Voyager Fitness

Because achieving a healthy lifestyle is a voyage, not a race.

The simple joy of running in the rain

Last week it rained for a few days straight.  Nothing major, just lots of rain.

Contrary to most people’s opinion, I actually enjoy the rain.  I see no point in complaining about the weather, since there is no possible way to control it.  So I simply choose to love all types of weather, rather than blaming my mood on it.

While others sit around and sulk about a rainy day, I turn it around to work in my benefit.  Usually I turn a rainy day into an opportunity to get stuff done around the house such as housecleaning, decluttering, or extra writing.  Last week I chose a slightly different path and decided to go for a run.

As long as it’s not a lightning storm, running in the rain is perfectly safe.  It’s just water.  Once you’re wet, you’re wet.  The only thing you need to worry about is being aware of your steps, so you don’t slip and injure yourself.  Other than that, it’s pure joy. I also suggest wearing a waterproof type shoe to prevent blisters from wet feet.  I wear the New Balance Minumus Trail, without socks so that the water can drain from my shoe as I run.

The feeling of running in the rain is pure joy.  It’s like being a kid again, stomping in mud puddles.  Somehow, as we grew up, we lost that childlike enjoyment of playing in the rain.  We think we are too “mature” or something.  We act as if the rain is a poison and get upset if a few drops get on our shirt.  It’s pretty ridiculous if you think about it.

It isn’t until I went for a run in a downpour until I stumbled upon the realization of  just how fun rain could actually be.  I ran about 6 miles that day, but it felt just like a jog around the block.  Normally, during a run, I will get in the zone, but in the rain I completely lost myself.  It felt as if I was in a trance. A soaking wet trance.  It was awesome.

From now on, I will see rain storms as an opportunity instead of an excuse to be in a depressed mood.  The people that pass by me in their vehicles may see me as some crazy idiot, but I will be lost in complete childlike ecstasy, without a care in the world.

 

 

 

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8 reasons to cancel your cable TV subscription

After hours of thoughtful deliberation (and debating with my wife), I have recently decided to cancel my cable television service.  That’s right, in place of what used to be the centerpiece of our living room now sits a 42 inch black square of emptiness.  Instead of the noise and flashing colors all we see is a dark screen and, if you position yourself at the right angle, a reflection of ourselves with more time on our hands.

Now, before your jaw drops and you start thinking I am from another planet, open your mind and consider the following benefits that I have been experiencing due to my new found freedom:

1. More active

Most people, when they get home from work, grab something to eat then plop down into their favorite piece of furniture, click the remote control, and space out for the next few hours until it’s time for bed.  Instead, replace this ritual with some form of activity such as a walk around the neighborhood, a nice jog, or even some yoga in the living room.  You’ll be surprised how much better this feels than your normal routine of vegging in front of the TV.

2. More money

This may be the most obvious benefit, however few people actually sit down and crunch the numbers.  For me, I spent approximately $84.00 per month on cable TV.  It never really crossed my mind, I simply paid the bill when I got it and assumed I was a necessity.  But, if you add it up, the cable company was taking around $1008.00 per year out of my hard earned income.  Now that I don’t pay a dime, I will put that money towards something more useful.

3. Better social relationships

Sure, sitting in front of a TV in the evening, watching a show with your family may seem like a bonding activity.  But think about how much time you actually spend talking to each other.  If you are like me, it’s not very much.

Now that we don’t have the option of watching a show (or 3) each night, we sit and play with our son until it’s his bedtime.  Then, we sit and talk with each other.  Yes, I mean we actually have a conversation.  Astonishing, I know.

When we do sit and watch something, we have to rent a movie.  This means buying some snacks, planning a time, and sitting and watching something that we both picked.  This makes for a fun event and also gives us more to talk about afterwards.

Aside from the fact that my family is becoming closer, having no television forces me to call up a friend if I want to watch the hockey game, go to my parents house on Sundays for the football game, or go out to a restaurant to watch something.  All of these options provide for social experiences and relationship building with friends and family that I would not otherwise get if I stayed at home and watched TV by myself.

