Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Check In

Date: November 27th, 2010
Scheduled Mileage: 33.3 miles
Total Mileage Ran: 10.2 miles
Mileage Difference: -23.1 miles
Let's just say "I'm a little behind."

I'm back from my southern Thanksgiving.  This year I went down to visit some friends in N.C. and had a blast down there.  It was just unfortunate that I wasn't feeling healthy, though I must admit they got me turned around and I'm feeling much better now. 

I'm quite a ways behind on my Xmas goal and given that I've had a week off, I certainly can't just jump back into the now four mile base runs that I should be doing this week, but I'll do my best to get as close as I can.  It will be at least a few more days before I attempt another workout - I want to be sure that I have fully gotten over this cold before I run myself down at all.  

I won't let this cold get the best of my mental game or my physical training, but I'm sure it will serve as a sizable speed bump.  Have you ever hit this kind of speed bump in your own training?  Leave a comment and tell me about it.  Maybe you got sick in the middle of training or just before a race.  Did you get shipped out on a business trip unexpectedly or get an injury that put you out for a time?  Let me know, I'd love to hear it (maybe I won't feel so bad about my own "bump" then). 


Monday, November 22, 2010

Out of Commission

Saturday night, as I sat on the floor in my room sewing fringe onto a costume for a Thanksgiving party, I went from feeling energetic and "normal" to horrendously sick with a cold in a matter of two to three hours.  I don't remember any sickness I've ever had coming on that fast.  A couple of friends had been sickly lately with colds and I'm pretty sure I became the next victim.

For the time being, I am "out of commission" for any workout.  I'm not sure I'd even have the energy to do a workout if needed.  So for now, it's soup, tea, and oatmeal for me for awhile.  Hopefully I get over it quickly and can get back into the swing of things, but you can't rush health.


Friday, November 19, 2010


Small bump in the road today.  I woke up at seven to go running.  I was slow to move, but eventually pulled off the covers and pulled my legs over the side of the bed.  Instant pain!  Oh my God!  What is that?  My right shin had a much sharper pain than I've been having lately and all I did was put my feet on the floor.  If you remember, I've been having dull pain lately.  I tried taking a day off here and there, worked on my form a bit, thought I had it figured out, then yesterday I wore an ace bandage all day to help it heal (it worked back in September, so I thought it'd work again).  I was wrong!

Obviously I skipped running today.  I went right to the freezer and grabbed an almost finished bag of corn and wrapped it to my shin to ice it.  That worked to get rid of the pain, but it came back to a degree when it heated back up.  I've been told by multiple people to make sure it's not a stress facture - and I seriously hope it's not - but I'll give it come time to see if a few days off and icing helps. The 150 by X-mas, or the 150X as I'm going to call it now, isn't over yet.  It may not be the smartest idea, but I'm still gonna' shoot for it even if I have to take a week off.  "Do as I say, not as I do." 

But besides my running BUMP, I got to the gym today for a workout.  My legs have been extremely tight lately, but I still managed to get a decent leg workout in.  Tomorrow I have yoga in the morning, but I may take the day off from working out to get some school work done.  But on the other hand maybe I'll do a short upper body workout.  You never know (I'm a workout/fitness addict). 


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Still Alive ...somewhat

Hey guys.  Just popping in to say I'm still alive.  I've been really busy lately with a project at school on top of keeping up with the regular workouts and yoga, so I haven't been able to get online much other than checking my email for notices from my boss.

Anyways, to quickly recap the last couple days, yesterday I took the day off from running, but I went to the gym and attended a class called "Just Abs."  It was fun and certainly a lot of work - it's nice being shown that there are still a lot of exercises that don't require any weights whatsoever and still manage to be extremely difficult.  We get so caught up in the idea that we need lots of high tech machines and devices to do the "right" workout, but in reality we just need to be imaginative.  I'll talk more about that later.  I also did a workout after the abs class focusing mainly on the upper body. 

Today I went and ran another 2 miles, did yoga, and finished off with a short upper body workout.  I also wrapped my right shin in a ace bandage all day to see if that would help my shin splints; I'll find out tomorrow morning if that had any short term effect.  It seemed to work a little prior to the October half marathon, so I'm hopeful. 

Tomorrow I plan on running and doing more of a full body workout.  Saturday I will run early and do yoga mid-morning.  I may or may not workout, but since I know I will be away most of next week (thanksgiving vacation), I may try to "load up" while I can.  Then Sunday I will run the new 3 miles and again yoga mid-morning.  At some point in the weekend I'm going to try to help a friend pace a 5k practice run at a course she is running on the 5th, the Blue Black Square Mitten Run run by the Hartford Marathon Foundation.  It's certainly nice to see that my schedule is busy (if not packed) with fitness activities; I like to picture it staying that way for quite awhile (maybe another 70 years or so).

Ok, with that, I am off to bed for my recovery sleep.  Back up tomorrow with an early morning run.  Enjoy all your fitness activities and hopefully I'll be back soon with more time to talk.  Sorry for being MIA; it goes with being busy.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Yoga!!

Who loves yoga?!  

I'm becoming a fan for sure, but I must say that I seem to be starting at an intermediate level.  By that I mean I'm generally pretty flexible, though I suck at balancing.  So if I was at more of a beginner level, I'm not sure how I would feel.  But either way, Yay Yoga!  It's good for your flexibility, good basic cardio and aerobics.  I enjoy it as a flexibility and stretching session, but also a cool down; I feel much better at the end of a workout if I've done yoga (I've only done that twice though, so I shall see if it continues).  I have five more yoga classes to attend at Malibu Fitness. 

Now onto today's events:
1.  2.0 mile run (morning run)
2.  Treadmill (2 min [4.0 speed], 8 min [7.5-8.5], 2 min [4])
3.  Bench Press (6,10,10 reps with 130,110,110 lb)
4.  Seated Bicep Curl (10 reps with 40,50,50 lb)
...Repeat #2-3 for a total of 3 sets

5.  Lat Pull Down (10 reps with 60,70,80 lb/arm)
6.  Tricep Bench Dip (30 reps)
...Repeat #5-6 for a total of 3 sets

7.  Military Press (9,8,10 reps with 70,60,60 lb/arm)
8.  Bicep Curl Machine (10 reps with 40 lb/arm)
...Repeat #7-8 for a total of 3 sets

9.  1 hour of Yoga

Tomorrow will be a longer workout, but yoga won't be again until Thursday.

Turkey Motivation

Ever seen these?
Badgers!  I mean Turkeys!  No really, they are Turkeys.  Trust me. 

You tend to see them a lot this time of year, right?  On the news, on tv, in the stores, on billboards, and everywhere in between.  How many of you have seen a (or more than one) turkey chasing you as you run?  Anyone?  There's got to be someone out there that has. 

