Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another Random Workout

Wednesday 4/21/10

Tuck planche holds: 10x3 seconds
Adv. front tuck lever pull-ups: 6x3
Pistols: 1x5 (BW), 1X5 @ 17lbs., 1x5 @ 35lbs., 1x2 at 55lbs.
Full range of motion HSPU's: 3x3
Standing wheel rollouts: 3x3 (two arm), 3x2 (one-arm_

This was a good workout. It was intermixed with push-ups, pull-ups, dips, free standing handstands on the parallettes, straight-leg and straddle L-sits, support holds on the rings, kicks and elbows to the heavy bag and some standing wheel rollouts. I'm getting very close to being able to do a one-arm standing wheel rollout. We'll see. Still no article ideas yet. Maybe in a few days.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Long sprint workout


My garage workout today consisted of gymnastics, kettlebell lifting and heavy bag work. I held a free standing handstand today on parallelettes for over 30 seconds.

My track workout today consisted of 2x400m sprints, 2x300m sprints and 2x200m sprints with 5 minutes rest between sprints. My time has increased a bit but there can be a number of reasons why. I will run some long sprints in a couple of weeks again and see if my times aren't back down again. I figure they probably will be.

Nothing good (as far as articles go) has really crossed my mind to write on. This has been sort of an "off" week and am still trying to get back on track. Hopefully, I will post something soon.

Short sprint workout


10 sprints at 10 seconds each with 5 minutest rest between sprints. In between sprints I performed various body weight and gymnastic exercises along with some kettlebell throws, swings, presses, snatches and cleans with the 17lb. and 35 kettlebells. This was one of my best workouts yet.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Sporatic Past Couple of Weeks and Some Observations

I've kind of been overdoing it the past few weeks with exercise, going out and food.

Too much cardio.
I've been doing a little too much kickboxing and other various metabolic conditioning routines, usually for consecutive days with little rest and a little too intense. I think subconsciously I've been doing this to counteract all the little indulgences I've been engaging in a bit too frequently.

Not enough sprinting;
once every two weeks (I like to do it once a week). Because of my ridiculous cardio workouts, I've been too sore and stiff to get out and really do what I enjoy, sprint! I also find that when I perform too much cardiovascular exercise, I don't have the energy (or sometimes desire) to do my other favorite activity that I love, SURFING! I plan to get back to both... more sprinting (a reasonable amount) and more surfing. They both keep me sane.

Not enough body weight stuff.
I've been missing my bar and ground acrobatics and love mixing this up with the sprints. Handstands, pull-ups, push-ups, dips, levers, planches, flags, all the crazy gymnastics and circus stuff. I feel like Tarzan or an ape when I do this stuff! It's my thing.

TOO MUCH WINE, CHEESE, AND SUGAR! Yep, definitely been indulging with these too much and it certainly has taken its toll. Mood has been fairly inconsistent, (mostly bad and negative) and sleep has sucked. The cheese isn't really too much of a problem, the problem is that I usually like to couple the cheese with copious amount of red wine... which then leads to copious amounts of cheese which then leads to... not good.

I upped my sugar intake again in my coffee, TOO MUCH, and have been doing dessert a little too frequently. Again, I notice this mostly with poor sleep, waking up groggy and lowered energy levels.

My wife and I have been going out too much. Well, not really, compared to what we used to do. But, I've been getting that "feeling" you get when you know you're spending money on stuff you don't need (material goods) or on restaurant food (which is NEVER as good as a home cooked meal) and you feel like you just wasted both your time and money. Yep, too much of that.

With that being said, it's time to get back to simplicity. I find that when you simplify or limit certain things in your life, you appreciate all that you indulge in (and most everything else for that matter) that much more when you do indulge. Some things I like to do when simplifying my life are:

- Limit T.V., Internet, and most electronic stimuli as a form of entertainment. 90 percent (probably more than that) of what is on T.V., talk radio, the Internet, etc. is all crap and only complicates peoples lives. Turn that stuff OFF!

- Eat real, whole, natural food; meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. This comes easy to me. Boxed stuff doesn't taste good and is loaded with junk. When you REALLY eat well, as described by the food choices above, I find that I really don't want much of the crap, it just doesn't even taste good.

- Limit sugar, desserts, coffee and alcohol. My sweet-tooth is my weakness. Must defeat! I only do coffee in the morning and not too much, I just put too much sugar in it! Alcohol is also not a problem, but it can mess with sleep and I get enough disturbances with that through my job so, I can use all the quality sleep I can get. Which brings me to...

- Go to bed early and get adequate sleep. Try to wind down with a book, some low music or some good conversation with family. Don't watch Hannity and then think your mind is going to be clear of mindless thoughts while lying in bed.

- Limit exercise but when I do partake, make the sessions count; i.e. short, fast, intense bursts of strength, speed and power... and do it all outside. My favorite (and what I believe is the BEST way to stay in great shape) workout is to get outside, sprint barefoot, and mix it up with body weight exercise. There is absolutely no reliance on a gym, equipment, (even shoes in my case) or a huge block of time. 20-30 minutes of brief, all-out sprints with some push-ups, pull-ups, dips, mixed in out in the natural sunlight is ALL you really need to look and feel great.

- Walk more, not just around the neighborhood, but at social events; farmer's markets, festivals, the beach, etc. Change the environment. Walking briskly for 30 minutes to an hour is all fine and well but it's certainly not needed all the time or for that matter, the majority of time. I like to get out and leisurely stroll around various venues when I can; farmer's markets, art galleries/walks, the beach, nature trails, the mall (preferably outdoors), festivals, etc. Doing it with your spouse and/or family, friends or your dog (he falls under family for me) always makes it more enjoyable.

