Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lifting heavy stuff

We got further in Starting Strength last night and it felt pretty good. I squated 155 lbs, and for the first time I'm thinking that I may have to switch the 5 lb additions pretty soon. 155 felt like a lot, and my legs are feeling it today. I'm going to try 165 tomorrow, but we'll see where I'm at next week.

I shoulder pressed 120, which was my first official +5 addition. 120 was a lot of weight, but it didn't feel impossible and I got all 15 reps ( 3 sets of 5) completed. I'm very curious how I do on 125 on Monday.

Finally I deadlifted 185, and this one actually felt great! The guys said my form was solid, which is huge on this lift, and I felt really great about my progress on this. 195 next week! I'm ready!

One thing I've really been noticing is that the sets get easier as I do them. The 155 squats were so hard on the first set, but by set 3 they felt a lot easier. Same exact thing on the shoulder press, and the bench press on Monday. As hard as things are, I feel like my muscles just need a moment to get used to the weight. Keeping the mentality that it gets easier as I move forward really has been helping me get things done on these lifts.

Also a few quick notes. We started the workout by going to the park behind my house and doing a jog. I hate jogging, and halfway through decided to say "screw it". I brought the agility ladder and ran some drills in the grass. That was fun, but either the squats or the running has destroyed my legs today. Not workout sore - actually sore. I think I twisted something wrong.

With that in mind, note 2 is that I'm thinking about taking tonight off. It would just be one random cardio workout since I haven't done my usual cardio all week, and frankly I think I need a break. It's been a very taxing (emotionally and physically) three weeks and I am beat. So I'm thinking tonight I'll take off, tomorrow I'll lift, Saturday I'll take off, and I'll be back into my usual 3 days of cardio on Sunday. Then again, I might be feeling feisty tonight and if I do I'll just do a quick workout. But ya, that's the current plan.

Also one more quick thing, our friend Jacqi decided to join us for lifting last night. She did the bar for most of the lifts, but she did great! If she sticks with this I bet she'll be catching up to us in no time.

That's all I've got. Bring it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Starting Strength Week 3 begins!

We got into things strong last night. We started with squats at 145 (again, the most I've ever done) and I've gotta say that I'm digging squats. Don't get me wrong, they are hard, but every time I do them they feel exactly as hard as the workout before. Considering I'm adding 10 lbs each time, the fact that it feels the same is excellent. I'm hoping to keep this progression up for a few more weeks to get my squat over 200!

My bench press felt good too. I repeated 175 from last week as I wasn't too thrilled with my form. Last night I was actually stoked with my reps, which all touched my chest, and it felt good to do real bench presses. After this I'm adding 5 lbs instead of 10, so wish me luck on 180 on Friday. That will be the most I've ever done ever!

And chinups were awesome last night. I did one set of 7 and two sets of 6. Seven blew my mind! I have never done that many chinups at once, and they were all real, legit chinups. I love how much stronger I'm getting.

We rounded out the workout with 15 minutes of abs, but unfortunately my head was killing me by the end of the workout. After that I actually got really dizzy too. I didn't eat much yesterday, but I wonder how much the weights impacted me. I'll keep an eye on my diet for Wednesday's workout.

Today is Tuesday, but I'm taking a day off from working out to catch up on rest. Back into the swing of things tomorrow! Bring it!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Rounding out Week 2

Last Friday we moved up in weights on everything and it felt great.

First off, we squated 135. All of us (except Vince, since he's a week behind us), and seriously it felt just as heavy as week 1. Not impossible at all. I love it!

My overhead press made it to 115, and that got a little tricky. I'm proud of my progress on this one, but my form started to sacrifice. I'm now moving up by 5 lbs instead of 10 on the press.

As for pullups, I'm trying to remember (it's written down at home) but I think I did 2 sets of 5 and 1 set of 4. Pullups get easier every week and it's awesome!