That's exactly what I get to deal with now.  I shouldn't say "deal with."  Excuse me.  These lovable, friendly creatures have wandered out from the woods in fate's attempt to keep me motivated at the end of my runs.  Why should I walk the quarter mile from the complex entrance to my apt?!  That's valuable distance!  Rest is for losers.  And the turkeys have come out to help remind me of that fact  haha.  I love how I move from rural upstate NY to semi-urban Hartford, CT area and NOW I get chased by wildlife.

Today I had a morning run (because I'll be tied up until after dark tonight) and I surprisingly avoided the turkey chase, so I might inadvertently become a fan of morning runs until they catch on and start coming out earlier.  I had my first "run in" with them a few days ago and while I was making my way to my complex, I kept turning around saying "If you keep following me, I'll cook ya'!  I'll do it."  Apparently that does not deter them. 

Workout tonight and possibly yoga!  Ciao.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Malibu Fitness

I did it!!  I got my roommate into a gym.  It's officially a success.  We went down to Malibu Fitness in Farmington, CT with a couple two week passes that I had received at one of my Oly triathlons.  

So we have until the 28th of November to make use of the passes.  Unfortunately, we will both be away for Thanksgiving in the middle of the two weeks, but it's still a start.  We plan on hitting up Big Sky gym in Newington, CT for their 7-day free trial after this.  I'm still paying my dues at Planet Fitness, but at least I'm getting some friends into fitness and also experiencing some other gyms and opportunities.  For example, Malibu has free classes for members.  I'll be making use of the three yoga classes each week!!  I just have to go pick up a yoga mat somewhere; first class is tomorrow evening. I doubt I will switch gyms because Planet Fitness is the cheapest by far, but they also do not offer any classes.  People could make arguments either way, but I will wait to pass judgement.

Either way, today was a start-up day; getting used to where the machines are, finding out what equipment they do or don't have, and trying to figure out what the code of conduct is for different things (wiping down equipment, use of equipment, changing around of seats/benches, etc.  Tomorrow (as long as I get my yoga mat) will be my first yoga class there and I'll most likely do a short workout before hand - maybe an hour or a bit shorter.  I'm psyched to get some "free" yoga classes.

I didn't really do a set workout today, more of just doing a set here, a set there.  I'll edit this post tomorrow with the actual workout, but overall it was quite relaxed.  Tomorrow I'll do a more regimented workout.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

150 Miles by X-mas

Since today was a very short workout day - I only ran 2.0 miles and didn't get to the gym at all (work does that to ya' I guess) - I decided to sit down and develop a goal and a schedule for running.  And here it is:
150 miles by Christmas!

That's my schedule.   My plan is to run on average 5 days a week, slowly building up my mileage.  I started running on the 9th at 1 mile/day and as of today (Sunday the 14th), my mileage has increased to 2 miles/day.  However, you'll notice that the math doesn't quite work out - 5 days of 1 mile/day plus 5 days of 2 miles/day does NOT equal 16.7 miles.  I would actually only get to 140 miles on that pattern, so what I've done is added 10 extra miles evenly over the next six weeks (1.66 miles extra per week) in order to get up to the total 150 miles. 

What I'm going to do is make Saturday my "check-in" day.  I'll report on how much mileage I got the past week and compare that to where I wanted to be at that point.  Then Sunday will be the first day of the new week and I'll increase the mileage.  But since I obviously didn't come up with this plan yesterday, I'll do my first check-in today.

Check-In #1
Date: November 13th, 2010
Scheduled Mileage: 5.0 miles
Total Mileage Ran: 6.2 miles
Mileage Difference: +1.2 miles

I'm already 1.2 miles over my schedule.  The key to this schedule is that I left it flexible to deal with not only weather, but injuries and personal schedules.  If I miss a day, I'll spread those miles out over the other 4 days of the week or just run on a planned 'day off' later in the week.  On the other hand, if I feel like running longer one day, I am free to rest later on.  Flexibility is key in my training schedules.  But the 2nd key is always challenge - from an Ironman quote I really love "If it was easy, everyone would be doing it."

It's nice to have a goal, a means by which I can measure my progress even if it's somewhat (or completely) arbitrary.  Either way, it keeps me going.

This week I want to set you a challenge:
Sit down tomorrow at some point and make a goal for yourself.  It could be something personal, social, academic, work-related, or anything.  Set a goal and figure out a way to keep it.  Maybe for your ultimate goal, you can set smaller goals as a "path" to keep yourself or break it down and work on pieces of the goal one at a time.  Goals are amazingly helpful, but I find it incredibly hard to schedule them out over time.  Smaller goals or partial goals along the way will certainly help you realize that you either are or aren't making progress each day, week, month, or year depending on the goal you set.


Saturday, November 13, 2010


As of today, I have three friends who have agreed to go to the gym with me and possibly even sign up for memberships.  Yay!!!!
I had received a couple 2 week passes to Malibu Fitness at my 2nd Oly Tri and planned on using them with my roommate - who I've been pushing to go to the gym for MONTHS.  We are going on Monday.  But today we had a couple friends over for an impromptu party (I'll explain that next) and they've each agreed to join us at the gym.  I'm so pumped!!  It's a good feeling knowing that people have a desire to do some sort of fitness and being able to help them find ways to do that, whether it be simply having a buddy to make it easier to go on a regular basis, finding a place that has classes vs. just weights, or an environment you like.  More to come when we actually get there.

On to my second point.  My roommate and I had planned a party for Monday and the fates saw fit for schedules to get messed up and for the party to be held today.  So for that reason, today's workout was quite short.  I eventually left everyone sitting in the living room and went out running at five o'clock because I didn't want to run in pitch black.  But no worries, they were still sitting there when I got back.  Then I did a quick power set in my room and showered - gotta' get back to my guests (I'm a great host, fyi).

Today's Workout:
1.  1.5 mile run
2.  Push-Ups (20 reps)
3.  Crunch Ups (10 sit-ups and 10 crunches)
4.  Standing Bicep Bar Curls (10 reps with 50 lb).
...Repeat #2-4 for a total of 3 sets

I'm still getting the shin splint in my right leg, so I might take a day to rest it and see if it goes away.  Otherwise, I will have to go through maybe half of the next week (up to 2+ miles/day) and see how it feels with more mileage (and most likely a slightly slower pace).  The reason I point this out is because I am personally being very cautious this time around and trying to avoid any injuries along with being more aware of points of possible injury myself.  On the other hand, my legs felt fine after yesterday's run and today was done without a prior workout to warm up, so it is possible I simply need a sort of warm up before running to help loosen my body a bit. 