4. Clearer mind

When we watch TV, we are bombarded with a flood of different noises and images.  Our brain gets confused when a show is broken up by intermittent 30 second commercials ranging from tampons to cheeseburgers.  It’s information overload.  When we finally shut off the TV, our minds are flying a mile a minute trying to make sense of what we just consumed.  This makes it really hard to focus on something else.

I used to try and read or study with the TV on in the background.  I was able to get the job done, but I found myself constantly distracted by what was on.  Now that the TV is gone, my mind feels relaxed and I am able to concentrate 100 times better than ever before.

5. Better sleep

Most people (especially Americans) have a television in their bedroom. If this isn’t the case, at the very least, your normal routine consists of watching TV until you are ready for bed.  This may seem like a great way to relax and wind down after a long day, but in  reality you are doing to exact opposite.  When we watch television, the brain is overstimulated and bombarded with information.  You’re better off reading before bed to relax your mind and focus on one subject.  Meditation is also a great way to quiet the mind and prepare for a full night of restful sleep.  Try it one night before bed and you will be surprised how deeply and calmly you will sleep.

6. Greater of sense of reality

Reality shows are a joke.  There is nothing real about them.  They are mostly staged and exaggerated scripted dramas, thoughtfully directed to capture the audience’s attention.

The problem is that we watch so much reality television that we actually start believing that it’s real.  We begin to idolize the characters in the show and subconsciously act as if we are apart of the cast of “The Jersey Shore”.  That, to me, is a form of mental illness that needs to be squashed before it becomes a plague amongst our youth.  Wait, too late.

7. Less Consumption

Even though most of us hate commercials, they still become engrained in our brains.  Marketers are paid huge salaries to figure out what makes us buy products, and they do a great job.  Lots of times we purchase things we don’t need, simply because we saw an advertisement and recognized the product.  Get rid of TV and this urge will disappear.  Not only are you saving money from not paying a cable bill, you will notice your spending will decline as well.

8. More time

This is the most important point of all.  Time is the most valuable form of capital there is.  Many of us, however, spend absurd amounts of time glued in front of the television screen watching hours and hours of sitcom re-runs until our eyes are practically bleeding.  Those are hours that are completely wasted and can never be returned.  When you make the conscious effort to cancel your cable television subscription, you are taking a vow to never waste another minute of your precious time here on earth.  We are only given a certain amount of time in our lives, so spend them wisely.

 

So, what are you waiting for?  Gain back your life and get rid of your cable TV!

 

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I want to get fit, but where do I begin?

Chances are, if you are out of shape or overweight, you don’t enjoy your current status.  Even if every other aspect of your life is under control, the stress of getting in shape weighs on you, causing more negative health effects.

There are many barriers keeping you from reaching your optimum fitness level, including work, family, finances, etc. , but the ultimate barrier is the lack of knowledge on the subject.  Most people don’t know what to do when they go to the gym, and it makes them feel awkward when they exercise around others.  Now obviously personal trainers eliminate this problem by providing professional instruction and individualized program counseling to their clients, but a lot of people are not willing to spend the extra money for a trainer, especially when they are first beginning to exercise.

This is where the internet shows its true beauty, allowing anyone to research and come up with a pretty good idea for a beginner exercise and strength training program.  If you’re having trouble translating all of the information into a program of your own, here’s a basic outline to get you started on your voyage to better fitness.

 

Remember that you’re a BEGINNER.

This is very important.

Just because you’ve been doing your research on the internet and you’ve even bought a few books, don’t make the mistake of walking into the gym and pulling off a 15 miler on the treadmill.  Not even half of that.

Even if you used to be fit at one point in your life, don’t act like you’re 18 again and overdo it in the gym.  You will either end up burning out or seriously injuring yourself.  Remember that you are just beginning on your path to becoming ‘fit’ and design the workouts accordingly.