I finished off the week(end) by moving my girlfriend's stuff. It was good cardio, but I definitely did not get a break the whole weekend. Tonight I'll have the energy to lift my heavy stuff (including the repeat of 175 on the bench) and I may let myself take tomorrow off of cardio. Then I'll be back on schedule and feeling great again.

That's all I've got. Just wanted to put a note in for the end of Week 2, and let you all know that I'm excited to start Week 3 today! Bring it!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The week continues

Alright, it's a funky workout week. Cardio's pretty much on hold as my non Starting Strength nights are going towards helping my girlfriend move. Fortunately, moving boxes up and down stairs is pretty good cardio, so I'm still good with it.

Last night, though, I got back into Starting Strength and had a pretty decent night. I squated 125, and it went very well. The first set, for some reason, is always the hardest, but by set 2 I feel like it's pretty simple. It's that first time using the heavy weight that's throwing me off I think.

My bench did not go as well. I was up to 175 yesterday, which is the most I've ever benched. Unfortunately, sets 2 and 3 I did not touch my chest, and because of that I don't know if I should count them. Anthony was in about the same boat, and we decided that from now on bench is only going up 5 lbs instead of 10. Unfortunately, I don't know if I should repeat 175 or not on Monday. I'll let you know.

Deadlift went great! I actually did 175, with good form and everything. I'm glad I'm getting this one down.

We finished with the usual 15 minutes of abs, and I've gotta say we're pretty sadistic with that part. We always say a number, and most of the time when we hit that number someone shouts out "10 more!" and we just keep going. Or in last nights case, we did cross legged situps, and we decided on 50. By around 10 we realized that was a bad idea, but we still did all 50. Then we took a long break because we were in pain. Go us.

Also, our friend Vince is joining us on this program. He figured out most of his starting weights last night, and he's pretty much into the rotation starting Friday. It's awesome having one more person in the gym with us.

That's all I've got. Time for work. Bring it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Starting Strength Week 2 started last night

Last night after work I came home, relaxed for half an hour, and then Anthony, Mark and I headed into the gym. We did the usual ten minute warmup/stretch, and went right into squats.

All of us squat the same so we were at 115 lbs. I have never squated that much, and a week ago I was struggling at 85. With that in mind, these were awesome! They were my best squats ever (form's getting a lot better), and that's the most I've ever squatted in my life. 115 may not sound like a whole lot, but for a personal best I'm happy. 125 is tomorrow, and I can't wait. Every time the weight feels just about the same as it did the last time, since I'm really not noticing the ten pound jumps.

After that we got into shoulder press. I was scheduled to do 105 lbs, and I definitely did it! I like this exercise a lot, but holding yourself steady while balancing the weight above your head is definitely not easy. Also at the shrug at the very top, it's hard sometimes to keep my feet planted on the ground. But I rocked out three sets, and I'm ready for 115 on Friday!

Finally we did chinups. First off, in 3 sets Anthony did 4 chinups! That's freakin' amazing! Last week he couldn't lift his body to the bar at all, so he blew that out of the water. I told him to do chinups and pullups on the total gym for a few weeks like I did with P90X, but I'm really thinking he's not going to need the total gym much longer.

On that note, I did a personal best too! I rocked out 2 sets of 6 chinups and 1 set of 4. I have never done more than 5 in a single set ever, and I got to 5 and realized I had one more in me. And then I did it again! The third set I was pretty drained, but even 4 was pretty great! I'm supposed to add weight after I can get 15 of them in a set. I thought that was never going to happen, but considering the strength gains I've got just in the last week, this could be sooner than I think.

Today I'm not going to work out since I'm helping my girlfriend move tonight, but I'll get up early to do cardio tomorrow and tomorrow night is Starting Strength, so I'm still on a good path.

Bring it!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rushfit this morning

I was in LA over the weekend (and I survived Carmageddon!), and after a long weekend and drive home I had no desire to work out. I took a nice little nap instead, and that's what I needed. After that I helped my girlfriend with some packing to help her move (after she did some pretty clever arguing that was necessary to get me off of the couch), and that was the end of my weekend. So this morning I had to make up yesterday's scheduled cardio workout, and that's exactly what I did.

