Gym Pet Peeves (6/1/12)

1 06 2012

I sure hope you all get a good weekend of rest, because there’s a major national holiday on Monday that all of the GymGeek Nation should know about:  National Bench Press Day!

Ok, clearly I’m kidding.  I’ve just always found it interesting that there’s an unwritten rule that Monday’s are for bench presses.  I still shudder at the thought of waiting in line for the bench press stations at the UCF Rec & Wellness Center back in school (and we’re talking about a school with the second highest undergraduate enrollment in the United States).

There really is no explanation for this phenomenon, other than most meatheads like working their show-off muscles while girls are mildly interested in working out at the beginning of the week.

I bring up the bench press not because of the high traffic on a certain day.  That’s not so much a pet peeve as it is a necessary evil at every gym.  I’ve adjusted by doing my leg workouts on Mondays, just to knock out a tough day early.  Besides, no one’s fighting me to do squats!

So without further ado…

The Mayor of The One-Rep Max

This Pet Peeve Has a History…

I’ll be the first to admit it; finding out your one-rep max is a very important measuring stick when tracking your progress, in terms of muscular strength.  In fact, I do it once every two months just to see how far I’ve come.

But what about the guy that only does one rep…for ten sets?  It’s a head-scratcher to me.  All it does is get you tired, defeating the purpose of building both strength and endurance.  The idea of weightlifting is making your body efficient.

Doing your bench press in this fashion is a lot like driving a luxury car as fast as you can for ten seconds, hitting the brakes, resting at the red light, then doing it again at every…single…light.  All it’s going to do is beat the crap out of the car (or in this case, your body).

If your goal is to get stronger and bigger, you’re far better off doing three or four sets of four to six reps.  It’ll be much more taxing than doing ten sets of one while also giving your body a reason to recover.  Again, it’s about muscle efficiency.

So to this guy/gal, I leave you with this; use it as a measuring stick, not as part of your routine.  Besides, on National Bench Press Day, you’re also going to piss off A LOT of people waiting to get work done!  Also, you don’t want to end up like THIS guy, right?

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Photos from “Men’s Fitness” Shoot

1 06 2012
Men's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 Shoot
Men's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 Shoot
Men's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 Shoot
Men's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 ShootMen's Fitness June 2012 Shoot

 





Your “Fun Sh*t Friday” Primer (6/1/12)

1 06 2012

Another month, but the same Nerdy Gym Rat!

While a lot of you college GymGeeks are out enjoying your summer vacations (unless you’re taking classes, of course…even then, get some time by the pool to relax!), us older folks with day jobs just look at it as just another day at the office.  For me,  today is dedicated to a few voiceovers and getting pieces together for a health fair tomorrow…

Which brings me to a last-second announcement!  I’ll be hosting my own table/booth at the Winter Park Health Fair this weekend.  I was contacted by the coordinator of the fair about a week ago, who happens to be an avid reader of NerdyGymRat.com.  Since I live in the neighborhood, I figured this would be another great way to get the name out there, so I clearly accepted!

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=821+West+Swoope+Avenue,+Winter+Park,+FL&aq=1&oq=821+w+swoope+avenue+winter+park+fl&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=37.735377,86.572266&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=821+W+Swoope+Ave,+Winter+Park,+Florida+32789&ll=28.602466,-81.359453&spn=0.010229,0.021136&t=m&z=14&iwloc=A&output=embed
View Larger Map

The fair goes from 5:30 until 8:30 and they’ll be performing seminars on self-assesment for both testicular and breat cancer.  I plan on also giving blood.  Anything I can do to help my community, I’m more than happy to do!

As I hinted at on Twitter yesterday,  I do have a special treat for my GymGeeks.  I have done some sneaky placement on Twitter and Facebook, but I wanted to share some of the “behind the scenes” pictures from the “Men’s Fitness” shoot, including the famous one used in the June 2012 issue.  The photographer, Sam Robles, was a blast to work with.  I was already a big fan of his work after looking through his portfolio and seeing a shot of my favorite Miami Marlin, Josh Johnson.  I’d recommend him to any aspiring fitness models or athletes in South Florida (we actually lived in the same general area in Fort Lauderdale growing up) and would work with him again, if the opportunity arose.

