put in the preperation it takes, you get the experience of the process that goes into getting it. You also gain the incredible confidence boost and momentum that comes along with accomplishing it as well.

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A human with confidence, building momentum, not afraid to step up and put themselves in sittuations of challenge for growth, is a scary thing.

I think every 6 months (at least) we must put ourselves through personal challenges. Fitness related. Nutrition related. Job related. Personal life. Hobbies etc. Any challenge is a good challenge.

The past 6 weeks I have been training for a Triathlon Sprint in Wildwood NJ.
(.25 swim/ 10 mile bike / 3.1 run)
I got to grow my relationship with my best friend Brian and Brandon, and a lot of my clients (team) by getting into the trenches with them all to prepare.

In the true confession category I dont really know how to swim and to a degree fear it. It was the weak link for me yesterday for sure. Next year I am going higher a swim coach to help myself get better. 6 weeks ago I would say things limiting my potential like I’m not good at biking or running. So I almost made the mistake of not doing this yesterday. However we are products of what we think and our actions. So thanks to my amazing team I became a biker and runner. I tell you this just as another reminder that just because you are not good at something, if you put in the work and your mind to it you can accomplish it.

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The TRAINING:
This type of training can be great for anybody who simply wants to maintain staying “ready” for anything fitness related that may be thrown at them at anytime. Great for movement addicts, endurance atheletes and fat loss clients.

Weeks 1&2 (low capacity/low internsity/frequency )
So we did everything in half at a moderate pace for simplicity.  1x a week. We also lifted 2x a week to prevent injury. Exercises such as squats, lunges, chin ups, push ups, lunges, etc…

Weeks 3&4 (full capacity. Moderate intensity. Moderate frequency)
Now we did the actual course, at full speed or slightly under, 2x a week. We also lifted 2x a week. So you can expect to feel like you are truly getting ready during this time.

Week 5 (full capacity . Low frequency. HIGH intensity)
This week we did the course as hard as we could just 1x that week. Then focused on lifting 3x a week. Also just keeping an aerobic base of simple bike rides etc.

Week 6 (low capacity. Low internsity. High frequency.)
The final week the focus was on maintaining our aerobic base by staying aerobic, nutrition and not over doing it. Lifting or aerobic training. So we did low level light road work. Such as running for duration. Kayaking. Biking. Long bouts of aerobic work.

As far as a challenge, yesterday was very difficult. So difficult I think there is so much more that I can do in life in general now because of it. Not to mention I had a blast with amazing people. Next year I will be doing the full triathlon. 1 mile swim. 20 mile bike. 6.2 mile run.

Keep challenging yourself everybody!

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Little Less / Little More

More or Less….

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Training comes down to variables and the proper dose. Each individual is its own case study.

Although it’s overly simplicit. Often times the way you feel should be an indicator if your program, nutrition, and life style are suitable for you.

Here’s some key elements that you either need more of or less of (believe it or not)
to increase your results….

RESISTANCE TRAINING
(muscle building – not enough intensity or frequency  or too often to much volume?

ACTIVITY LEVEL
(long low intensity cardio) If your resting heart rate is above 60 beats per minute start implementing this. It will help you decrease stress and recover better.
(30 to 90mins 120-150 heart rate)
Also on one hand  is this all you ever do or are you the never implement it ever person?

HIGH INTENSITY WORK
High stress people should do this less frequently. Not never. Just less times than they probably are per week. Same with high intensity athletes. Your sympathetic  (fight or  flight nervous system needs a break)
(conditioning/lifting) (160+ Heart Rate)

Nutrition

CARBS (less bread,dough,pasta, grains for fat loss/ more oatmeal, sweet potatoes, at breakfast and after training for mesamorphs)

FATS less from salty fried foods more from avocados, almonds, fish, eggs

PROTEINS (more of your calories should start here or come from here more than likely)

WATER (1/2 your body weight in fluid ounces)

Sleep
Duration / Quality

Stress relief
Fun
Getting things done
Promising less
Orginaztion
Socializing
Relationships

We are products of the extreme or depreviation, rather than moderation. Fill your bucket up the perfect amount. If you dont have enough water in the bucket fill it up a bit. If you have to much water dump some out.