Due to the party being shifted, I also got no work done today, so I will have to most likely cut tomorrow's workout short as well in order to get back up to speed (also so I can have something to show my boss on Monday - I kind of have a pattern of being a day or two late on most deadlines so I'd like to break that for once).  We shall see how tomorrow goes.  But either way, Monday I will be off to Malibu Fitness with the roommate to get fit!  Hopefully I can jump into a yoga class or two, sweet Jesus I love fitness!!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Indecisive Weather

I'd like to start with a picture I took at the beginning of this week:

Monday, November 8th, 2010
And then today we hit 63 degrees.  I go outside and I quickly find my sweatshirt is a bit excessive.  A couple hours later, I even debated whether I should have worn shorts today instead of pants.  So in one week I've gone from having to put on a shirt and arm warmers back to running with only my shorts and shoes.  I find myself torn.  On one hand, I've always been a rather enthused fan of winter weather.  However, with the constant workouts, a part of me would prefer it remain in the 50's so I don't have to run with a shirt, arm warmers, jacket, spandex, gloves, etc.  But for now Mother Nature has found it just as hard to decide what season to stick with; at least I'm not the only one.  =P

What season do you prefer?  Are you a solid summer person?  Or do you get excited at the first snow of the year?  Maybe you are in the middle and simply like the change every so often.  Let me know what you think; leave a comment.

Today was another short workout.  I have a show to go to tonight and wanted to be sure I had time to cook tonight since I don't have any leftovers to grab in my typical rush.  My runs have gotten better and I believe I figured out why I had started getting a pain on the outer part of my right forefoot.  Despite the running shoe stores telling me that I slightly over-pronate, it feels as if I run more on the outer portion of my right foot (as if my foot tips inside-up & outside-down).  My left foot in comparison certainly hits flat and feels much different.  I'll keep focusing on trying to correct it a bit or testing whether I correct it naturally at different speeds or intensities. 

Today's Workout:
1.  Warm up: Elliptical; 1 mile forward, 0.2 mile backwards, 0.2 mile forward, 0.1 mile backwards (heart rate up to ~160)
2.  Pulley Front Lats (10 reps with 80,80,90 lb)
3.  Pulley Front Bicep Curl (10 reps with 80,80,90 lb)
4.  Pulley Front Triceps (10 reps with 80,80,90 lb)
5.  Push-Ups (20 reps)
...Repeat #2-5 for a total of three sets

6.  Squats (10 reps with 90,100,110,120,130 lb)
7.  Bench Press (5,10,10,10,10 reps with 120,90,90,90,90 lb)
...Repeat #6 & 7 for a total of 5 sets

8.  Side Plank Twists (15 reps per side)
9.  Crunch Ups (10 sit-ups & 10 crunches)
10.  Russian Twists (20 reps with 20 lb) 
...Repeat #8-10 for a total of 3 sets
10.  1.5 mile run

Depending on what I'm up to tomorrow, I may end up doing a workout at home instead of going to the gym; I'm semi-expecting to not have the full 2 hours to get down to the gym.  I've seen a few power sets for home on youtube that will be worth giving a try. 


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Time for Reflective Tape!

Today was a short day.  I wasn't able to get to the gym until mid-afternoon.  I decided I should avoid any calf workouts to see if it helped my after workout run and that ended up turning into "if I'm going to run after, then I can skip the 4th power set, right?"  haha  Either way though, I wasn't home and ready to run until just after 5 o'clock and if you haven't noticed, it's already dark by then.  It's CRAZY!!!  So I officially decided I need reflective tape or a reflective vest; while my bright white legs should still suffice as a "hey, don't hit me" signal, I'd prefer to alert oncoming traffic a bit more efficiently when I run at "dark" (I can't even call it 'night' 'cause it's still too early).

On another note, I heard from a two time Ironman today that he suggests Gale Bernhardt's 13 Weeks to a 13 Hour Ironman training guide.  He used it for his first Ironman race and got a 12:40, which is good for a first time racer.  I'm skeptical of how well this will train you for a full Ironman race, but it was suggested to me by someone who succeeded with it, so it must have some validity.  From my previous reading, I've found most people train for roughly 6-9 months for a full Ironman.  Either way, I can certainly see how the normal person (non-professional athlete who balances training with kids, a job, a significant other, and other responsibilities) would gravitate towards a training schedule that says you only need to put in just over 3 months of pure Ironman training.  I'm getting a big smile on my face just thinking about the day I officially start my full Ironman training.  =D

Today's Workout:
1.  Warm up: Elliptical; 1 mile forward, 0.2 mile backwards, 0.2 mile forward, 0.1 mile backwards (heart rate up to ~160)
2.  Recline Bench Press (10/10/6 reps with 130 lb)
3.  Seated Bicep Curl (10/10/6 reps with 55/50/50 lb)
4.  Push-Ups (20 reps)
...Repeat #2-4 for a total of three sets

5.  Squats (10 reps with 90,100,110,120,130 lb)
6.  Push-Ups (20,15,15,10,10 reps)
...Repeat #5 & 6 for a total of 5 sets

7.  Oblique Lift (10 reps with 25 lb [back] & 30 lb [side])
8.  Reclined Sit-Ups (10 reps)
9.  Russian Twists (20 reps with 20 lb) 
...Repeat #7-9 for a total of 3 sets
10.  1.4 mile run

I pressed myself with the push-ups today.  I enjoy how difficult such a simple exercise can be after doing weight lifting.  I managed to do 130 push-ups in total.  I used the reclined sit up bench today in an attempt to increase the difficulty level for my abs, but I have to focus on not straining my neck too much.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Running on my Day Off

Today's my "day off," but do you really expect me to not do SOMETHING?!  Ok, normally I wouldn't, but since I'm back on the road, I wanted to keep up with the short runs.  Therefore I ran another 1.5 miles today.  My reasoning is twofold.  First, I want to make sure my feet get used to running again.  A mile or two won't kill me as far as my rest, but will certainly help my feet.  Second, I'd like to make sure I'm set into a new form as early as possible.

Concerning the second point, I already have a couple pains today from my run.  I noticed a shin splint start up early on the run, which as usually manifested on the medial side of my right shin.  Then when I stopped running I noticed what I think was more of a pressure pain on the lateral part of my right forefoot (outside of the ball of my foot).  I will probably do at least two things now because of those pains.  First, I'll monitor my form more; specifically the way my feet strike the ground.  Second, I'll slow my pace to keep from allowing my foot to strike hard on the ground.  The latter point may not be the best idea since I know my stride gains more vertical motion as I slow my pace, but we'll see how it works. 