 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Most likely, there is someone employed at your gym who knows a little about fitness.  Ask that person for help if you need it.  Want to know how to operate a particular piece of equipment? Ask.  Have a question about recommended reps on a certain exercise? Ask.

Chances are, there are knowledgeable people working out at your gym as well.  There will be seasoned veterans working out in your gym who possess a ton of knowledge, and if they are a decent person, they won’t mind answering some well-timed questions.  After all, if you enjoy working out, you should inspire others to do the same by helping those who are just starting out.

 

Always start with a warm-up!

Never begin your workout without warming-up first.  When you perform activity and place strain on a “cold” muscle, you severely increase the chance of injury.  A sufficient warm-up will get the blood flowing to the muscle tissue and increase elasticity of the fibers, thus allowing proper movement and reducing the chance that an injury will occur.

A proper warm-up should include a cardio-based exercise such as a light jog or ride on a stationary bike.   The jog is an ideal warm-up because it involves muscles in both the upper and lower body, instead of the bike which is a mainly lower body dominant warm-up.  The warm up should be between 10-20 minutes, depending mainly on the amount of time available and the intensity of the planned session of exercise.

After this warm-up, you should have a light to moderate sweat going and should feel ready to perform the bulk of your work out.  The warm-up should not leave you feeling exhausted.  If you are tired after the warm-up, cut back the length and intensity until you find what works for you.

 

Use a full-body scheme.

When designing your new workout program, I suggest performing at least one strengthening exercise for each of the major muscle groups:

  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Arms (biceps, triceps, and forearms)
  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Core / Abs

By performing at least one resistance exercise for each muscle group, you wil ensure that you aren’t neglecting a certain muscle group.  You will be setting the stage for optimum balanced muscular development.  Plus, if you happen to miss a workout, you can just pick right back up the next time in the gym, instead of throwing your entire program out of whack.

Use this site, and others around the web, to come up with a set of exercises for each of the categories above.  There’s your program. Simple yet effective.

 

Don’t forget to cool down.

Just as you had to warm-up before your workout, you should make sure to properly cool down afterwards.  This will allow your muscles to relax and will help the blood circulate to remove waste from the muscle tissue which will reduce soreness and tightness in the future.  The less tight and sore  you are within the next few days, the more eager you will be to workout again.  Therefore, you will have a better chance of sticking with your new program, which is the ultimate goal!

To cool down, I’d suggest a short 10-15 minute cardio session on a different piece of equipment from which you used for your warm-up.  An elliptical, stepper, or bike would be ideal.  After the cardio, it is important to stretch.  Perform your favorite stretch routine, making sure to hit on all of the same muscle groups included in your strength training regimine.  Make sure you hold each stretch for 15-20 seconds to properly lengthen muscle fibers.  This stretch will prevent soreness and reduce the risk of injury, while improving the elasticity and efficiency of the muscle tissue. 

Well, there you have it.  The simplicity and effectiveness of this begginer workout program outline will ensure that you stick to your new ‘good habit’ of exercising.  Hopefully, by utilizing this method, you will not only build strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility, you will be paving the path along your new voyage to a healthier, happier life.

 

 

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The key to making progress is CHANGE

I see it everyday.  People come into the gym to workout, and consistently perform the  exact same routine, day after day.  Then, with a clueless expression, come up to me and ask why they are not seeing the results they are looking for.  Sure, they are putting the time and effort into their fitness goals, but that’s not enough!

My recommendation is simple:  You have to change it up. 

MUSCLE CONFUSION

When you perform the same exercises for an extended period of time, your body adapts to those specific movements.  Your body, your muscles, and even your mind knows whats coming and prepares accordingly.  The result is a plateau of progress with little or no significant muscular gains or fat loss. 