Stimulation & The Woods

Once a week I try to get into nature. Like out there. Way out there. “Nowhere land.” I go everywhere, parks, the woods, trails wherever. Somewhere that my cell phone doesn’t get service and my mind is forced to go into deep thought. I then come up with the most FUN work out I can think of and try not to structure it too much. I let whatever happens simply happen. Opposite of the way we live our lives. Which is very structured and pre-determined as you know. I give the work out a name and then I go and attack.

kayak

I do this to build physical and mental toughness. I take a cross training approach and mix in various forms of strong man training (rock carrying, log flipping) and also mix in gymnastic style body weight movements. Push Ups, tree climbing, chin ups on bridges for a few examples.

Humans were not created to sit in front of computers or become subject to a reality TV shows brain washing us on how to think, interact and socialize. We also weren’t created to eat food put inside a box that will never get old because of all the chemicals placed in it. We were created for movement, brain power and constant positive stimulation causing growth. We should never take that for granted.

tyler park

I try to keep the experience FUN , use it as a getaway and allow for it to provide those forms of stimulation. For instance, more times than not I do this by myself. This way it is a good opportunity for me to remove myself from the fast paced world, traffic, technology that we are accustom too.

High intensity training is not always the answer. If you are a follower of my blogs you have read some of my info discussing the importance of having high training days and low training days. These days, I actually do tend to keep on the harder/higher intensity side. Build a huge endorphin rush, sweat my shirt off, and run/walk/bike/climb/crawl/kayak, all throughout the most beautiful spots of nature I can find. I want that true “ME vs ME experience.”

Your mind simply works different during these times. Your body feels and reacts different. You are forced to progress as a human. Your world slows down. You gain confidence and a weird ultimate respect for the privilege of movement and the earth. Over the past 2 week some of my hardest workers came with me. It was incredible the way we all were enjoying the rush as a unit.

Let your mind and body exert. Get the rush and benefits of the stimulation this provides!

STAYING READY & KEEPING WEIGHT OFF

“Staying Ready”

People ask me all the time how I lost my 60/70 pounds…..losing the weight is tough but keeping it off is another thing.

stay ready

Besides staying true and consistent to habits that helped get the weight off, such as water, sleep, nutrition, training, one thing I focus on is what I like to call/refer to as “staying ready challenges.” I try to do some sort of “staying ready” work out or training regimen 2 to 5x a month. This just holds me accountable to staying into shape, eating correctly, and is a good randomized 2 to 5x a month. This just holds me accountable to staying into shape, eating correctly, and is a good randomized tester to see where I stand throughout the year! Not to mention just in case someone asks me to come run a 5k for a charity or do some sort of event on a short notice, I won’t have the excuses lined up, won’t hurt myself, and will perform pretty well!

The idea here is to randomly go for a 20 mile bike ride one day. Maybe do 100 Dead Lifts for time, the next “staying ready challenge.” A 6 mile hike the next “staying ready challenge.” Or for instance what I did today where I randomly ran 5 miles….. Let me know if you have any questions!

PUTTING ON SIZE

This is one of our trainers at FF Sean Merz. He dropped from 208 sloppy and a bad diet of crap food to 180 via clean eating and exercise. Over the past several months he went on a hypertrophy (body building style protocol) and has packed on some serious muscle. He now weighs 201 and 11.9% body fat. This process took about 2 years! In this blog I will talk to you as brief as possible about a simple approach to building muscle. Also some factors that go into it.

sean merz

FACTORS:

Genetics: If your parents are shorter and thinner chances are you will be too. If your parents have big arms or legs, chances are you will too. If your parents became obese vs skinny fat chances are you will too (unless you do something about it of course.) The reality is that what works for one person may not work for the next. Each person is different!