Also,  I have a great “Gym Pet Peeve” to share.  Now, this one came from one of my followers on Twitter, but I definitely noticed it happening earlier in the week and couldn’t agree more with the assessment of just how effin’ annoying it is.  Stay tuned for that bad boy later tonight.  I recommend reading on a full stomach so you don’t do a spittake…it’s that funny.

I hope everyone ends the week strong.  It’s a new month, so if you’re feeling sluggish crossing the finish line that was the month of May, consider today your mental “reset” button and get back at it!

Now off to the booth I go…be good, GymGeeks!
Jonathan




My Interview With Dylan Farr

31 05 2012

As I’ve mentioned all over Twitter,every week we’ll have an interview with a professional in the field of fitness.  This can be anyone from a trainer, a fitness model or even a nutritionist.

This week, I got a chance to talk to Dylan Farr (@fysiologik), a performance trainer and lifestyle coach based out of California.  Over the course of a ten-plus year career as a surfer, skier (and even model), Dylan has learned the way a lot of us do; by following others who do things the right way in terms of dieting and working out.

Having travelled all over the world and winning countless awards (which can be found at his website HERE), he started Fysiologik, where he has trained professional athletes, recovery patients who were once in acute care and even some A-list celebrities!.  The greatest clientelle he gets to work with, though, are special needs children.  The diversity of his clients alone shows that anyone can make the change, not just someone overweight.

Here’s what he had to say to NerdyGymRat.com:

Nerdy Gym Rat (NGR):  What sparked your interest in fitness?  I mean you’ve been pretty active since your move to California with surfing, but when did turning a hobby into a career happen?

Dylan Farr (DF):  Well…it speaks to something I had no control in. My grandfather was the #1 heavyweight contender in the world, fighting Joe Louis for the title in the late 30’s and almost beating him. My grandmother was an olympic equestrian and racecar driver in the same period. My dad was a top tier rugby player… so it was in my DNA.

That said, It was more of a cultural thing at first, I started surfing at eight years old, and started competing around eleven. I really was enamoured with the guys who surfed the best. They got the best waves and always held their space in a certain way: [they] had a swagger to them.

By the time I was 17 or 18, some [of the good ones] became relevant pro surfers on the ASP world tour.  Others became models, and even actors. A lot of them were idiots but the ones I looked up to really had it together. It was attractive.

Honestly there was a lot of drugs, ego, and crap, but for me my take away was how these guy performed in the water. I learned early if I was raging too hard, I couldn’t surf well. It was then I kind of started to walk my own path with my health and fitness. I started rolling with guys who were on that wavelength. Ironically my family hated the surfing stigma [the Jeff Spicoli effect], and I had almost no support.

The subtext of my life was I wanted to be a professional athlete like the guys I saw who made it. I had a rough situation at home and eventually left the beach and went to the mountains.. I got exposed to competitive freestyle skiing, despite never being on snow really, which speaks to what athlete mentoring and real coaching can do. In three and a half years, I went from a guy who skied once to a nationally ranked mogul skier training at the Olympic Training Center, with the best coaches from the US Freestyle Ski Team working with me out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

The next season, I left Colorado. I got on a snowboard goofing around riding Squaw Valley, where I was staying. About three weeks into the season, I was approached by a rep for the company of the board I was riding on. He asked if I had a board sponsor. I didnt. Later that season I started doing contests and then winning them.   That was the genesis as a pro snowboarder with a 10+ year career that let me live all over the world chasing good snow

In regards of fitness, all of the dryland training, mechanics, sports psychology I learned as a competitive skier I continued to do. I just used it for riding a snowboard, and surfing. I was heavily into yoga and, at the time, I was vegan. As physical as I was, I knew my biggest muscle was my brain. I read, read and read.

I eventually had a pro model gig and got some very cool big contest results.  More importantly, I had a ton of fun. Thats what it’s all about; the memories and experiences. If my life ended five minutes from now, I have ZERO to complain about and everything to be thankful for

NGR: Wow, that’s quite the background!  What’s one of the biggest misconceptions your clients have when they first start working with you?