This morning I woke up from a very grumbly sleep and hit play on the Fight Conditioning Workout from Rushfit. Ya, I know I've done this one a million times, but it's my favorite. Favorite or not, though, this was not a good morning to work out. I was tired and sluggish, and for some reason (probably the drive) my right knee was killing me. There's a lot of squats in this workout, and I basically just said "screw it" to the squats. I moved around more during those sections, but because I have real squats scheduled for tonight I felt that saving my knees was the better choice.

I did 4 of the 5 rounds, and after that I just decided I was done. I wanted to get a little homework and real work done before going in to the office too, plus I wanted to get tonight's dinner started in the crock pot, so I did a quick stretch and turned off the DVD. Still, I got a decent (not good; decent) 40 minute workout in this morning and I'm happy with that.

Tonight begins Week 2 of Starting Strength, and I'm excited to lift some heavy stuff. I'll let you know how it goes. Bring it!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Starting Strength - End of Week 1

I've decided I miss being on a set in stone program, for no other reason than I have to come up with clever titles for each of my blog posts.

Starting Strength's first week is complete! Today was awesome too, because for the first time we had all of our starting weights ready to go. It makes the workout go by a lot faster, and it's way more intense. Every day so far I've worked my way up to my max weight, and once I've found it I just have to do that same final weight two more times. As of today, every single weight that I pushed was the heaviest I've ever lifted on that exercise. Granted, it was only squats and bench and pullups today, but I've never been good at squats and today I did 3 sets of 5 at 105 lbs, and I benched 165 lbs! I'm going to be able to bench my body weight in two weeks! Everything was hard, but nothing felt impossible. I feel like for the next few weeks this will be how I feel on everything, and I'm going to be lifting some very heavy weights very soon!

I did notice a few things about my form. Squats I need to hold at the bottom for a moment, and that helps me get low. On both squats and bench I need to breathe the entire time, rather than holding my breath and breathing at the last moment. Oh, and pullups went very well tonight. I did two sets of 5 and one set of 3. I need to be able to get just a bit more over the bar on the last one or two, but that's my personal bests on pullups! Freakin' awesome!

K, that's all I've got. Bring it!

Yesterday's Cardio Workout

As planned, I got home last night and hit the gym for some good old fashioned cardio! I decided to do Cardio Challenge from Supreme 90 Day. I did this workout a few weeks ago with my girlfriend and handled it pretty well. It's thirty minutes of working out (plus a stretch and warmup before and after), but it's broken into 30 seconds of cardio and 30 seconds of break. With that format, you really want to push yourself; 30 seconds of pushing is not bad at all, especially when you know there's a break coming immediately after it.

The only problem I ran into was my body still being sore from Wednesday. My legs were dead, so I changed most of the squat/lunge exercises to something a little easier on my joints. There's also a lot of cardio moves that use weights, like shoulder presses done with doing jumping jacks. The weights help make that 30 second section a lot harder, so it's great for the cardio. Unfortunately, my arms and shoulders were also dying, so even the little weights were a struggle at the speed they wanted.

Not my best workout, but I was pretty sweaty by the end and I felt great!

Today is the last day of Starting Strength for Week 1. I'm looking forward to two days of no weights. Hopefully by next Friday my body will be used to all of this weight lifting so my cardio won't suffer.

That's all I've got. I can't wait to get home tonight to lift heavy stuff.

Bring it!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Starting Strength Day 2 and some other stuff

Starting Strength is still going strong. We'll get to that in a minute.

Tuesday I didn't get to work out. Unfortunately there was an emergency with my girlfriend's crazy (now ex) roommate, so that consumed my night. Fortunately I didn't have to be at work on Wednesday until late, so I woke up early and did 8 rounds of the Bas Rutten Boxing workout. I still don't understand how I can do an entire Insanity workout without stopping, but just 4 rounds of Bas and I feel like I'm going to die. I did 4 rounds, took a ten minute break and moved around, and then another 4 rounds and a stretch. It was a nice 45 minute workout, and I felt great at the end. The reason I chose boxing for my workout was because my legs were absolutely dead from Monday's squats, even two days later, so running and jumping just didn't feel like it was going to happen.

