Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hotel Fitness Room

I went to Maine this past weekend with my family and we stayed in a hotel on Saturday night. The hotel was very nice with a pool, hot tub, and a fitness room. I was interested to see what they had in this "fitness room" so I peeped in. It was a decent size room with a treadmill, a stationary bike, and an elliptical machine. That was it! There were no resistance training tools at all, not even a dumbbell. It made me realize the sad state our society is in regarding fitness. Three cardio machines and no weights. I would have felt better if the room was completely empty with only the rubber gym mats. At least then, a person could perform some good body weight drills and get some exercise benefit. The way the space was set up, you didn't have room to do anything productive. I could understand maybe one or two "cardio" machines but having no weights is just wrong. A pull-up bar and some kettlebells would be all you would need. I suppose that's the way it is and I should be surprised that they even had a "fitness room" to begin with.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Good Diet Is A Must To Achieve Optimal Results

I want to discuss the importance of a good eating plan in conjunction to an exercise regime. You need to structure a balanced nutritional plan that works well with your bodies ability to metabolize the foods you eat. The diet you choose should work well with your schedule and exercise goals.

When I was in my twenties, I completed the Body-For-Life challenge and was eating six times a day every two to three hours. At the time, my work schedule and recreational activities coincided with this plan and I was able to get optimal results. I balanced proteins and carbohydrates with every meal and was able to drink three to four meal replacement shakes a day. I was single at the time and was able to spend four to five hundred dollars a month on shakes and supplements. I dedicated twelve weeks to follow and complete this challenge and so this program worked for me back then.

However, in this day and age my circumstances have changed. I am married with a son , own a house, and work crazy time schedules. My finances are much tighter now. I don't have the extra money to accommodate meal replacement shakes and other dietary supplements. My body does not digest whole foods quickly so the frequent eating plan does not work for me now.

The eating program I am currently following is the Warrior Diet. I have had great success with this plan and it fits in perfectly with my busy schedule. The diet is based on under-eating during the day and one big meal at night. My body seems to respond well to this system and I can really feel the difference. My energy levels are up and my body does not have to constantly work to digest food throughout the day. The ability to use stored body fat as fuel is implemented through the under-eating phase and the anabolic muscle building process is enhanced with the one main meal. For more information, click on the link below.

The thing to remember when structuring a diet plan is to make sure you can follow it long term and it provides the proper nutrients your body needs. Resistance training tears up your muscle fibers and your eating plan must address these concerns. You need a balance of high quality protein, low glycemic carbohydrates, and poly and mono saturated fats as well. You should try to avoid fried and processed foods, trans fats and preservatives at any cost. However, the occasional cheat meal should be allowed so you can stick with your plan and make continued gains. If you restrict everything all the time, then you are more apt to fall off the wagon and sabotage your nutritional plan. My simple advice is to not give up. If you have a bad day and eat poorly then get back on schedule the next day and move forward. Nobody is perfect! I splurge from time to time but I always jump back on my eating plan and make progress. You must find a healthy diet plan that you can actually follow and consistently keep exercising to make continued gains. Do not underestimate the importance of a well thought out eating plan.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lack Of Time Is No Excuse!

I often hear people say "I would exercise more but I don't have any free time." That is simply not a good enough reason. Today for instance, I was planning my workout in my head thinking I would do some Turkish get-ups and kettlebell snatches. Well, by the time I got home from working all day long I only had fifteen solid minutes to train. So instead of telling myself I didn't have time, I combined the get-up and snatch for the fifteen minute duration. The workout went like this:

I started with my left arm raised, lying on my back and performed a get-up to the standing position. Once I was standing, I did five snatches with the same arm and descended back to the lying position of the get-up. I switched to my right arm and repeated the process. I kept changing sides and took short rests between switches. The weight I used was 24kg(53 lbs.) Fifteen minutes was up and I was done.

The kettlebell is a versatile tool that allows you to do a lot of work in a short amount of time. I have done ten minute workouts before that have totally wiped me out. The amount of muscle recruitment involved in these exercises are very beneficial. The body works as a unit to perform these movements and the results are nothing short of amazing. The best part is that you don't have to dedicate time for separate cardio workouts like running. The excuse of no time to train is weak.