Because of the body’s ability to adapt and prepare for the stresses placed upon it, you must outsmart your muscles by adding new and different movements and exercises.  This will challenge your muscles to a new level and allow you to make progress toward your overall fitness goals.  This idea has been coined “muscle confusion” by many leading fitness experts and trainers, and has been proven to produce dramatic results in various programs. 

Without this change in pace, you will continue to remain at your current fitness level.  Do research, ask your personal trainer, or just improvise.  All you have to remember is to change up your routine every couple months and you will be astonished at the progress that will be made by confusing and challenging your body and mind to a new level.

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Life is about balance

Life is complicated, to say the least.  We have appointments, events, meetings, games, and anything else that could possibly take up our time throughout each day.  This can create confusion that sometimes can become overwhelming at times.  However, if we try to remember to maintain balance in day-to-day life, it can turn out to be less chaotic.

Work and Play

This is probably the most important aspect to balance in our lives.  Work too hard and you risk burn out, stress, fatigue, etc..  Over time, this will likely cause negative health effects such as hypertension or depression, and will probably result in a loss of productivity in your work anyways.  In order to combat this, we must have fun.  Do something you enjoy, and suddenly all the work that you have been doing will feel worth it.

On the other hand, we can’t completely ignore work and focus solely on having a good time without consequences.  We may be able to do this for a week or so, while on vacation or a holiday, but this type of imbalance is just as dangerous as working too much.  You may someday (if you are fortunate) have the ability to focus more on fun than work, but some work must always be done in order to live.  We have to strive to find that healthy balance.

Life and Fitness

If we ignore this balance, we will suffer.  Exercise must be incorporated into daily life, but it also has a great benefit: it can be both work or fun, depending on what you need.  If you’re working too much and need to balance it out, you can exercise in a fun way – killing two birds with one stone.  If you’re having too much fun, partying and drinking too much, working out can provide the work needed to balance out the work/fun relationship.

Fitness is so important that, if ignored, we will die.  That’s right, I said die.  Not necessarily today or even tomorrow, but eventually you will die.  I know, we all die right.? Well, yea you’re right, but you will live LONGER if you consistently perform exercise throughout your life.  Now that is a FACT.Just look at the rest of this site for proof.

Sorry about ranting a little, but I felt compelled to write about this topic as it has been on my mind for a while.  As I continue to try and figure out what this world is all about, I will remember that life is about balancing everything.  Hopefully this will help us all with our own abilities to sense when things are coming out of balance, and we can fix the problem.

Remember this:  Having  a few of beers can create conversation and make for a great night, but look what happens when you have too many.  We have to find that balance.

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Re-thinking fitness: working out outside the gym

The foundation of this blog is the idea that fitness is achieved through a gradual and steady voyage. Throughout this voyage, each of us will encounter new information that will allow us to modify and develop the way we individually view fitness, and how we will continue to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

My personal views are evident on the archives of this site via the articles that I have published.  As I continue to learn and research the realm of health and fitness, I will also continue to evolve my perspective on how the ultimate healthy lifestyle is achieved.  I realize my viewpoint may not ever reach perfection, but I hope you stay current with this site and keep posting comments, so that we can learn from one another to develop our own ideal healthy lives.

With that said, you may (or may not) know that I have recently started to really buy into the primal living ideology, better known as the paleo diet.  This school of thought includes views on exercise that differ from the conventional workouts that we are used to.  Physical activity and exercise is recommended to be performed on a daily basis, which could take a big chunk of your schedule if it was to be solely performed in a gym.  However, when thinking primally, we begin to better understand that fitness does not have to be this extremely regimented and strict, but can be easily meshed into daily life.

The gym lifestyle – setting yourself up for failure

Too many of us start off wanting to ‘get in shape’, and the first thing that comes to mind is joining a gym.  Now, don’t get me wrong, joining a gym is great as a first step. However, we can’t rely too heavily on the gym as the only way to get a workout in.  Instead, we need to look at other ways to get our daily exercise, such as a quick jog in your neighborhood, walking your dog, or even yard work. These are all ways to raise your heart rate and burn some calories that don’t require getting dressed in your gym clothes and driving to the gym.