Last night after work I met up with Mark and Anthony in the gym (garage), and after a quick warmup we got right into SS Day 2. We started with squats, this time 10 lbs heavier than we did on Monday. Every workout it goes up 10 lbs, so be prepared if you are starting this program! But, the 10 additional pounds wasn't as bad as I thought. I actually didn't really notice the difference. I think a part of that is that I went right into it rather than working my way up like I did on Day 1, since I already know my starting weight. My legs hurt like Hell during the first set, but by the second I was feeling great. I've still gotta work on keeping my back straight, especially towards the end of sets when I'm getting tired, but overall I think I rocked the first official set of building squats.

After that we went into Shoulder Press. We watched a quick tutorial on these before the workout, and they are interesting. You raise the bar straight up, move your body forward a little to compensate for angles (it makes sense when you do it), and then the final thing is a shrug. The shrug is really where you feel it, because your elbows are already straight and the weight is over your head, and that shrug is just one final push that's all shoulders. It took a few sets to build up to this, but I finally did my three sets at 95 lbs. On Monday I'm up to 105, so wish me luck!

Finally we finished with Dead Lifts. We watched the tutorial for this one too. First off, I learned very quickly that I am not good at these. I actually maxed out at 105, which is really low. Then Mark got into his sets, and when he got all the way up to 155 I decided that maybe I'd done something wrong. I hopped in with him and did a set at 155, and it hurt but actually went alright. Then he did 175, and I did that too. That was bad. My form was terrible and I looked very tired by the 5th rep. There's only one set of five on these, so the fact that I was that tired by the end sucks. And then Mark and Anthony pointed out that I had just completely given up form at that point. I rested and tried to do a few more reps with the right form, but as soon as I got into the position the weight just felt extremely heavier and I bailed. I wrote down that I did 175 lbs, but I think I'm going to stick with 155 and next Wednesday (dead lift day again) I'll try 175 again. Form is incredibly important on these, and aside from the proper form making this a hell of a lot harder, it also prevents you from throwing your back out, which is exactly what I was unintentionally trying to do with my bad form.

We finished with 15 minutes of abs and a stretch, followed by a nice dinner of sesame ginger tuna and rice. Today is Thursday, so tonight I'll get a cardio workout in, and tomorrow we finish up Week 1 of Starting Strength. Tomorrow's an awesome day because we finally have all of our starting numbers, so we can really just get right into lifting heavy stuff.

That's all I've got. Time for work. Bring it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Starting Strength - Day 1

Last night I finally got to start Starting Strength, the legitimate weight training program that I've been eying for a while. From what I've been able to tell, everyone from MMA fighters to parkour runners uses this program to get genuine strength gains, and after day one I can see why.

We did a quick ten minute warmup on par with a P90X warmup, and then got right into the lifts. There's a few different programs in Starting Strength and we're doing Practical Novice Programming. The lifts for yesterday were Squats (every day has squats in this program), Bench and chinups. We started squats at 55 lbs, did 5 reps, added 10 lbs and repeat. We did this until we struggled, and that struggling weight is where we start. Once you find that weight you rest and do more sets. I forgot how painful actual squats with weight on the shoulder is. My starting weight for squats is 85 lbs, and after 3 sets of 5, my legs feel like they are dying!

After I finished my squats, we went through the same process with Mark and then Anthony. Then it was on to bench. Bench followed the same 5 reps, add 10 lbs routine. I maxed out at 155 lbs, and pushed through two more really strong sets. I think I might be able to do more than 155 right off the bat, but doing all of the reps working my way up really got me tired.

So here's the reason this program works so well. The next time I do these lifts (Squats are Wednesday and bench will be Friday) I add 10 lbs to my starting weight. And I do that every workout. So by the end of next week, according to this schedule, I will be squating 135 lbs and benching 175. Crazy. Once I cap out my weight increases go to 5 lbs per workout, and when that caps I only increase by 2.5 lbs.