Aside from that, I spent some time today looking at the pros and cons of sports drinks, mainly the two big players on the market, Gatorade and Powerade.  Since my gym workouts have gotten longer, I've debated getting something to drink other than water to help replenish the electrolytes (especially if I'm going to be running after each workout now).  My initial thought was Gatorade (comprises 75% of the market), but then I noticed that it had 14g of carbs, all from sugar.  Sugar certainly is a necessity for your body, but if I'm going to consider switching my metabolism from carb-burning to fat-burning, I'd like to try and stay away from too much carbs.  I checked out Powerade and it had 14g of carbs as well, but Powerade Zero had none.  So that sparked my interest in comparing the electrolyte, calorie, carb, vitamin levels of each variety of Gatorade & Powerade.  I'll post my results when I'm finished, but there certainly are a large variety of options that I'm sure most of you have never seen in stores.  But for now, I'll leave you with this question:

When you work out, what do you drink/consume?  Is it water, a sports drink, a protein shake, a homemade concoction, or something else?  If you have a reason for choosing what you use, I'd be more than happy to hear about that as well. 

At this point, I drink water during my daily workouts because it's free.  However, when I'm racing at a triathlon or any endurance event, I go for the Gatorade Endurance before water 9 times out of 10.  I do that for three reasons:
1.  I know I'll need the electrolytes down the road (literally) and water doesn't have them.
2.  It helps mentally to have a flavor in my mouth; same reason I take a swish of orange juice before I head out to run.  It's a slight distraction that will keep me from over analyzing. 
3.  Water cleans out my mouth.  I've never heard anyone mention this (and you might think I'm crazy), but I refuse to believe it's not nearly universal to some degree.  Try breathing naturally through your mouth for a full minute without closing your mouth.  Your mouth, tongue, and throat begin to feel a bit dry, don't they?  Now think about breathing at 3-4 times that rate for up to 15 hours (Ironman race); might seem like a constant battle to keep your mouth dry, right?  Well, we happen to be equipped with a weapon to battle that dryness - saliva!  If you begin to feel your mouth is dry, you close your mouth and recoat it with more saliva, right?  You may not realize that's what you're doing, but you are.  And of course you know that saliva has a thicker consistency than water, so while the air we breathe will evaporate regular water quite quickly, it takes a much longer time to remove saliva.  In my experience, after every drink of water in an endurance event, air gets an upper hand for the next 30-60 seconds, the air feels slightly cooler on my throat, and my focus gets pulled towards trying to keep my mouth from drying out.  For that reason alone, I avoid plain water during a race.  Gatorade however, while made with water, has flavors in it (among beneficial electrolytes) and those flavors trigger your salivary glands to produce more saliva.  So within 15 seconds after taking a swig of Gatorade, my mouth is recoated with saliva and I'm good to go.  It's one of those things I'm sure most people will think "You consciously think about that kind of stuff?," but I'm sure most endurance athletes will agree that it makes sense and they probably have some sort of habit to deal with this issue themselves.

Go ahead and think I'm crazy if you'd like.  We all have our interesting little habits and reasons. 

Tomorrow it's back to the gym.  Ciao!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

100th Training Mile & New Shoes

100 Training Miles!  
I keep track  of how many miles I've trained since starting this blog and I keep it up to date on the side here so you can follow along with me.  According to my account, I crossed my 100th mile today.  I used to think cross-country runners were a little nuts and now I have cross-country friends who think I'm a little too intense.  Funny how the tables can change over time.  And you know what?!  Now I've got a question for you guys.

Q: What's one thing that you've completely changed sides on?  What would a younger you never guess you would ever do, think, or believe?  It could be an activity you never thought you'd do, a job you never thought you'd like, a political, personal, or social issue; anything. 

As a subconscious celebration or christening of this 100th training mile, I ran it in a brand new pair of shoes. I picked up a pair of Asics GT-2150's today at Fleet Feet Sports in West Hartford, CT.  It's nice to finally have a pair of shoes that experienced runners fit me with, but my wallet has other opinions.  haha  But why be pessimistic?!  (Shut it wallet!)  I was going to spend the money eventually - I'm too hooked on the triathlon training to give up now - so now the I spent money is yet another motivation.  Run, or make a waste of your money?  Let's get running!!  Next race on the bill - Gallop for the Gravy 5k in Wilmington, NC on Thanksgiving Day.

Today's Workout:
1.  Warm up: Elliptical; 1 mile forward, 0.2 mile backwards, 0.2 mile forward, 0.1 mile backwards (heart rate up to ~160)
2.  Side Pulley Lats (10 reps with 60/50/50 lb)
3.  Side Pulley Bicep (10 reps with 50 lb)
4.  Push-Ups (20 reps)
5.  Oblique Twists (10 reps per side with 90 lb)
...Repeat #2-5 for a total of three sets

6.  Seated Calf Raises (30 reps with 90 lb)
7.  Squats (10 reps with 90,100,110,120,130,140 lb)
8.  Standing Calf Raises (50 reps with 100 lb)
...Repeat #6-8 for a total of 6 sets

9.  Side Plank Twists (15 reps/side)
10.  Crunch Ups (10 sit-ups & 10 crunches)
11.  Russian Twists (20 reps with 10 lb) 
...Repeat #9-11 for a total of 3 sets

13.  Vertical Leg Lifts (10 straight & 10 bent)
14.  Vert Tricep Dip (10 reps)
15.  Push-Up (20 reps)
...Repeat #13-15 for a total of 3 sets

Tomorrow's my "day off," but I'm pretty sure I'll head out for a run during the day.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Feel the Burn

I have been trying for awhile to find a workout that really did a number on my legs.  Since my goal is to get better at triathlons and triathlons include biking and running which are heavily leg sports, I figure it's best to focus on that for now (of course I'm also doing upper body and core workouts as well - you've seen them).  I went through a number of full leg workouts, but never really felt a burn afterwards.  But lately my legs have been achey and sore and as you can guess, I LOVE IT.  It seems the current "key" is my power set with squats.  I don't do a large amount of weight, but I do a lot of sets, which really adds up.  My goal is to get comfortable doing a larger weight from the start and just do three sets of that, but until then this seems to work well.

Today's Workout:
1.  Warm up: Elliptical; 1 mile forward, 0.2 mile backwards, 0.2 mile forward, 0.1 mile backwards (heart rate up to ~160)
2.  Side Pulley Lats (10/9/6 reps with 60 lb)
3.  Side Pulley Bicep (10/8/9 reps with 50 lb)
4.  Push-Ups (15 reps)
5.  Oblique Twists (10 reps per side with 90 lb)
...Repeat #2-5 for a total of three sets

6.  Seated Calf Raises (30 reps with 90 lb)
7.  Squats (10 reps with 70,80,90,100,110,120 lb)
8.  Standing Calf Raises (50,40,50,50,50,50 reps with 100 lb)
...Repeat #6-8 for a total of 6 sets

9.  Side Lifts [Oblique Lifts] (10 reps with 25lb)
10.  Horizontal Straight Leg Lift (10 reps)
11.  Russian Twists (20 reps with 10 lb) 
...Repeat #9-11 for a total of 3 sets

12.  Treadmill (0.2 miles [speed 4.0], 1.3 mile [7.5-9.0], 0.2 [4.0], 0.3 [9.0-10.0], 0.2 [4.0])
13.  Military Press (3 sets of 10,10,7 reps with 80 lb)
14.  Pec Fly (3 sets of 10 reps with 100,115,130 lb)

While I did do the squat set today, I used the last two exercises to work my upper body.  Tomorrow I will plan on doing legs in that spot; maybe the add/abductors.  I like the leg ext/curl, but I don't want to get too used to those either.  We'll see what I feel like when the time comes.