Relying solely on the gym is too time restrictive sometimes, and will be hard to continue if you have a busy schedule, like most people.  It’s also easy to make excuses not to go, since it requires you to get ready, get in your car, and drive to the destination. Even if we do end up making it into the gym, there can be distractions that keep us from getting the workout we need, like other people talking to you, using the piece of equipment you want, or posing in the mirror.

On the other hand, performing non-gym alternative workouts such as chopping wood, mowing the lawn, landscaping, etc. will not only be productive, it can also turn out to be fun (if you’re able to think outside the box).  Plus, you will find that it is way easier to fit these types of workouts into your schedule consistently, since they are things that need done anyways.

Like I said, don’t misread what I am saying here: I still believe that the gym is a crucial place to perform a variety of exercise routines.  Obviously I’m a fan, I work in one.  But what I’m trying to prove here is that you need to think outside of the gym to get your required daily exercise, as not all workouts are going to be done in the gym.

Remember, get creative with your exercise.  Workouts don’t all need to be dumbbells and treadmills.  Exercise is exercise whether it’s done inside or outside.  The key, just like with anything else, is hard work, consistency, and SWEAT!

 

 

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Primal Living: modern times, ancient ideas.

Imagine.  It’s 45,000 B.C. and you’re hungry.  Since you can’t hop in your car and drive to the nearest shopping plaza, you have two options: hunt or gather.  By gathering, you would find tons of edible fruits, nuts, berries, seeds, etc..  Add that to the wild game, slaughtered on the most recent hunt, and there’s your food.  No grains, corn, or other processed junk.  Just all-natural, nutrient rich foods, that digest easily and give you plenty of sustained energy for the rest of your day.

This is the idea behind the primal diet(or paleo diet), a fast growing trend in nutrition that makes perfect sense.  Based on Evolutionary Science, every species of animal has a diet pattern based upon digestive abilities and other factors.  Well it turns out that humans are natural omnivores, designed to eat a mixed diet.  The primal diet way of thinking is geared toward following nature, rather than eating the processed, refined, and chemically altered junk that we see on many shelves today.

A leading spokesman for the primal way of life is Mark Sisson, who publishes information and offers products via his website: marksdailyapple.com

Mark has put extensive amounts of work into the “Primal Blueprint”, his instruction manual on primal living that can be purchased through his site, but I have learned so much just through his blog posts and videos that I have yet to purchase the book.  And believe me, this guy is living proof that fitness is maintainable at any age, especially by eating primal (Mark is 57 and pretty ripped!) I highly recommend checking out his site if you’re looking to learn about the primal way of life.

PRIMAL LIVING – Back to the basics.

The whole idea behind going primal is based upon evolutionary science and natural human instincts.  Basically, your diet and exercise programs are designed with a caveman mentality.  Everything you eat is based upon the diet of primitive man, so you will avoid the processed junk and refined garbage and stick to mainly whole, natural foods and recipes that rely on meats, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries, etc..  The idea is simple: If a caveman could find it, pick it, or kill it, you should eat it.

Resistance training is to be done with primal life in mind as well.  Living primal means avoiding most complex exercise equipment and machines and mainly sticking with body weight exercises and some free weight maneuvers.

In terms of cardio, Mark recommends performing low-level aerobic exercises such as biking, hiking, walking, and swimming mixed with high intensity interval training which includes short bursts of sprinting with breaks in between.  The sprinting replicates a situation that would occur in the primal world (like a caveman chasing down the next meal).

It just makes sense…

When you think about it, the primal living concept makes a lot of sense, and there is good reason behind why it is emerging as one of the fastest growing ideas in nutritional thinkng.  It’s so simple, it’s brilliant.  You eat what you’re naturally supposed to eat, and you will look like you are naturally supposed to look.  This means you will shed those unsightly extra pounds and look like you are ready to go out and chase down a meal (or something like that).  And, since your body will be burning food more efficiently, you will feel great too!  It’s pretty much a no brainer.