The truth is it is often WAY harder to gain 10 pounds of muscle then to lose 10 pounds of fat! Both are difficult but in most cases the body physiologically adapts to dropping some lbs, way faster and easier than what goes into building muscle.

Add some activity level, full body fat loss training, movement, cut the calories, eat cleaner and boom you will be down some weight. Fat loss could take a few weeks, and in some cases depending on the person a few days! To build muscle you need a specific, consistent approach when it comes to training and program design. You also better get ready to eat often and consume way more food! So now you’re going into a caloric surplus vs a caloric deficit! This could take years!

NUTRITION APPROACH:

If you want to gain weight you need to eat like the weight you want to be! So if you weigh 150 and want to be 250 you need to eat like it. That could be a HUGE difference in the amount of calories you consume each day. The average 250lb male for instance could consume as much as 3500/4000 calories a day! Too get more calories into you you’re going to have to make big changes! Which will be way harder than you think. Below are some ideas for you……

#1 eat more often maybe every 2/3 hours

#2 Eat foods high in nutrients that are calorically dense. For example a 6oz piece of chicken has about 300 calories and 20/30 grams of protein. If you are someone who only eats 1 piece during your meal, it’s time to start eating 3 pieces. Just like that you can get an additional 600 calories and 40+ grams more of protein in your sitting!

#3 eat larger portions (similar point to above) – use shakes, blenders etc if you can’t chew it

#4 eat before bed

TRAINING APPROACH:

Reps / Sets/ Time Under Tension

Think about using 6 to 10 reps a set and make your sets last 40 to 70 seconds. You can do this by lowering the weights down for 2 seconds and then raising the weights up for 2 seconds. If you are doing 10 reps that’s 40 seconds of tension. If you do 3 seconds down and 3 seconds up that’s 6 seconds a rep and 60 seconds over 10 reps.

Set Types:

There are many sets and rep schemes you can use and play with. That could be a blog on its own. For simple to understand purposes and 2 quick ideas for you to use try Compound Sets & Giant sets!

Compound sets 2 exercises focusing on similar muscle groups. An example of this if the chest was the muscles you were trying to target, could be a bench press to a push up!

A Giant set is similar however a series of 4 exercises focusing on the same muscle groups. This is a tough way to train. However will pump blood into those muscles like you can’t imagine. Lets use a chest work out again, think bench into push up, into DB incline bench, into dips leaning forward!

Loads:

For the people who are unsure of whether to lift heavy for a few reps or moderate weights for moderate reps or light weights for high reps…….the answer is all of these rep zones help. Don’t forget each person is different! If I were to pick I would go with moderate reps / moderate weights / moderate reps more sets!

For those of you who wonder what each rep zone does for the body here ya go…….

Moderate weights will create tension. Utilize Squeezing the muscles and going through full ranges of motion. Feel the tension so to speak. The constant tension increases the blood into the muscles as mentioned earlier.

Heavier weight or new exercises or working your muscle from a different angle could cause what is called muscular damage. Causing muscle fiber damage and swelling in a good way.

Lighter weights come from Metabolic Stress which is the pump and buildup of lactic acid to your muscles. This is called metabolic stress.

REST TIME:

Then only rest 60 to 90 seconds between rest before performing the next set. You want to use volume as your friend! So 4 or 5 sets of 10 reps (40 or 50 reps) would serve you better than 3 sets of 10 (30 reps) in this case.

 

Hope all of this blog helps! Great job Sean!

 

Cut These and Do These

Machines can be beneficial in a few situations but for the most part I would steer clear of them as we sit too much throughout the day as it is. Some machines are worse than others. Here are a few I would not do and what you should do instead! Hope this helps!

SEATED ROTATIONAL AB AND CRUNCH MACHIENES

Seated ab machines can create lower back problems because they rotate the area beyond a safe range of motion. Your lumbar spine can only twist 13 degrees—that’s less than one hour on a clock. Turning beyond that puts massive strain on your vertebrae, and, combined with the resistance of the machine, can quickly become more than your back can bear. Your lower back is actually designed to resist twisting, not generate it.