Seeing as how expensive this triathlon habit seems to be (bike, running shoes, entry fees, FOOD), tonight I'm off to a free movie screening.  It's always nice to know how to get some free entertainment once in awhile.  Last night I watched the movie Frozen online and I was impressed with how little of a set the movie required (much like the move Phone Booth - mostly shot with one set), but overall it wasn't a great movie.  If you have suggestions for free/cheap entertainment to check out, let me know.  Thanks, my wallet would be very appreciative.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

World Running Day

Today is WORLD RUNNING DAY. How did you celebrate?

My celebration was semi-anticlimactic, but I went for my first run in two weeks; second run in a month.  After I injured myself at the Hartford Half Marathon by having smaller shoes I was forced to take some time off.  I tried a 2 mile run two weeks ago and found I still had pain in my toes.  So today I went out and gave it another try.  As of tonight, they seem ok, but I'll make the final call tomorrow.  I hoping for a green light because I just recently got "challenged, no... dared, no... threatened" to run a 5k on Thanksgiving while I'm visiting some extended family.  I would sure need some training miles under me before I run it, let alone run the race period.  Let's hope!!

Other than that, I had a workout this morning and let me tell you, I am extremely tired (and loving it)!

Today's Workout:
1.  Warm up: Elliptical; 1 mile forward, 0.2 mile backwards, 0.2 mile forward, 0.1 mile backwards (heart rate up to ~160)
2.  Reclined Bench Press (10 reps with 120 lb)
3.  Chin Ups (5 reps)
4.  Push-Ups (20 reps)
...Repeat #2 and 3 for a total of three sets

5.  Seated Calf Raises (30 reps with 90 lb)
6.  Squats (10 reps with 80,90,100,110,120,130 lb)
7.  Standing Calf Raises (60,70,60,50,57,60 reps with 80--/100 lb)
...Repeat #5-7 for a total of 6 sets

8.  Side Plank Twists (10 reps on each side)
9.  Crunch Ups (10 sit-ups & 10 crunches)
10.  Russian Twists (20 reps with 10 lb) 
...Repeat #8-10 for a total of 3 sets

11.  Treadmill (0.2 miles [speed 4.0], 1.3 mile [7.5-9.0], 0.2 [4.0], 0.5 [9.0-10.0], 0.2 [4.0])
12.  Leg Curl (3 sets of 10 reps with 130)
13.  Leg Extension (3 sets of 10,10,9 reps with 160 lb)
14.  Stretching
15.  Vertical Leg Lifts (10 straight & 10 bent)
16.  Tricep Dip (10 reps)
17.  Push-Ups (20,10&10,10&5&5 reps)
...Repeat #15-17 for a total of 3 sets
18.  Outdoor Run (1.4 mile)

Having swam competitively for so long, I'm used to the feeling of being weak/tired during the day because of a morning workout, but I honestly can't say I've felt it since 2004.  So when I headed out to do some errands, I was thrilled to find that my body was soooo tired.  On top of it, I ate a full lunch at 2:30pm and was hungry again by 5:00pm.  That's the type of schedule I'm used to while being "in shape." 

On another note, I went looking at new running shoes and winter running gear today.  I've favored New Balance for a number of years, so I went there first.  My wallet is not in the best of moods.  haha  $140 for the pair I want.  That's more than I've spent on any pair of shoes in my life by $90.  I'm going to be looking around at other brands just to see if I can find anything cheaper, but either way, I'm convinced I'll be paying a record high for this new pair of shoes either way.  As far as winter gear, I assume I will eventually need a long sleeve whicking shirt along with some pants, a fleece type pullover and more, but am not sure at this point what my body will need (I tend to become a furnace when I exert myself).  I was still running in just shorts and a dri-fit sleeveless shirt today at 48 degrees.  I am open to suggestions or thoughts.  Thanks!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Power Sets

Do you have any power set ideas for any muscle (group) target?

Yesterday I mentioned how much I am enjoying the power set at the end of my workout.  Therefore today I gave a few new power sets a try to see how they would work.  But first "what the heck is a power set?"  I'm glad you asked only person who will read this (you know who you are).

A power set (by my definition) is a string of exercises done in succession as one single set.  My "norm" is to do three sets of a given exercise and then move onto the next exercise.  A power set can take two or more exercises and group them into one continuous set.  For example, the power set I have been doing included 10 vertical leg lifts, 10 vertical tricep dips, and 10 pushups with maybe 5 second inbetween the different exercises.  You may wonder now "why would you do that?"

One advantage to a power set is that it allows you to get more out of simpler exercises.  If you asked me to do three sets of 10 pushups, it wouldn't be a challenge.  I'd have to move up to maybe 3 sets of 30 or to a bench press to increase the weight in order to get enough out of the exercise to be effective.  But if you do 10 pushups after 10 leg lifts and 10 tricep dips, it becomes more difficult.  If you don't have the BoFlex at home or your home gym of choice, you can still get a lot out of simple exercises this way without spending all that extra money.  Second, a power set can be used to intensify a workout targeted at a specific muscle group.  Multiple exercises focused on the same muscle or group of muscles will hit that muscle even harder than having done each exercise individually.  Another more common advantage of a power set is that it increases your heart rate faster and also forces you to take less rest between exercises which makes your workout more efficient (finish 30 minutes faster and get on with the rest of your day).

I tried three new power sets, one for the upper body, one for the lower body, and one for my core.  They need some tweaking, but overall I think I'll use them more.

New Exercise(s):
1.  Seated Calf Raise:  Much like a vertical calf raise (calf extension), the idea is to raise the body with the extension of the foot (plantar flexion).  However, in this exercise, you do this from a seated position where the weight is rested on your knees.  The point of this change of position is to keep your gastrocnemeus (most visible calf muscle) from being able to contract, leaving mainly your soleus (internal calf muscle) to do the work.

2.  Russian Twist:  Start in a seated position.  Lean back and lift your legs up off the ground until you find a balance point; your upper body and thigh (lower leg as well if you are more capable) will make a V-shape.  From this position, twist until you can touch the ground on your right side.  Return to center and repeat to the left side.  As you progress with this exercise, you can hold a weighted object in your hands as you twist (medicine ball, dumbbell, weight, etc.).  The V-shape of your body works the abs, but the twisting works your obliques.