After all that I did a set of 5 chinups (which were REALLY strong) and 2 sets of 4 chinups and called it good. Chinups are 3 sets to failure, or add weight if going over 15. I obviously didn't need to add weight, but the fact that I can do any chinups still blows my mind!

So that's Starting Strength. We finished with 15 minutes of abs and called it good. Tonight I'm going to do some sort of cardio, and then tomorrow we're back to lifting. As for tonight I'm leaning towards the boxing workout from Bas Rutten. My legs are killing me, and just throwing punches seems like a good idea to recover tonight. But then again, my legs may feel great tonight, so nothing's decided yet. I'll keep you posted.

Bring it!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Starting Strength begins tonight!

First off, wow, I haven't checked in since Wednesday. I'm starting to let the blog slide, and that's not good. However, tonight starts Starting Strength, so starting tonight I should have a whole new program to write about. More on that in a second....

The last post I talked about Wednesday's workout. On Thursday I did a workout too - the second of the two Bas Rutten All Around Workouts. I have to say, I was pretty disappointed with this one. The first one is thirty minutes of Bas shouting out random combos of punches, pushups, abs, etc. This one is thirty minutes, but it's the same 3 minutes repeated 10 times in a row. One minute of just kicks (no punching, which is not nearly as fun), then 30 seconds of pushups, 30 seconds of abs, 30 seconds of biceps and 30 seconds of jump squats. I kept up for 6 rounds, but then I said screw it. Aside from being tired from this brutal workout, I was extremely bored! Looking forward to rep 10 just so I can be done is not a good motivator. I ended up hitting stop, then did 2 or 3 rounds of the Muay Thai workout. I was beat, but mostly I turned of this workout because I was bored.

Friday and Saturday I was supposed to drive to Denver for the weekend, but weather (and me not liking to drive in weather) kept me from going. I wasn't going to workout those days, so even though I was at the house I kept my laziness in gear and took a nice break.

Sunday my roommate decided to do Yoga from P90X One on One MC2, and I joined him. I love this yoga workout and held my own. I felt great by the end and forgot how much I miss yoga.

So tonight starts Starting Strength. I guess officially it started yesterday. It's 3 days of weights and 3 days of cardio per week. Yesterday was the cardio, so tonight starts the weights. Big weights. Only 15 total reps (3x5) of each muscle group. So 3 sets of 5 on the bench press, and then I'm done with chest.

Tonight's agenda is 3x5 squats, 3x5 bench press and 3x Too Failure of pullups. Before each of those sets will be a few sets of figuring out my starting weight. That only happens tonight, and next time I do each of these lifts I increase the weight by 5 lbs. Plus a 10 minute warmup (something from P90X) and 15 minutes of abs (Ab Ripper X). It's me, my roommate and my friend Anthony. I'm looking forward to it.

It all starts tonight! Wish us luck. I'll try to post tonight, but somewhere in the next day for sure I'll get a blog post up on my starting weight numbers and what I thought of the program. I am currently dreading squats, but it's only 15 reps. That can't be that bad, right?

Bring it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Off the schedule and feeling good

So this week I've been completely off of a schedule and I actually feel really great about it! A few weeks ago when I was just picking a workout every day I didn't feel like I was doing any good, but this week I've done exactly that and it's been working out. I'm still focusing a lot on cardio, and whenever possible I'm pulling out the martial arts workouts, and I actually feel excellent and plan on moving forward with something like this. I'll talk about that in a minute.

