Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Deck of 52

Did this with a friend today and doing it along side someone else is something I can definitely recommend to keep you moving and working through fatigue. When I slowed down he would flip the next card forcing me onwards. At one point I had built up a deficit of burpees that I owed the pack. But I gave them all back as we got one after the other of burpees cards. Ouch! Toward the end, I found a new burst of energy and pushed harder allowing me to start doing the card flipping.

My first attempt at this was over 30 minutes. My previous attempt was roughly 28 minutes, but with the added benefit of a training partner we pushed each other within 20 minutes. I don't have the exact time since we had to use the clock on the wall, but we started at roughly 13:24 and finished just before 13:44. That is going to be tough to beat on my own, but at least I know how hard I can push myself now.

Rules for this one were slightly different:

Spades: Burpees,
Clubs: Pushups,
Diamonds: Tuck jumps,
Hearts: (Started with kneeling rollouts but inevitably ended on) Situps,
Aces: 1,
Pictures: 10

Give it a shot and feel free to comment with your times. It will give me a bit more motivation to know how high the bar is set, after all you can't get over the bar if you can't see it!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

50 Burpee Challenge 3' 42"

Made some minor time improvements on my 50 Burpees today. I adopted Ross Enamaits technique for speed making the jump and drop transition in one movement. Still hit fatigue early (22 reps) so not improving on this much, but interval recovery time was much much shorter. Need to make some improvements on the jump to get more height, but other than that I am please to have achieved the 4 minute milestone.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Abdominal One Arm Bench-Press

This is a great core workout I stole from Gym Jones. I enjoy doing this one occasionally because its challenging in two ways. You are working your core for time, so its an endurance exercise. Also increasing the weight of the dumbbell forces your core to work harder so its also a maximal strength exercise too. You can really take this one to the limits.

Use two dumbbells no less than 3/4 of your body weight to secure your feet. Site on the bench and ready your dumbbell on your lap. Lye back and use your core to establish a horizontal form. Start pressing. Try to keep the position when you switch arms, it keeps your core under stress and works it harder. Repeat it but in revers to ensure an even workout (i.e. Start with right then left, next left then right etc). If you are really brave, take on two dumbbells at once, ouch!

Eating big

I see a lot of people struggling to gain mass (I was once one of them). This is mostly due to the misconception that mass building occurs in the gym. Actually none of the mass building takes place in the gym, in fact the exact opposite. When you perform strength workouts, you are essentially tearing down muscle fibres in order to promote the growth of new fibres in their place. The repair process usually results in more fibres than were there originally and a net result of an increase in muscle mass. However, in order for this process to work it has to be precisely fueled. Over fueling can result in undesired baggage weight, while under fueling results in no gains in mass. More often than not, people take the under fueling approach through fear of gaining unwanted weight, thus struggling with gaining muscle mass.

Over the past year I have experimented with the "Eating big" analogy to find where my limits lie. First of all I started with John Berardi, a professor in sports nutrition. In his book "Scrawny to Brawny" he describes his struggle as an Ectomorph to gain muscle mass. But to his realisation he too found himself eating way too little when what he thought was eating big. In order to calculate the exact calories your body requires for optimal muscle gains, get his book or read the following article on calculating your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) and ERAT (Exercise-Related Activity Thermogenesis):

The Cunningham Equation - An accurate way to predict calories

If you are a similar height and build to me (5'8", 85kg, 15% BF) you will discover you need something in the region of 4200 calories on training days and 3600 calories on rest days in order to gain mass. This is a lot of food and just to give you an insight, heres a typical workout day meal plan I follow:

Breakfast: Jordans Nut & Seed, Greek yogurt (620 cals)

Snack: 2 bananas, Half a tablespoon of peanut butter (360 cals)

Pre-Workout Meal: Heinz lentil soup (166 cals)

Post-Workout Meal: Spinach, Broccoli, Carrots, Runner beans, Chicken Thighs, Cottage Cheese, 2 Omega 3 Eggs (1030 cals).

Snack: 2 bananas (210 cals)

Evening Meal: Can be anything, but I usually go for meat and veg combo, similar to lunch but more calories (1500 cals).

Pre-Bed Snack: Carbs release melatonin which helps me sleep and gives me a boost in the morning for my 6:30 workout before breakfast (Jordans again but with semi-skimmed milk instead of yogurt) (300 cals)

Thats a typical day and in total all that adds up to 4186 calories. So are you eating enough?

For help working out the calories you are eating, checkout the Calorie Counter

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Pyramid 150 challenge

Call this workout what you like, but this is the name I gave this workout. Its a good one at that, discovered on Ross Enamait's forum here.

The original poster managed a time of 17'23" for this which is very impressive and is a long way from where I am currently. I tried this yesterday and only managed it in 43'02" using a 22kg dumbbell for the snatches. It took a horrendous amount of time to complete, but it probably wasn't helped by doing a leg strength routine the day before. Today my legs are sore and over worked, so recovery may take longer than 1 day. But thats my mistake to avoid for next time...

Time: 43'02"
Next Target: 35'00"

The workout for reference:

50 x Burpees
50 x Dumbbell snatches (25 each arm)
40 x Burpees
40 x Dumbbell snatches (20 each arm)
30 x Burpees
30 x Dumbbell snatches (15 each arm)
20 x Burpees
20 x Dumbbell snatches (10 each arm)
10 x Burpees
10 x Dumbbell snatches (5 each arm)

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Unmagical 50 - Take 2

Have been doing this once every 2 to 3 weeks to see if I can beat my times. My original attempt I mentioned I took over 15 minutes, but I didn't have an accurate timing since I didn't time it and only had snippets of video to go by. But I think 15 minutes was a bit ambitious since I have improved somewhat and my latest time was 17:05. I am slowly getting down to the 15 minute mark, so once I get there I will set the bar at 10 minutes. Consider this a milestone. I will try to keep a record of each attempt to see how much I am improving my time each week.

Time: 17:05