3.  Oblique Pulley Twist:  I use a pulley system set at mid-level (roughly my belly button height).  Pull the pulley so the weight raises and start this exercise standing at a 90-degree angle to the pulley.  Hold the pulley with both hands just to the side of your body closer to the machine.  Keeping your arms stationary to the rest of your body, use your body to twist away from the machine pulling the pulley away.  Return to the start position and repeat.  When finished, turn around in a 180 and twist in the opposite direction.  This exercise is focused to work on your obliques, though is does keep your arms, legs, and abs generally flexed as well.

Today's Workout:
1.  Warm up: Elliptical; 1 mile forward, 0.2 mile backwards, 0.2 mile forward, 0.1 mile backwards (heart rate up to ~160)
2.  Seated Bicep Curl (10/10/7 reps with 55,45,55 lb)
3.  Tricep Bench Dips (30 reps)
...Repeat #2 and 3 for a total of three sets

4.  Seated Calf Raises (30 reps with 60,60,80,90,90 lb)
5.  Squats (5 sets of 10 with 70,80,90,100,110 lb)
6.  Standing Calf Raises (50,50,50,30,40 reps with 70,80,90,100,110 lb)
...Repeat #4-6 for a total of three sets

7.  Side Plank Twists (5,10,10 reps on each side)
8.  Crunch Ups (10 sit-ups & 10 crunches)
9.  Russian Twists (10 reps with 10 lb) 
...Repeat #7-9 for a total of 3 sets

10.  Treadmill (0.2 miles [speed 4.0], 1.0 mile [7.5-9.0], 0.1 [4.0], 0.2 [10.0], 0.1 [4.0])
11.  Leg Curl (3 sets of 10 reps with 130,120,120)
12.  Leg Extension (3 sets of 10 reps with 150 lb)
13.  Oblique Pulley Twist (3 sets of 10 reps with 70,90,90 lb)

The first power set (biceps & triceps) didn't work as well as I hoped.  I may add the dumbbell press at the beginning and change the tricep dip to a full vertical.  After a few sets, I found a weight that was sufficient for the seated calf raise, but still have yet to find myself comfortable with starting at high weights for the squats.  I'll continue increasing the weights with multiple sets until then.  The core power set worked very well.  I felt little on the plank twists, but was really pushing myself to make it through the Russian twists at the end.  They'll need some work, but I like the idea of doing more power sets.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Treadmills: Advantages & Disadvantages

I mentioned yesterday that I was reading online about the benefits and downsides of running on a treadmill, so I thought I'd share a bit of it.

I personally think running on a treadmill is much easier.  I can jump on a treadmill after getting out of shape and run a couple miles without any problem.  However, if I head outdoors to run, I'd be out of breath about half a mile in, and then have to stop because the taste of iron in my mouth is too much on top of the side stitches I'd have.  I've always preferred running outside because the treadmill almost seems too easy to me.  Therefore, I went online to see if other people tend to find the same thing or if I'm the oddball which wouldn't surprise me.

Low and behold, I found that most other posts admit that treadmill running is easier.  Awesome, I'm not crazy!   Anyone out there like myself, after hearing this, naturally asks "why is it easier?"    Honestly, I'm not exactly sure.  My personal opinion is that the running form used on a treadmill is different enough from that of running outdoors that it uses less energy.

I've always had this theory in my head that, compared to outdoor running, a treadmill takes away a major portion of the forward motion (your push-off).  I'm sure plenty of people will say "but you have to push your body forward while on a treadmill or you will get thrown off the back."  I agree that if you stand still, you will get thrown off.  We've all seen some form of video where a guy/girl gets thrown off the back of a treadmill.  In my opinion though, the treadmill is already pushing your feet back.  All you have to do is make sure you stay up and keep your feet moving fast enough to not get thrown off the back.  Here's a test.  Next time you run (either outdoors or on a treadmill), pay attention to your push-off.  Do you push off hard?, can you feel that push in your leg?  Personally, I feel much more push-off while running outdoors.

Another reason I believe treadmill running is easier is that many people tend to run slower on a treadmill.  If you run outside, you pace yourself by your time; personally I go by min/mile.  But when you're on a treadmill, you'll go by the speed setting; I run anywhere from speed 7.5 to the max of 10.0.  I think few people know how to gauge their workout by how they feel.  Outdoors, I pay attention to the way my hip flexors and glutes feel early in a run and then my legs settle into a pace and I monitor my breathing for workout intensity level.  On a treadmill, I can go 4-5 minutes full out (speed 10.0) and still not hit a high intensity breathing level.  So for me, I have to use totally separate indicators depending on where I'm running which means outdoor and treadmill workouts are not interchangeable.

There are however benefits to treadmill running despite what may appear above to be complete bashing. 

1.  No need to bear the elements/weather.  If it's raining, hailing, snowing, or anything else you'd prefer to avoid, hop on the treadmill and you're good to go.  For this reason alone, many people use the treadmill in the fall, winter, and spring and run outdoors during warmer weather. 
2.  Pacing is automatic.  Outdoors, runners will continually check their pace during a run.  Once you set the speed on a treadmill, you just run and the machine does the pacing for you. 
3.  Softer running surface.  Personally, I am currently running on a treadmill because the minute I run on pavement, my toenail injury gets worse, but on a treadmill, I'm good to go. 
4.  Made to order terrain.  How many people have sat down to map out their run and wished they had a flatter area or maybe more hills?  On the treadmill, all you need to do is increase or decrease the incline at any moment.
5.  No downhill.  Tied into the above advantage is that you can run uphill as long as you like.  How many 5 minute hill climbs can you do outdoors without doing a single downhill?  Another aspect of this is that running downhill is torturous on your feet, so on a treadmill you can get all the benefit of the uphill without the torture of the downhill. 

I've only managed to really point out a few disadvantages to treadmill running:

1.  Preparing for a race:  Treadmills are great for keeping up fitness, but if you are running a road race, the best thing to do is get outside and acclimate to the temperature, the conditions, and the actual race terrain.  Otherwise, I bet it will be a shock come race day. 
2.  Less intense workout:  This is more of my personal opinion because I'm sure the treadmill is a great workout, but maybe for a slightly different set of muscles than outdoor running.  Either way, I get much more out of running outdoors than on a treadmill.
3.  Attention span:  This will be the complete opposite for some people, but I cannot run on a treadmill for too long because I get bored.  I prefer the change in surroundings when you're outdoors and I can run much further in that setting.

Overall, I still admit I prefer running outdoors.  I agree that treadmills certainly have their benefits and I may try to make use of those advantages in my gym workouts, but it has not converted me yet.  Now onto what I did today.