Yesterday I got home from the office and hit play on the Bas Rutten All Around Workout. I've never done this one, and when I heard it was only 30 minutes I was actually worried that I wasn't going to like it much. Turns out, this is one of the best workouts I've had in a while. For 30 minutes Bas just shouts out things to do, like 30 seconds to 2 minutes of shadowboxing using the combos he calls out (similar to the other Bas Rutten CDs), then 30 seconds of pushups, then abs, then bicep curls, then jump squats, etc. He just calls out random stuff and for 30 minutes I worked my ass off! There's no breaks even though I had to take some, but this is a workout I'd really like to get better at and keep using. It's only 30 minutes, but with a stretch and a bit of a warmup I got it to 40 minutes and I was completely drenched. There's a slightly longer workout on the same disc, so I'll probably try that one out in a few days or weeks.

This morning I woke up and had no desire to do yoga, mostly because I wanted to sleep in a bit. I decided to do Relief from the Asylum, and 30 minutes of stretching felt really good this morning. I would have liked to workout in the evening instead, but tonight is dinner with the folks and grandparents and girlfriend and working out probably won't be able to happen.

So regarding the schedule, as sad as I am to say it I think Rushfit is not going to be able to happen. I really really want to do this program, but I have been doing doubles for the last three months and my body just doesn't feel like it can take it anymore. I'm doing Starting Strength starting this coming Monday, and I don't want to put doubles workouts on top of that.

That said, Starting Strength is 3 days a week, and the other 3 days (Saturdays are still my off day) I plan on doing cardio. On those days I plan on using some of the Rushfit workouts, the Bas Rutten CD's, Insanity, Asylum, and possibly a few other DVDs I've been looking at like Aerobox (look it up). I actually own a lot of martial arts DVDs that run a lot like a martial arts class. Not so much on technique, but the workouts feel like a workout day from when I was a kid doing kenpo. Since Starting Strength is used by MMA fighters, I'll essentially be following a dumbed down (only an hour a day) MMA training schedule; three days of muscle building and three days of cardio/technique. My technique will be garbage of course as I'm not learning from a real instructor, but from a physical fitness standpoint I'm excited!

Two more quick notes. First off, I'm not losing weight. That's entirely from my diet. This is one of the reasons I'm cutting back on the doubles. The doubles was meant to blast my body with cardio, but it's not cardio that's holding me back. I'm going to make sure my body is healthy and I'll work on the diet, but exercise wise I'm doing all I can and I'm very happy with that.

Second, the other motivation behind this whole thing is that I'm sick of working out in the morning. I don't ever get as good of a workout, I feel exhausted all day and I usually feel like I should make up bad workouts and workout at night anyways. I work out much better after work, so this schedule will give me sleep again and get me doing better workouts more often. The occasional morning workout is ok when it has to happen, but for a while there I was doing a morning workout every morning. Ya, I'm done with that. Plus when I workout at night I have all day to think of what workout I want to do that night and get excited about it, just like when I was working out without DVDs a year ago and just like yesterday when I decided to do the Bas workout around noon.

So that's the update. I'll still be doing this blog as the weeks continue, probably posting my lifting numbers occasionally too. That said, expect to see more of these kinds of posts that combine a few workouts into one. I keep forgetting to write the blog after workouts as I'm usually starving or tired, but as long as all of the workouts get noted on this blog at some point in the week I'm good.

That's all I've got for the day. Bring it!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Recap from the last few days

Alright, I'm done with my 4 weeks of cardio schedule. It was just too much, and my legs were dying. I'm going back to a few more weeks of just doing random cardio workouts, and starting Starting Strength this coming Monday.

I have been working out though. I took Friday off because my body was breaking down and took my usual Saturday off. Sunday I did the Fight Conditioning Workout from Rushfit, which is one of my favorites, and today my girlfriend and I did Cardio Challenge from Supreme 90 Day. This was the first time either of us had done this workout, and I really enjoyed it. It's 30 minutes long not including warmup and cooldown, and in those thirty minutes you do a cardio move for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds, over and over until it's done. The 30 seconds on 30 seconds off mentality is awesome because you want to push as hard as you can, since you know it's only for 30 seconds and you'll get a good break right after it. Overall I enjoyed it, and my girlfriend did great too!

It's the Fourth of July and we're off to a bbq to celebrate. Happy 4th everyone!

Bring it!