Your “Serenity Sunday” Primer (6/3/12)

3 06 2012

Sorry for the delay, GymGeeks!  Needed to buy a new power cord for the laptop.  It died on me last night at the health fair…GymGeek problems, right?

Speaking of the Winter Park Health Fair, it was an absolute success!  I had a great time talking with the other vendors and presenters, who ranged anywhere from testicular cancer testing to mental health screenings.  The funniest moment came from the girls from Winter Park Memorial Hospital, who were doing breast cancer screenings (or at least teaching women how to check for lumps).  They flipped out over the pictures for quite some time!  I think I got some new fans 🙂

I tried to donate blood, but unfortunately, the day job needed me to take my MMR vaccination and I’m not eligible until I get back from my trip to Kentucky.  Rest assured I’ll be back!

The greatest part (aside from promoting healthy living) was my impromptu interview with WIRP, an internet-based radio station here in Winter Park.  I was able to tape my talk with them and post it here and on YouTube:

In other news,  things may be running a bit slowly over here on the site.  Since GymGeeks are coming in droves,  I’m moving the site to a better server that’ll allow me to be a little more hands-on with content management instead of just being able to post/tag/repeat.  I’ll still be pretty active on Twitter and Facebook, though!  It’ll just be a minor setback, but completely worth it!

Anyways, go enjoy the day…since tomorrow we get back to work!

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


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, 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!

How To Re-Energize Your Routine

7 05 2012

I believe somewhere along the line, I was supposed to get the memo that Monday is “National Bench Press Day.”  I learned this in college when I’d walk into the UCF Rec Center and see LINES of people waiting to “work in” at each of the seven standard bench press stations on a Monday night.  Granted, we’re talking about a college with over 50,000 undergrads, but that’s just ridiculous on so many different levels.

Where in the unwritten workout bible does it say a barbell bench press is the only way to build your chest?  There are COUNTLESS other exercises that not only can develop the basic muscle, but also the minor ones associated with the main muscle area, thus creating a more defined look.

Here are just a few switches you can make to your routines that I’ve done before (note: I will NEVER recommend or write about something I haven’t done before myself):

Usual Exercise:  Barbell Bench Press
Switcheroo:  Dumbbells, dummy!

This is a bit of an oldie, but a goodie.  With a barbell, you can only get to your chest and push back up.  With dumb bells, you can a larger range of motion, which means you incorporate more muscle fibers while pushing the weight back up.  This switch can also allow you to toy around with different hand positions instead of the standard shoulder width apart.  For fun, try doing a set with your palms facing one another.  Your chest and triceps will thank you for it.

Usual Exercise
:  Tricep Pushdowns
Switcheroo:  Bring out the rope!

 By now, you’ve probably done the tricep pushdown on your arm days since you first began working out.  In fact, some of you reading this may be able to push down the entire stack of weights on the cable machine!  Of course, your range of motion is quite limited if you’re doing them the old fashioned way with a metal bar attachment.

Using a rope attachment will definitely kick your ass if you try to push down that same amount of weight.  The grip alone will activate new muscle fibers.  Not only that; at the end of the movement, when you pull the two ends of the rope apart (trying to straighten out your arms, shoulder width apart), you have a fuller range of motion, which, as we said with the dumb bell press, means more muscles to tear apart (translation; more muscle to repair, which will lead to more growth).

Usual Exercise
:  Leg Extension Machine
Switcheroo:  Hack away!

Arguably the most boring exercise to work what is ultimately your largest muscle in the leg is the leg extension.  Even when done properly, when the hell do you actually do a movement of sitting down and lifting heavy weight in an upward fashion?  There is zero functionality to this exercise.

Aside from the barbell squat (something that should be in EVERYONE’S repertoire), the hack squat (or front squat) is a much more functional movement that activates your quads.  It also puts less pressure on your knees and back, when done properly.  With so many different variations on this move (dumb bells, barbell, machine), you can toy around and see what works for you.  With your legs being your main source of power, you’re better off doing a power lift that’s both functional and safe.

These are just a few different things you can incorporate into your routine.  By making a simple switch like the ones I’m talking about will create muscle confusion, a concept that has made Tony Horton and the people at P90X a ton of money.  With changes, it’ll hurt like hell at first, but your body will see gains because it’s not familiar with the new moves!  You’re basically removing the “plateau effect” you’ve read about constantly in magazine and on web sites (why do you think “Men’s Fitness” has two or three workout routines per issue?).

Anyways, thought I’d share this little tidbit with my readers.  I’d love to hear about some of the changes YOU’VE made in your routines.  Maybe I’ll try them out sometime 🙂


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