Category Archives: Exercise

Posts about the latest exercises, workouts and related ways to get into shape.

The Anti-boredom workout

I guarantee that most of you will at some point today do the following:

  • You will check your email
  • You will check Facebook
  • You will aimlessly surf the web
  • You will watch some TV
  • You will gab on the phone

Who wants to take me up on this? Anyone want to make a bet? Combined, this time-wastage can span hours. At a minimum it can eat up precious time in your day.

Is any of this advancing your cause? Helping others? Making the world a better place? If you are going to be selfish then at least be selfish in a more meaningful way. Go exercise!

The Anti-boredom workout

Turn off the TV and turn on the radio.  Grab a stop watch or a timer.

Perform each of these exercises for 30 seconds without a break in between. Once done with all of the exercises you are allowed a two-minute break. Repeat this 4-6 times.

  • Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Crunches
  • Lunges
  • Burpees

At least being selfish in this way will make you healthier and more energetic. A more energetic you is a happier you. A happier you is a world slightly better off.

 

 

Yes, your desk job is killing you!

Sitting at your computer hours on end and living a sedentary lifestyle is the “modern equivalent of eating too much steak and smoking cigarettes” as this article suggests. Can you imagine doing all three? People who smoke don’t really have active lifestyles do they? Throw in a high cholesterol diet and the death clock for these people starts spinning rapidly. No wonder heart disease is the number one killer in America. If you fit this category, please listen up!

IF YOU SMOKE DO YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES A FAVOR: STOP TODAY! (Why are you being so selfish?)

IF YOU INDULGE ON HIGH CHOLESTEROL FOOD, FATTY FOOD, FRIED FOOD – GO VEGAN FOR A DAY (or a week!)

IF YOU HAVE A JOB WHERE YOU SIT ON YOUR ARSE ALL DAY (jobs are hard to come by…) HEED THIS WARNING: Your body will mummify from the inside out if you go all day without moving. Your ticker will get used to a life of largesse and learn not to work so hard. A heart not working hard leads to a short life. Understand that your desk job is literally killing you.

During your breaks get up from the desk and instead of chatting by the water cooler hit the stairwell and get in as many flights as you can. During lunch go for a walk.  During the course of the day try to encourage standing or walking meetings. Whenever you talk on the phone do so standing up versus sitting down. These little things will keep your heart in better shape and your bum less flabby.  They may just extend your life a bit longer too. Your heart will thank me.

 

How often should you change your workout routine?

Research has shown that changing up your workout routine is important to improving your fitness levels. The simple fact of the matter is your body is very resilient and very adaptable. If you keep doing the same kind of workout week in and week out not only will you get bored you will also begin to see results plateau. So let’s start to shake things up OK?

The question is how often should you change your routine? I have the answer and I am emphatic about it: Change your routine every two weeks.

For people seriously wanting to get fit and putting in the time to do so, two weeks is a magical number. Here is my logic:

Your body is VERY adaptable. It creates billions of new cells each day and is in a constant state of repair. You begin to plateau sooner than you think. Fourteen days represents a massive amount of cellular change.

Two weeks is also not a random number. Ever try to quit smoking? After two weeks without nicotine life gets better. The same is true for just about any addiction. Your body is much different after just two weeks of change from both a physical and a mental perspective. Two weeks even has a special name. It is called a fortnight.

Two weeks is an easy number to remember. Without a plan you will forget and change too often or not enough. We are all very busy and we forget things. What did you have for breakfast yesterday? See my point? You should get in a habit of selecting two workout cycles (more on this later) at the start of each month. Cycle one is the beginning of the month and after the 15th you switch to the second cycle. Ta da! It is that easy to remember.

After two weeks and you will be begging for a change. You get bored very easily (we all do…). Three to four weeks of the same routine will drive anyone bonkers. A two week routine is much more palatable.

What about your goals, objectives, plans, changes in your attitude or your ability to workout? Shouldn’t your routine adapt to this? To this I say “NO!” Remember, you are in this for the long haul. Sure you are going to have setbacks but a routine is a routine! You need to have one.  When you are ready to get back to work look at the calendar. If it is before the 15th it is cycle one, after the 15th it is cycle two. Now you are suddenly back on track and no longer confused.

OK. I think I hammered on the two week thing enough so now you are asking “What is a cycle?” A  cycle is a focused set of workouts that either isolates muscles under load to strengthen them or muscles under load to condition them. You alternate these types of workouts bi-monthly.