DF: Mostly the atypical cliches of being a trainer in this area. There are tons of trainers around because it’s easy to get certified.  You get your certifications online and boom! You’re a trainer!

I feel that,l for many trainers, it’s a secondary interest. It’s a hustle and a disingenious one. Many are usually actors, models or hustling a screenplays (laughs). I’m not trying to be judgemental, but its par for the area. All I have been is an athlete, and reflection of my own health and wellness

That said, fitness and health is my first priority, and I treat my clients like that. I consider myself a wellness and lifestyle coach, and that spectrum goes further than the gym. It’s what’s on your plate, how well you sleep, your emotional health and the space your mind holds. I try to be a support element to all of that.

NGR:  How much do you emphasize nutrition with your clients?  I’ve told readers & followers that it’s the majority of getting into shape and being healthy, so I’d love to hear what you have to say.

DF:  I’m emphatic about it! You and I know the truth, Jonathan. For the average person, who grinds at work all week, who lives in a world where majority of advertising is for food,  bad food is everywhere, and its mostly processed crap. It’s a hard fight. 

Discipline is the constant here, and some people are burnt out from life and want to be indulgent. It always starts with food. I try not to preach about it or be sanctamonious, but I do make it clear that whether [your goal] is cutting weight,  being tone or in better shape, it’s the food that goes in your mouth that is the paramount catalyst to it all.

NGR:  I know for me, it’s rewarding knowing I’m helping people with my articles and posts.  What’s your favorite part of training a client?

DF:  People feeling good… the aloha vibe, knowing Im helping someone be a better version of them. 

NGR:  Glad to know we’re on the same page then! (Laughs)  Ok one last question…what is the #1, all-time piece of advice you would give somebody who is just starting to work out and make a change?

DF:  Be consistent! A person can spend seven minutes a day, do 50 burpees and be solid. You can even do a four minute tabata circuit.  the time argument only has so much weight to it. It’s more about commitment. Also, find a gym or trainer that allows you to feel comfortable. There can be a lot of ego and insecurity when we starting talking about our bodies and, ultimately, fitness.

One last thing; pain and soreness isn’t the barametor of growth. That’s just stupid.  Recovery and feeeling good should be [the barometer].

You can find out more about Dylan and Fysiologik over at http://www.fysiologik.com.  Also, I suggest following him on Twitter if you want some up-to-the-minute updates.  It’s a great feed to follow!





Your “Friday Eve Fit Tips” Primer

31 05 2012

Happy 1 Month Anniversary, GymGeeks!

We are now a month older and wiser, with 200+ followers on Twitter, 50 likes on Facebook and a pretty decent following on WordPress.  I have to say, for something that started from scratch, I’m impressed by the reception.  Thanks to everyone who has made it possible.

I also wanted to share our new logo, which was created by Facebook GymGeek, Haris, in his spare time after reading about the opportunity here at NerdyGymRat.com.  I happen to find it pretty kickass.  What do you guys think?

The beauty of the “Friday Eve Fit Tips” (and even “Fun Sh*t Fridays) is that it gives me the freedom to post all the stuff that doesn’t really fit on the other days, so while you’re looking around Twitter for tips on nutrition, fitness and overall health, you can expect a surprise or two over the next few days.  It could be an interview, a couple behind-the-scenes photos, or even updates on appearances I’ll be making in the Orlando area.

Guess you’ll have to stay tuned…stay hungry, my GymGeeks!

(Also, feel free to follow my personal Twitter account for even MORE access to the mind of The Nerdy Gym Rat, including rants about the Heat, Dolphins, Marlins and even my own UCF Knights)





How To Build Your Own Workout (With a Little Help From Men’s Fitness…)

30 05 2012

The #1 question I’ve been asked by beginning is “How do I start a workout routine?”  Luckily, it’s really not any sort of rocket science.  You don’t need phenomenal genetics or a high-tech gym to be in shape!