Today's Workout:
1.  Warm up: Elliptical; 1 mile forward, 0.2 mile backwards, 0.2 mile forward, 0.1 mile backwards (heart rate up to ~160)
2.  Side Pulley Lats (10 reps with 50 lb)
3.  Pulley Bicep Curls (10 reps with 40lbs/arm)
...Repeat #2 and 3 for a total of three sets

4.  Squats (6 sets of 10 with 50,70,80,90,100,110 lb)
5.  Side Lifts (10 reps with 25lb)
6.  Horizontal Straight-Leg Lifts (10 reps)
...Repeat #6 and 7 for a total of three sets
7.  Treadmill (0.2 miles [speed 4.0], 1.0 mile [7.5-9.0], 0.1 [4.0], 0.2 [10.0], 0.1 [4.0])
8.  Recline Bench Press (4 sets of 10 with 90,160,160,160 lb)
9.  Leg Curl (3 sets of 10 with 110 lb)
10.  Leg Extension (4 sets of 10 with 130,130,130,150 lb)
11.  Crunch Ups (3 sets of 10 sit-ups & 10 crunches)
12.  Side Plank Twists (2 sets of 15 reps on each side)
13.  Stretching
14.  Vertical Leg Lift (10 straight-leg reps & 10 bent-leg reps)
15.  Tricep Vertical Dip (10 reps)
16.  Pushup (10 reps)
...Repeat #14-16 for a total of 3 sets

I am really enjoying the power set at the end of the workout.  I might start using that idea more - stringing exercises together in a single set.  It feels like it gets more work out of me than doing them separately.

I may take tomorrow off depending on what I'm up to during the day, but we shall see.  Ciao!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Change Up

Today I was reading about the benefits and downsides of treadmill running when I got reminded (yet again) about the necessity to keep changing your workout around.  The general advice is to change your workout every so often in order to keep your body from getting used to it.  As many people know, if you do one thing for awhile, your body adapts and you have to do it a TON more to get the same result.  This is why things like the concept of "muscle confusion" in P90X and elsewhere came about; workouts revolving around the idea of always doing different exercises to target one or multiple regions of the body.

One thing I have been noticing is that I feel less sore the morning after (or even immediately after) a workout).  This kind of made me think that I need to change things up a bit.  Therefore, today I threw in a few new exercises that I've been meaning to try.

New Exercise(s):
1.  Squats:  These are quite straight forward.  Generic squats can be done without weights.  Start in a standing position and squat down to a position similar to the motion of sitting down, but keep yourself balanced.  The lower you go, the more work your legs do.  This exercise uses many muscles in your legs included your quadraceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.  Many people will do this with weights the bar used for free weight bench presses. 

2.  Side Pulley Lats:  This exercise uses a pulley system with the handles set at a level equal or above your head.  I use two systems, one for each arm.  I start with my arms pulled out to opposite sides, generally perpendicular to my body.  You will finish with your arms down at your sides.  The idea of this exercise is to pull down on the pulleys without bending your elbows and keeping as much to your side as possible; don't pull your hands in front of your body or the exercise will begin to rely more heavily on your shoulders and pectoral muscles.  The correct position will rely heavily on your lats and a good amount on the pectorals as well.

3.  Pulley Bicep Curls:  Using the same pulley system, turn your palms so they are facing up in the starting position.  From here, do a bicep curl while keeping your upper arm perpendicular to your body.  Do your best not to allow your elbows to move forward; this will allow you to use your pectorals instead of solely the bicep.

4.  Recline Bench Press:  Much like an incline bench press which is done at an incline with your head above your feet, the reclined bench press is the opposite incline; your head is now below your feet.  This change of position allows you to work your lower pectoral muscles.  As a general rule, the further you move from a reclined bench press to a miltary press, the highter the muscle focus goes as well (lower pecs up to shoulders).

Today's Workout:
1.  Warm-Up:  Elliptical - 1.0 mile forward, 0.2 miles reverse, 0.2 forward, 0.1 reverse)
2.  Dumbbell Press (3 sets of 10/7/7 with 60lb/arm)
3.  Squats (3 sets of 10 with 90lb + the bar)
4.  Side Lifts (3 sets of 10 with 25lb)
5.  Treadmill (0.2 miles [4.0], 1.0 mile [7.0-9.0], 0.1 [4.0], 0.1 [10.0], 0.1 [4.0])
6.  Side Pulley Lats (10 reps with 50lbs/arm)
7.  Pulley Bicep Curls (10 reps with 40lbs/arm)
...Repeat #6 and 7 for a total of three sets

8.  Vertical Calf Lifts (3 sets of 70/70/57 with 80lbs)
9.  Crunch Ups (3 sets of 10 sit-ups & 10 crunches)
10.  Side Plank Twists (2 sets of 15 reps on each side)
11.  Stretching
12.  Recline Bench Press (4 sets of 10 reps with 50/100/110/120lb)
13.  Vertical Straight Leg Lift (10 reps)
14.  Tricep Vertical Dip (10 reps)
15.  Pushup (10 reps)
...Repeat #13-15 for a total of 3 sets

Today I gave the four newly described exercises a try.  I was not a fan of the squats, but I believe that is due to weaker muscles.  I will stick to it to see if I can get better at it.  I've wanted to focus more on the lats, so the side pulley lats may stick around in one way or another.  The bicep pulley curl worked very well; I could feel the pull in my upper bicep even better than the seated bicep curl, so I bet that will be incorporated quickly.  The reclined bench press may take over for the dumbbell press for awhile as well, or at the least make an appearance in that place every other time.

I have an issue of finding myself locked into a specific workout because I like to see myself improve.  If I can do more reps this time than last, I automatically see an improvement.  If I keep switching exercises, it takes me longer to come back around to see any improvement.  I acknowledge, however, that I need to switch up the exercises when I stop getting the 'morning after' feeling (or simply need to up the intensity).  So I will try my best to incorporate these new exercises and change ups.

Until tomorrow, Ciao!

What Inspires You?

Hey guys!  (all two of you, haha)  And no, my parents don't count.  They don't know about the blog at this point.

Today, before I head out to the gym and come back with yet another workout (I know!  I just never stop do I?), I wanted to pose another question for you.

What inspires you?

Yesterday I posed the question "What goals do you have?" but it's sort of an empty question if you don't know why you've set that goal.  Am I right?  So after you think about what goals you have - goals for this week,  month, season, year, or maybe for your whole life, let me know what inspires you to either set that goal or to continue working towards it.  I'll go first.

What is my goal and what inspires me?
Goal:  Run a marathon
Inspiration:  The personal feeling of pushing my limits and discovering how much I'm capable of as well as any story of people doing the "impossible."