As research continues on this topic, I am excited to learn as much as possible about primal thinking, and will continue to provide interesting primal topics to Voyager Fitness in the future.

As always, if you have any questions about primal living or just want to share your thoughts your comments are always welcome!

 

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Live longer, save money, and help save the environment by biking to work

CC Image courtesy of JPChamberland (Jean-Pierre Chamberland) on Flickr

Do you want to live healthier? Do you enjoy money? Do you want to help save the environment by becoming more green? Do you hate traffic? Do you love the outdoors?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, I have a solution that will help you accomplish one or all of these goals:  Ride your bike to work!

I know for some of you it may be near impossible due to the length of your commute, but for some of you who don’t drive very far to get to work, this little change in routine will provide you with a whole batch of benefits that will leave you (and your wallet) a whole lot healthier.

Live a longer, healthier life!

Bicycling is a low-impact, aerobic exercise.  It’s low impact due to the reduced stress placed on the knees when compared with similar exercise such as running.   When you run, especially on pavement, your knee joints can take a beating from the constant pounding they receive.  However, there is very little impact on the joints while riding a bicycle, which reduces your risk for inflammation and other injury that can keep you out of commission.

The aerobic aspect of cycling will give your heart a workout.  Moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise reduces your risk for heart-attack and disease as well as maintaining healthy blood-pressure, cholesterol levels, and body-weight.

Have more money!

I don’t know many people who wouldn’t like the sound of that!  Especially in this economy, we are always looking for ways to save money, but very few people think of biking to work as a way to accomplish this.  Most people are afraid to step out of the mold and change from the conventional form of transportation, but once you begin to experience the freedom (physically and financially) that bike commuting offers, you may never want to go back to your old ways.

Biking to work will save you tons of money in the long run.  Use this calculator, provided by Kiplinger, to help you get a visual of the actual amount you will save per day by altering your method of commute.  You may be surprised how much you spend on gas, parking, and tolls on a daily basis.  Just think what you could do with that extra cash!

Be more GREEN – help the environment!

Let’s face it, us humans pollute… A LOT! Aside from the tremendous amounts of garbage and other wastes we put into the environment every day, we also get in our cars to drive a mile down the road.  If we need to run to the store, we drive.  If we need to get something to eat, we drive.  If we need to… well, you get the point.

The point is, we drive everywhere!  Even if it just as easy to walk, or better yet, ride your bike! If you chose to ride your bike for every short trip, you would greatly reduce your share of carbon emissions and other harmful gases produced by cars, trucks, and SUV’s.  If more people start to follow this pattern, imagine the benefit this would have on the air quality and environment around us.

Establish a consistent, positive mood!

By now, you probably already know how exercise can positively affect your mental attitude and mood.  Biking is a form of exercise, so it does the same.  But it will also brighten your mood by keeping you outdoors to enjoy the fresh air, knowing that you are positively affecting the environment around you.  Even the idea of saving tons of money will make you feel good too!

So what are you waiting for?  Get a bike, start riding, and enjoy the benefits! (you can thank me later)

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Vitamin Water is NOT healthy!

Photo Courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski

Okay, you’re probably wondering what I am talking about.  Vitamin Water has got to be healthy – it says so right in its name: “VITAMIN” water.  Right?

WRONG!

Please read this carefully:

Vitamin Water is NOT HEALTHY for you!

Got it now?  Good, now let me explain.

The TRUTH about Vitamin Water:

Vitamin Water is produced by Glacéau, which is controlled by Coca-Cola.  That’s right, the same company that produces tremendously unhealthy soft-drinks is profiting from selling you “healthy drinks” as well.  This should be your first clue as to the driving force behind the product.  I’ll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with your health.

Marketing, Marketing, and more Marketing!