Instead perform planks and side planks!

ab crunch

PLANKS

LEG EXTENSION/PRESS MACHIENE’S

It places dangerous torque on your knee joints because it pulls your shins back as you lower the weight. Also, knee extensions develop an imbalance between your quads and hamstrings, which causes knee problems. As you move, your quads always work with other muscles, never in isolation—even when you kick a soccer ball, you flex your hips, twist your trunk, and stabilize through your other leg.

Better options are front or back squats, lunges, step ups, split squats and rear foot elevated split squats!

leg press

front squat

LEG CURL MACHIENE

Your hamstrings are built to work with your glutes to create movement. Seated or prone leg curl machines, however, ignore your glutes, which increases your risk of hamstring pulls and knee injuries. By isolating the hamstrings alone, they become tight and overactive over time. The best exercises to build strong hamstrings also maintain hip extension and glute activation

Swiss Ball Leg Curls are a great option instead!

LEG CURL

SWISS BALL LEG CURL

SEATED AB/AD DUCCTOR MACHIENES

The seated abductor and adductor machine is both weird and bad. By forcing your legs to open and close, you put a lot of stress on your hip capsules and IT bands. A better way to strengthen your abductors and adductors is to stand on one leg: not only are you activating those muscles to keep your leg stable, but you’re also activating your core.

1 Leg Dead Lifts / Lunges / Lateral Lunges / Single leg squats are better options!

AB DUCCTOR

SPLIT SQT

LAT PULL DOWN MACHIENE

This machine can be beneficial to teaching scapula rhythm, control, upward and downward rotation and truly learning how to vertically pull. Also to pack on some muscle I like to do high rep lat pull downs for my back every here and there! However, from a strictly strength stand point, once you can pull your own body weight, it would benefit you more to do chin ups and pull ups than a Lat Pull down. As some trainers would consider the lat pull down they would only use in a rehab situation for those who need assistance. To read further on this stance check out my blog on Pull Ups that can be located here ……..https://finisherfitness.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/pull-ups/

lat pull down

CHIN UP

I hope this blog helped! Any questions feel free to ask!

 

Ingredients

3 Ingredients To An Effective Training Program

Effective training programs will incorporate periodization, specificity, and overload, while avoiding overtraining.

Periodization:

Switching it up is important for boredom and plateau. However, you must constantly present a block devoted to a new training stimulus to the body forcing it to repeatedly adapt. For example do pushups until you are good at them. If you only do them every so often you will never get better at them and adapt.

ingredients

Specificity:

A “little of this and a little of that” can be helpful and your body can benefit from a small dose of everything, but sometimes you must train for a specific, desired outcome. You will train differently to build muscle mass than you would to improve performance. You would train differently if you wanted to run a marathon as opposed to play football.

Progressive Overload:

If the body is not given an overload, it will not adapt. If there is no adaptation, you will not get any stronger or any more conditioned than you already are. Did you get eight reps at 100lbs last time? Try for nine today, or try to get eight reps at 105lbs. Keep it basic. Simple. One step at a time.

Hope this helps!