As many of you know, my main goal for this blog is to compete in and finish a 2012 Ironman, but on my way towards that ultimate goal, I have a ton of smaller goals like running a half marathon which I did this past month.  So my next goal on that ladder of goals is to run a marathon.  Another point that some of you know is that I used to detest running; I thought people who ran for running's sake were a little weird in the head.  haha  So obviously there's something inside of me that has inspired me to overcome that mindset and, I admit, actually find that I now enjoy running.  So what made me take on the goal of running and what makes me continue plugging away at it?  Obviously running is a part of the triathlon and in order to train for the full event, I had to run eventually.  It was my weakest point, so I wanted to tackle that first.  After I started running 5, 7, and even 10 miles for training runs, I fell in love with running because I feel like I could run forever.  I thoroughly enjoy knowing that I am pushing limits.  Speed limits are tough, so I find it more natural to push distance and endurance limits.  I get an incredibly boost of pride every time I run for a new distance or time record, when I push myself past a point I used to think was my limit.  It is incredible to get it in your head that your body may not have limits and/or simply realize how much you're capable of.  Beyond that feeling, I like to read stories about people who push their own limits.  There are plenty of athletes out there pushing incredible limits in ultramarathons, deca-Ironman races, or a number of other events, but the most inspiring to me are the physically disabled athletes.  Team Hoyt and Sarah Reinertsen are great examples in the Ironman races and then Philippe Croizon, a quadriplegic who swam the english channel.  These people are step-by-step erasing the word "impossible" from our vocabulary, showing us that practically anything is possible if you put your mind to it.  So when I think about myself, I say "If Philippe can train to swim the English channel, what can I do with all four limbs?" or "If Dick Hoyt can complete an Ironman in his sixties while pulling/pushing/carrying his son the entire 140.6 miles, there is no reason for me to EVER think I can't do this."  Their stories show me how far I am from my true limits.  And there's no point in living if you can't keep testing those limits.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What Are Your Goals?

I got inspired by reading another person's blog, Tall Mom On The Run.  I've only recently been following this one, but I enjoy keeping up with not only blogs of fitness/active individuals, but those kept by "normal" people; people who have a full time job, a family, or typical obligations and aren't professional athletes.

Anyways, I know I always post my own workouts, goals, thoughts, etc, but today I want to hear from YOU.  Yes, all two of you who will ever read this.  haha.  I want to know something about you.

1.  What are your goals and/or impossible dreams?  This could be related to fitness, school, work, life, or anything...

Let me know in a comment below.  I'd love to hear what everyone is up to.

Hope to hear from you.  Ciao!

Still Behind

Here I am yet again posting about yesterday's workout. I decided to do a mixed workout because as much as I wanted to do an upper body workout (I had been seeing so much improvement, I wanted to see more), I knew I shouldn't go so long without doing a leg workout.  Therefore, I made a compromise. 

Reps & Weight:
1.  Dumbbell Press (3 sets of 10/8/6 reps with 60 lbs)
2.  Leg Press (3 sets of 10 reps with 220/240/260 lbs)
3.  Seated Bicep Bar Curl (3 sets of 10 reps with 35 lbs/arm)
4.  Sitting Leg Curl (3 sets of 10 reps with 100 lbs)
5.  Side Lifts  (3 sets of 10 reps with 10lbs [side] & 25lbs [back])
6.  Horizontal Leg Lift (3 sets of 10 reps)
7.  Military Press (3 sets of 10 reps with 70 lbs)
8.  Sitting Leg Extension (3 sets of 10 reps with 110 lbs)
9.  Pectoral Fly  (3 sets of 10 with 100/115/130)

** Stretching **

10. Crunch Ups (3 sets of 10 sit-ups and 10 crunches)
11. Side Plank Twists (2 sets of 15/10 reps on each side)
12. Vertical Leg Lift  (3 x 15)
13. Vertical Tricep Dip  (3 x 10/10/5[2/3])

Today is my day off.  Maybe I can get back on track tomorrow (be able to post the workouts for each day ON that day).

In the mean time, I got a suggestion from a friend who is a massage therapist as to a few good anatomy books:
Trail Guide to the Body (by Andrew Biel)
Running Anatomy (by Joseph Puleo & Patrick Milroy)
Swimming Anatomy (by Ian McLeod)
Stretching Anatomy (by Arnold G. Nelson & Jouko Kokkonen)

I'll be reading through these over the next few months I'm sure to work on learning anatomy; first, muscle anatomy since that's what I'm mainly interested in at this point.  The last three books are also available on Google Books for online reading if you're at all interested.  It's always nice to read things for free, though reading on the computer can always be harsh on your eyes at times.  Otherwise, go search for a pirated pdf file and print it yourself.  haha


Monday, November 1, 2010


I didn't wake up yesterday until quarter to 11.  I cannot honestly remember the last time I've been in bed that late in the day.  So after some breakfast, some name calling with the roommate and the typical day-to-days, my workout didn't start 'till 5:30pm.  Despite not getting around to posting the workout, I must admit that I feel great this morning.  And by "great" I mean I have 'morning after' pains.  It's been awhile since I've really had those and I'm glad to  have 'em back.  I increased weights on some of the exercises, so it must be doing the job!!

Reps & Weights:
Warm up: Elliptical; 1 mile forward, 0.2 mile backwards, 0.2 mile forward, 0.1 mile backwards (heart rate up to ~160)
1.  Dumbbell Press (10/8/6 reps with 60 lbs/arm)
2.  Bicep Curls (10/8/7 reps with 55 lbs)
.....** Repeat 1 & 2 for a full three sets

3.  Side Lifts (3 sets of 10 with 25lb [back] & 10lbs [sides])
4.  Horizontal Straight Leg Lifts (3 sets of 10)
5.  Gravity Rower (10 reps with 50 lbs)
6.  Horizontal Overhead Lat (10 reps with 45 lbs)
7.  Trecip Bench Dips (30 reps)
.....** Repeat 3-5 for a full three sets


8.  Crunch Ups (3 sets of 10 situps & 10 crunches)
9.  Side Turns (15/side)
10. Military Press (3 sets of 10 with 70 lbs)
11. Vertical Bent Leg Lift (3 sets of 15)
12. Vertical Tricep Dip (3 sets of 10/10/7 reps)
13. Pectoral Fly (3 sets of 10/10/9 reps with 100, 115, 130 lbs)

I had a bunch of thoughts during the workout that I thought would be fun to share.
1.  I increased the dumbbell press from 55 to 60lbs.  These are the biggest dumbbells I use and everyone so often I get entertained by a look from another person like "what the heck is that scrawny kid doing with those big weights?!"  I feel like the body builders that are always at the gym, but I lack the shear muscle mass so it's fun watching people's faces.
2.  I am beginning to seriously doubt the use of free standing bicep curls.  I might have to start using either the machine or the bench to stabilize my elbow because I feel more in my forearms than my biceps.  Just a word of warning for how to focus on the biceps.
3.  Side lifts, while a bit painful at first for me due to a lack of flexibility in my side is a GREAT way to increase that flexibility.  I've only done it a few times and I can already tell it's helping. 
4.  When doing the horizontal straight-leg lifts, keep your butt from lifting off the ground.  When that happens, your lower abs get a moment to relax and the exercise becomes easier.  While it feels good, it's not doing the job it's supposed to.