Cycle One workouts places emphasis on resistance training with light cardio sprinkled in to allow the muscles to heal. When you perform a Cycle One workout you attempt heavier weights but less repetitions. Cycle Two workouts place more emphasis on higher repetitions, less weight, longer cardio workouts and high intensity interval training.

Example of a Cycle One routine with repetitions in the 4-6 range:

Day 1) Arms and shoulder weight training

Day 2) Rest or light cardio

Day 3) Lower body weight training

Day 4) Upper body resistance workout (arms and chest)

Day 5) Rest or light cardio

Day 6)  Abs and back resistance workout

Day 7) Rest or light cardio

Day 8- 14) Repeat above

Example of a Cycle Two routine (repetitions in the 10+ range):

Day 1) Max cardio

Day 2) Rest

Day 3) Core (abs and back) focused HIITS

Day 4) Upper body focused HIITS or Max cardio

Day 5) Rest

Day 6)  Lower body focused HIITS or Max cardio

Day 7) Rest

Day 8- 14) Repeat above

It is tough enough to maintain a workout routine. Don’t complicate things but keep in mind change is good.  What day is today? It just happens to be the 10th and therefore I am off to go work on my manly chest with some heavy iron. Happy fitnessing my friends!

Margaret Thatcher bench pressing in Texas

I prefer a home gym for my workouts because A) it is very convenient and B) there is usually only one snobby and pretentious person there (that would be me standing in front of a mirror kissing my biceps). However spending too much time in your home gym makes you complacent. You forget how the rest of the world does it. So it comes to pass that one day I find myself in a real gym not knowing exactly what I was doing and making a jolly old fool out of myself.

I was on a business trip to Dallas, Texas and the hotel I stayed at was connected to a world class physical fitness facility. It had everything you could ever dream of: swimming pools, jogging tracks, boxing rings, cardio machines, weight training gizmos, you name it, they had it. I swear it must have been were the Dallas Cowboys football team worked out. I also think the cheerleaders worked out there too. I was like a kid in a candy store.

When I walked in the place I instantly had to UP my game. The clientele there meant business. I sucked in the gut, stuck out the chest, and spoke with a deep voice. “Howdy y’all!” I was in Texas and had to walk the walk and talk the talk.

I made my way to the weight training facility like a he-man on a mission. Slapped on a few of the big plates and thought: let me bang out a few bench presses to show these Texans how people from New Jersey do it. Hmm.. OK, two forty five pound plates should be easy enough. Wow, this bar is thick…

“One” <Oh this is a lot heavier than I thought> “Two” <I think I can do it…> “Three” <Why did I try a third rep?!> BANG! BOOM! BANG! BOOM!

Yep, you guessed it. The plates on the Olympic bar fell off one after another with a thunderous roar and the entire gym stopped to look at the red faced buffoon who thought he was Ahhhrnold. As they came off, I chirped like an angry Margret Thatcher at a tea party gone bad and the entire place let out a collective giggle. Worst of all who came to my rescue? Yep you guessed it, one of the cheerleaders. She looked as if she weighed 90 pounds but there she was helping me to spot my bar and pick up my weights. You want to talk about embarrassment. I squeaked something like I had an old injury from Nam but I don’t think she bought it. Uh… time to hit the showers…

So let this be a lesson to all those people who workout at home: it is good to stick your nose into a real gym once in awhile. Just don’t overdo it when you get there!

The Teletubbies workout

Workout Name: The Teletubbies Workout

Description: A fun, high intensity workout …not to be done around other people.

Theme song: The workout theme song can be found here.

Step 1) Listen to the Teletubbies theme song

Step 2) Curse at me bitterly for getting this stupid song stuck in your head

Step 3) Perform these exercise while singing the theme song:

  • When the song starts playing jog in place
  • When they sing “Time for Teletubbies” do fast jumping jacks
  • When they sing “Tinky-Winky” drop and do a push-up
  • When they sing “Tipsy” – Perform a Burpee
  • When they sing “Lala” – Perform a deep squat
  • When they sing “Po” – perform another push-up
  • When they sing “Teletubbies say hello” – perform squat jacks as fast as you can
  • When they make animal sounds – Run in place as fast as you can
  • When the baby is giggling – jog in place

burpee

Squat jack move:

Squat_Jacks

Step 4) Replay the song. Repeat these steps as long as you can.

Step 5) Cool down phase while still humming perform some stretches

Step 6) Go about the rest of the day singing “Tinky Winky, Tipsy, Lala, Po”