- Spend more quality time with family and friends. A lot of people spend all their time worrying about getting the right kind or enough exercise or eating the perfect foods or choosing the perfect diet and miss whats mostly important - family and friends. Yes, other cultures from around the world that have longevity as a commonality between them certainly have common factors such as eating real, whole food and staying active daily. But, what we as Americans fail to recognize is the sense of family and community with which these cultures have in common as well. This, I believe, along with a strong faith in a higher power (something bigger than yourself) whatever that may be, is what truly allows these various cultures to live happy, energetic and long lives. Not just Americans, but Western society as a whole, places the most emphasis and spends the most money on looking a certain way, eating a certain way, and just living a certain way that we're completely missing the boat to what truly matters. With so much emphasis placed on these things, you would think that we'd be leading the pack when it comes to health and longevity but that couldn't be further from the truth. So, put down you Cosmopolitan and Men's Health magazines, call your parents, siblings, spouse, children or friends, grab a cup of coffee, go take a walk and have some good conversation. Just... hold the sugar!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Broccoli and Squats?

In a conversation with my wife over dinner the other night, she brought up the fact (after I made it for the 1000th time) that she hates broccoli. Basically, she eats it because she "knows it's healthy." Our conversation then transpired into that of nutrition and exercise and what's good for you and not. I explained how I've always hated squats, and that some time ago, I really just did them because squats were always considered the "end-all-be-all" of exercises and I thought they were good for me. We both came to the conclusion that 1. she hates broccoli and I like it, and 2. I hate doing squats, but she likes them. So, with that, you may be asking yourself, "what do broccoli and squats have in common?" Well, not much really. One's green, rather nutritious and you eat it. The other, depending on who you ask, may require you to squat down with a significant amount of weight across your back, on your shoulders, held out in front of you or even no weight at all for a prescribed amount of reps and sets perhaps performed a few times a week. So, if you're a broccoli hater and you despise squats then read on, this article may pertain to you.

Most of the time both are touted, whether by an expert in the diet industry or an expert in the fitness industry as being absolutely necessary for optimal health and functioning. I disagree. There are certainly many benefits to consuming broccoli and performing squats on a regular basis but some people just don't like either. Are they missing something?

According to The Commodity Spotlight: Agricultural Outlook/April 1999, broccoli is regularly identified as the vegetable eaten most often for health reasons, including cancer prevention. In addition, consumers often specify high fiber content as the reason to purchase broccoli. Broccoli, carrots, and sweet potatoes are routinely identified by consumers as the three vegetables with greatest nutritional benefits. USDA's nutritional information (not that we always trust the USDA around here: )) confirms that consumer perceptions of broccoli's nutritional value are correct. Broccoli's fiber content is one of the highest among vegetables, and 100 grams of broccoli contains 75 percent more vitamin C than an equal amount of orange, with one medium stalk (148 kg) providing 200 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, 16 percent of recommended dietary fiber, and 10 percent of recommended vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. So, where are the negatives? Why not eat broccoli? I'll get to that in a minute.

"The squat has been the most important yet most poorly understood exercise in the training arsenal for a very long time. The full range of motion (F-ROM) exercise known as the squat is the single most useful exercise in the weight room, and our most valuable tool for building strength, power, and size. The squat is so effective an exercise because of the way it uses the muscles around the core of the body." Correctly performed, the "squat perfectly balances all the forces around the knees and the hips, using these muscles in exactly the way the skeletal biomechanics are designed for them to be used, over their anatomically full range of motion." Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, 2nd edition by Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore. . So, why not engage in such a perfect exercise?

Bear in mind, both of the sources that I quoted from are riddled with information and what I have provided as benefits to both merely scratches the surface. The second source, Starting Strength, is an exceptional read for those wishing to become stronger, more muscular and overall athletic and the chapter on squats alone is almost 60 pages.

So, why not eat broccoli and why not perform squats? In short, because you simply don't have to, ESPECIALLY, if you don't like to. So many people in our society in pursuit of health, fitness or just a desire to look good, are constantly told to eat this, do that, and IF you eat this and IF you do that, you will be uber-healthy and fit and look amazing. Well, what if you don't like broccoli and what if you don't like or have access to do heavy-weighted squats? The truth is that there are literally thousands of foods to choose from, whether they be vegetables, fruits, meats, nuts, seeds, dairy, and yes MAYBE...- MAYBE some grains that can provide all the nutrients and health benefits you need without ever having to ingest broccoli. Don't like squats? Then don't do them. People constantly fail at their brand new "New Year's Resolution" goals by choosing to do things they really hate. If you don't like it, chances are you're not going to stick with it for the long haul. Find something you truly enjoy. Like the many great food alternatives to broccoli, there are so many great alternative exercises to squats. Some of the most beautiful bodies in the world have been developed by body-weight exercise alone and many of us, simply don't have the time, means, money or access to a gym with all the fancy weights and machines.

So, after your next beach workout of sprints , push-ups and pull-ups under the pier, (notice, no squats) and you find yourself out to dinner with your spouse faced with staying on the healthy track, but you just can't seem to stomach the side of broccoli, don't hesitate to choose something different and that tastes good to you. Regularly engaging in activities that you love and choosing healthy foods that you enjoy will keep you motivated to continue on your healthy path to wellness and longevity.

For additional information on broccoli and other foods you can visit the Nutrition Data website.

For additional information on squatting and other weightlifting exercises you can click on the link above in the article, or simply visit and buy the book.