A great place to build your own workout is with this article from “Men’s Fitness.”  Basically, the idea is to create a routine that:

  1. Is goal-oriented
  2. Doesn’t stick you in a gym for more time than necessary (efficiency is key)
  3. Is built around a main lift, with secondary lifts to complement

I went into a little bit of detail about the “Big Three” earlier today with the deadlifts.  That would be considered a main lift.  If you’re working back and biceps (an all-pulling exercise day), you’d start with the deadlift, then go into your secondary lifts (i.e. lat pulldowns, bicep curls) that complement it.

A push press is a “main lift,” since it involves more than just your shoulders.

With your goal in mind (weight loss, muscle building), you basically determine how many repetitions and sets you’re going to do for each lift (and how much weight you’re going to use).  If your goal is fat loss, you’re going to go high repetition (12-15 range) at a lighter weight.  If it’s muscle building, you’re going to go low repetition (4-6 range) and higher weight.  Remember, though: no matter what your goal is, you aren’t going to get anywhere with poor form!

Now, we all don’t have hours to spend at the gym like professional athletes or fitness models.  I personally have only an hour, hour and a half tops, to get my work in daily.  That means no jerking around!  There’s no reason to do ten different exercises for your chest.  At a certain point, the muscles will be fatigued and won’t be able to take the beating and recovery will be brutal.  Keep it to three or four exercises per muscle group.

Another great resource that I’ve recommended to GymGeeks is Bodybuilding.com, where they have a “Find A Plan” option that makes it simple for you.  They have a great database of exercises (all with video instructions), so you can go into the gym more informed next time!

(Also remember, GymGeeks.  A healthy lifestyle is 20% gym, 80% nutrition.  You can bench press a Hyundai, but if you’re eating like it’s your last meal EVERY meal, you’re not going to see results.)

Now get your butt back in the gym! No excuses, no surrender!





Core Stabilizing (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Deadlifts)

30 05 2012

I figured an homage to a classic movie in the title will soften the blow…

As I mentioned last week when talking about how to boost your vertical jump, there are three exercises I consider the “Big Three” (very much like a certain NBA franchise in South Beach).  The first one, the squat, is great for building lower body strength since it incorporates pretty much every muscle fiber in your legs.

Today we’re going to talk about my LEAST favorite exercise of all time: the deadlift.  This is the brussel sprouts of a workout routine.  The reason I call it that is because while I hate doing it, it’s arguably one of the greatest exercises to help stabilize your core muscles (such as your abs…see how the primer set you up for this?)

Here is a video demonstrating how to properly perform a deadlift (courtesy of HanleyStrength.com)


Yeah this is a lot of information to process, so I’ll summarize it as best as I can for beginners:

  • The idea is to utilize the muscles in your lower back.  Think of your arms and grip as hooks, as opposed to part of lifting the weight.
  • In terms of positioning, the best comparison I can make is to a catcher’s stance before a pitch is thrown.  This means that your shoulders are parallel your knees (not in front), your back is straight and you’re looking directly ahead (or even a little higher, if it helps you to keep everything aligned).  The idea is to not arch your back.
  • Do NOT lock in your knees at the end of the lift.  The idea is to have constant tension throughout the movement.  Just like the way you can hurt joints in your elbows locking out a bench press rep too hard, the same can happen to knee caps if you’re using enough weight on the barbell.  Notice the slight bend in the example photo below:

Perfect Form. Notice no arch in the back!

Getting back to how this helps your core…the deadlift is not what one would consider a “glamour exercise.”  What I mean by that is the gains and development aren’t going to be as glamorous looking in a mirror as, say, barbell curls or the bench press.  However, if you’re serious about sculpting that mid-section,  you need to cover both the abs AND your lower back.  The focus should be a stronger core.  The six-pack will come if you perform the deadlift properly.  Think of it like rowing and bench presses: the push/pull evens out your body.  If only work one side, you’re going to be physically imbalanced.

Since I hate this move, I always put it at the beginning of my back workout (while I’m still on auto-pilot at 5:00 in the morning).  In fact, I suggest putting each of the “Big Three” at the top of your routine, since not only do they suck to do, but they also wake up all the other secondary muscles you’ll be working later on in your routine.

Enjoy!








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