The main goal for the folks who produce Vitamin Water is not to help you get healthier or lose weight, it is to SELL as many bottles of the stuff as they possibly can.  In order to accomplish this goal, they have put together a marketing strategy that has been quite successful.  You see, they simply name the product Vitamin Water and instantly people think it’s healthy without even checking what’s in it.  Add a clean, modern-looking label and fancy flavors and the product basically sells itself.

So, when a person walks into a store and looks at the drink choices, they will see various sodas and they will see the bright colored Vitamin Water.  If the shopper is even somewhat health conscious, they will chose the Vitamin Water, thinking that they are making the wiser choice, but in reality they are choosing a product that isn’t much more than brightly colored sugar water.

VITAMIN WATER NUTRITION FACTS:

Serving Size 8 fl oz; Servings per Container 2.5
Calories 50
Total Fat 0g
Sodium 0mg
Total Carbohydrate 13g
Total Sugar 13g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 60%; vitamin B3 10%; vitamin B6 10%; vitamin B12 10%; vitamin B5 10%, Zinc 10%

Ingredients:
vapor distilled/deionized water, crystalline fructose, citric acid, vegetable juice (color), natural flavor, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), natural flavor, vitamin E acetate, magnesium lactate (elecrolyte), calcium lactate (electrolyte), zinc picolinate, monopotassium phosphate (electrolyte), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), cyanocobalamine (B12)

That means that for every bottle of Vitamin water you gulp down, you are ingesting 32.5 grams of sugar!!! That’s INSANE when you realize that the daily recommendation for sugar intake is around 40 grams per day!  And that’s just ONE bottle!!! Think about if you drank 2 or 3 bottles a day!

That should make you ANGRY!

I don’t know about you, but when someone tries to trick or manipulate me with lies, I get pissed.  I hate being lied to, and that is exactly what Vitamin Water is: LIES!   Don’t market something as healthy when in fact you are selling sugar water with chemical additives that you call “vitamins”.  Bottom line is:  It’s not natural and it’s not healthy.  Period.

Next time you’re at the store and you’re thirsty, don’t waste your calories on junk like Vitamin Water, just drink what nature intended you to: WATER. Be informed on what you are putting into your body.   Better yet, skip the store, go home, and fill up a reusable bottle from your tap.  Coca-cola won’t be happy, but your body and your wallet will thank you.

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Maximize strength gains with the 5×5 workout

Photo courtesy of Frank Carroll

There’s nothing worse than hitting a plateau in your muscle and strength gains.  You’ve been working out consistently for months, seeing major differences in the amount of weight you are able to push and in the mirror, but then the gains slow to a halt.  It’s okay, it happens to the best of us.

Put simply, these halts in progress are due to our body’s adaptations to the lifts we perform.  They’re called plateaus, and I am going to show you what I’ve done to blast straight through my most recent one.

Simple, straight to the point = 5×5 workout

If you are used to performing very complex routines with focused, isolated exercises, you may be astonished to read the following workout.  Trust me, it works – but if you don’t believe me, try it out for yourself and after a few weeks, you’ll see how this extremely basic program will give you the greatest strength gains that you’ve ever seen, PERIOD.

Okay, here it is:

5×5 Program

Workout A

Squats   -  5 sets of 5 reps

Bench Press   -  5 sets of 5 reps

Barbell Row  -  5 sets of 5 reps

Workout B

Squats  -  5 sets of 5 reps

Overhead Press (military press)  -  5 sets of 5 reps

Deadlifts  -  5 sets of 5 reps

Pull-ups  -  5 sets of 5 reps

THAT’S IT!

You will perform Workout A on the first day in the gym and Workout B will be your next lifting day.  Make sure to allow at least one rest day in between workouts.  I am currently lifting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and it seems to be working just fine for me.  I have seen strength gains that I have not seen in years!  It is truly an amazing way to change it up and blast through those dreaded plateaus.

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