THE BUSY PERSON WHO HAS NO TIME

NUTRITION:
At night sit down with your family and eat. Other than that, leave stuff like this in your car to grab and go. Get a gallon water jug too.
FOOD
TRAINING:
Way to many people look way to far into this. I admit if you have more time to train and can devote more specificity to training it helps, BUT if 10/20 minutes is all you got than it is all you got. If 2 days a week is all you can do than it is what it is. However to not do anything at all because you only have 10 minutes or 2/3 days a week is silly. You will continue to feel lethargic, not sleep well at night, burn calories and never get the emdorphine rush that comes with a quick effective work out!
Try this plan…..
Weight lifting options:
#1 full body circuit
(6 to 12 reps 10-20 minutes)
CHIN UP (or face pull)
DEAD LIFT VARIATION
OVER HEAD PRESS
#2 full body circuit
(6 to 12 reps 10-20 minutes)
DUMBELL ROW
SQUAT VARIATION
BENCH PRESS VARIATION
FAST BODY WEIGHT CIRCUITS:
Option A
(10 minutes) no warm up simply body weight squats 10 reps into / 10 push ups / into 10 Sit Ups 5-10 rounds (start slow, once you feel good after a little go hard)
Option C
(10 minutes)
Burpee 5 reps / alternating lunges 5 reps each / 5 dips on bed or bench / planks
AEROBIC OPTIONS
Option A:
10 to 20 minutes walking, jog or run. No texting. Push it.
Option B:
Hills/stairs or some sort of incline….
(walk or run them)
10 mins ( no warm up start slow then go hard as you loosen up)
CHECK THIS OUT…..
If you do 1 cardio option / 1 body weight circuit and 1 weight training option a week thats a total of 30 minutes. It may not be optimal, however not to be cliche but it is 100% better than nothing and you will feel WAY better about yourself and energy level wise.
Or maybe just start with 1 – 10 minute work out a week. Trust me it is worth it to find the short amount of time to do this now, rather than later on in life, spending your time with health care issues.
Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions!

Perceived Exertion

General questions in the strength and conditioning world go something along the lines of “hey should I go hard on this, or pace myself?” “Should I take a short rest period or long rest period?” “How much weight? ” “How many reps?”

Perceived-Exertion-Chart

Only YOU know your body best. Only YOU honestly know what you ate, how you slept, what you did the day before and how your body is feeling, so YOU must decide and dictate your Exertion. One of the main concepts to understand about training is that each day is different and every person, every work out, every situation, every day, DEPENDS!

Using a scale from 1 to 10, you choose a rating number to describe how hard the activity feels. You base the number on how tired you are, how hard it is to breathe, and how hard it is to do the activity.

How you slept the night before, what you did the day before, how you ate, what exactly you are training for (your goals) should all be factored into this equation. For example, if you didn’t sleep much the night before and you have go work out at 5am, you should use the lower end of the scale or you will obviously leave feeling “ran into the ground” for simplicity.

If you use a 10 when you shouldn’t you may get away with this for a work out or two. However eventually you will over train. Over training leads to lack of frequency in the gym, overuse injuries, sleep disruption, overall fatigue and potential weight gain. On the other hand using too low of an exertion on days where your body and mind felt good to go, will lead to under training and obviously you will not reach your goals.

Hope This Helps!

 

 

EXERCISE EXECUTION & SQUATTING

 

As the days go on, and the more I practice lifting for my personal benefit and training clients, the more I think that we should DO LESS however do it harder! Yes you heard that correctly. My best work outs come when I keep my training session short, selecting 1 exercise and I ATTACK it! On every rep and every set focus on perfection. Feeling the mind muscle connection, proper positioning and use GREAT form only.

front squat

Yes you heard that correctly. Just because you performed 47 different variations of a Squat for example, doesn’t mean you worked harder than if you just focused on executing the Squat to perfection that day.

How often do we actually see this practiced? Think about it. How often do you go to public gyms and see poor posture reps, lack of stability in the exercise and a weight being used that doesn’t seem like it can be managed. More often than you would like to admit I’m sure. We also see these people for a month or 2 then never to be seen until next year. As these habits prevent longevity and cause over training.

Instead of your typical 3 sets of 10, followed by the next leg exercise and then followed by the another halfhearted leg exercise, just to make you feel like you’re doing more – try this…..

Back Squat 1 warm up set, 2×3 with a heavy load that forces you to work as hard as possible to get it up 

2×3 with a heavy load that forces you to work as hard as possible to get it up

2x 6to8 reps with a weight that you use for building muscle

20 reps with a lighter weight.

Finishing with 1 set of a 30sec to a minute, where you hold at the bottom of the Squat to finish yourself off.

Training like this from a mental and physical forces focus and pure execution, hits a strength, muscle, quick twitch, slow twitch, aerobic & anaerobic, spectrum. Then go home, eat clean, hydrate, get great sleep, and recover! Give it a shot!