The will and motivation to better yourself should be a daily habit. Having more energy and stamina to get through difficult tasks are all possible if you apply yourself. Time is not the issue here. By staying consistant, exercise will actually free up more time.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The 20/20 Swing Variation Workout

I created a workout that will test your conditioning, build up your strength endurance, and melt the fat right off your body. I use three different size kettlebells: a 16kg(35lb), a 24kg(53lb), and a 32kg(70lb). The workout lasts a total of twenty minutes and I set my gymboss timer for twenty second intervals. I begin doing swing transfers from one hand to the other with the 32kg bell. Once the timer beeps I immediately grab the 24kg followed by the 16kg and repeat the process. The goal is to rest as little as possible and keep switching kettlebells every twenty seconds. After about twelve minutes I switched to the two-hand swings with the 32kg but I kept the hand-to-hand transfers with the other two bells.

I managed to rest for only three twenty second intervals for a total of one minute. Nineteen minutes of work with swings and I was drenched in sweat. I would suggest you build up your tolerance slowly and rest as much as needed at first. This exercise will smoke you! Another tip for burning more calories is to wait at least a half an hour after your workout before eating or drinking a protein shake. Your metabolism will continue to race for awhile after so take advantage of it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Value Of A Great Instructor

When I was preparing for the HKC certification I decided to see an RKC for a few sessions.  I am real glad I did!  I had been training with kettlebells for quite some time and I received all of my information through books and DVDs.  Even though I got a lot out of those things, my form was still suffering.  Little mistakes that I was making went unnoticed by myself because I couldn't watch myself while I was training.  An extra pair of eyes will do wonders for you.  I was lucky enough to have a great RKC Instructor teach me the correct form and the time to work on these problems.  It's real hard to break bad lifting habits when you have been grooving the same movements day in and day out.  I would suggest video taping yourself so you can really see what's going on. 

So my advice to all the new kettlebell enthusiasts out there is to go see a reputable Instructor from the get go.  It's not worth it to try and figure everything out on your own.  The proper trainer will teach you the correct form from the start so you can get quicker results.  I can't stress safety enough and there are a lot of details involved when you apply the hardstyle methods.

What's your motivation?

Welcome to my blog! 
The reason for starting this blog is to share some of my insights on training, nutrition, and supplementation.  I have well over a decade of trial and error training under my belt so I feel compelled to share some of the useful information I have gathered throughout the years.  I want people to avoid some of the mistakes I made and benefit from the methods I found to be the most rewarding.  My tool of choice is mostly the kettlebell.  For time restraints and quick results nothing has worked better for me.  The kettlebell will make you stronger, burn fat, increase flexibility, and improve conditioning all at the same time.  I do like to incorporate body weight drills as well.  When I teach clients my main focus is safety.  I feel the hardstyle method of strength delivers the safest and most desirable results when performed correctly.

So what's my motivation?  I want to be able to help people get the results they want.  The potential for injury is high with the kettlebell.  I want my clients to perform the basic kettlebell exercises with proper form and be able to benefit from these drills.  I see too many people using less than perfect form that will eventually result in injury.  Another piece of advice is to start with the swing and turkish get-up.  Read Pavel Tsatsouline's book "Enter The Kettlebell!."  Follow the program as he wrote it and read the book again.  I made the mistake when I started using kettlebells to skimp over the swing and started snatching and pressing right away.  Sore elbows and tweaked shoulders was my reward.  Don't skip the basics!  Spend a lot of time practicing the kettlebell swing and get-up.  I would also recommend going to an RKC or HKC Instructor for proper form.  I will discuss this topic further in my next post.  But the point is to spend enough time (months) owning these movements so your body can adapt properly and handle the demands of the more advanced snatch and military press.

I am very passionate about this type of training.  I dropped over forty-five pounds of fat in six months and gained my confidence back.  My strength and endurance has improved greatly and I want to do my part and help people change for the better.  So with that being said, what is your motivation?