I need a really simple workout (strength training) routine. I already do a lot of biking and running. I have a YMCA membership, and I want to justify keeping it by going to the gym on a regular basis. A 3-4 day routine would be good, I haven't lifted regularly at a gym in a long time.
Hello my friend. Sorry for the delay!
Here's "Halla Fitness Theory 101":
(1) You are aware of your genetics/somatotype (ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph)
(2) You are training your whole body.
(3) You are interested in a balance between mass, strength, and definition.
I believe in training the whole body, but I also believe in hammering the parts most in need of development.
Traditionally, for almost a decade, in my prime, I worked off of a 4-day split, as follows:
(WORKOUT A) Chest + Triceps
(WORKOUT B) Back (Lats, Serratus, Rhomboids, Erectors) + Traps
(WORKOUT C) Legs (Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves)
(WORKOUT D) Shoulders, Biceps, Forearms
Here's the beauty of this routine, it does not matter what day of the week you do which workout. Simply start with A,B,C, or D on your first day of exercise (Let's assume "A"). The next day you exercise (next day or two days after, whatever) you have B,C, or D to choose from (Let's assume "C"). On your third day of training you have "B" or "D" to pick from (Let's assume "D"). And hence the fourth day of your training (whatever day of the week it is you MUST do workout "B". Got it? Now you have a plan to work your whole body evenly (which is best for overall muscular development, BTW) regardless of what days of the week you can attend the gym. Cool?
OK, let's get one hard and fast rule out of the way:
SPOT TRAINING DOES NOT WORK!!!
For instance, it is explicitly forbidden for you to only work your chest and back. You will do your entire physique a dis-service if you disobey this fundamental principle. Capice? Remember, it is fair for you to hit chest and back THE HARDEST of all workouts, but you MUST do the others, even if it is without the full vigor of your explicit goals...
(1) In practice, I do mostly free weights (barbells + dumbbells) and SOME machines.
(2) EVERY time I workout I do a MINIMUM of 15 minutes of CARDIO to warm up. This prevents injuries, please do the same...
(3) After my cardio warm up, I do 1-3 light sets of exercises to prime my target muscle groups for that day...get the blood there...let them know what's coming ofr them...then HAMMER them.
(4) I DO NOT EVER have a pre-determined number of reps to perform for any given set, I ALWAYS train to failure. This allows me (and now you) to be instinctive, effective, and not get caught up in the minutiae of such obsessive-compulsive logging.
(5) 75% of my workouts are centered around SUPERSETS (performing two exercises of one body part, one after the other, with no rest in between) - or - GIANT SETS (performing three exercises of one body part, one after the other, with no rest in between)
(6) I'm also a big believer in DROP SETS, which are selecting one exercise (let's say at 100 pounds) doing reps to failure, then dropping the weight to 90 pounds and going to failure, then dropping down to 80 pounds and going to failure...you get it. Usually 3-4 drops does the trick...
(7) Normally, I do my heaviest lifts (barbells) first, and then get into the groove of hammering things out during the rest of the workout.
(8) For building MASS and STRENGTH keep your repetitions between 4-7 reps for your main upper body lifts. Sets of 8-12 are for warm-ups OR burn-outs only.
(9) For legs, focus on lifts in the range of 12-15 reps, they are already huge, just chisel them out now.
(10) If you do workout 5 days per week, the simply repeat the workout you did on DAY 1 at the end of the week on DAY 5 (e.g. Mon=A, Tues=B, Wed=C, Thurs=D, Fri=A).
That's it for my general theory. Any questions yet? If so just shoot a reply.
NOW - Two workouts for CHEST + TRICEPS.
Note: These are expected to be done in 2 different periods, or weeks, however your schedule works out...
(1) Flat Bench Press (BARBELL) = 1 warm-up set, then three sets to failure.
(2) GIANT SET (Incline Dumbbell Press + Incline Dumbbell Flyes + FLAT BENCH Cross Bench Dumbbell Pullover) = 4 sets to failure
(3) DROP SET = Tricep Press Down WITH ROPE Attachment = 4 sets to failure
(4) SUPERSET Push-Ups (Man Push-Ups, then Drop to Girl Push-Ups [Knees on the Ground Instead of Feet]) = 4 sets to failure
(1) Incline Bench Press (BARBELL) = 1 warm-up set, then three sets to failure.
(2) GIANT SET (Flat Dumbbell Press + Flat Dumbbell Flyes + FLAT BENCH Cross Bench Dumbbell Pullover) = 4 sets to failure
(3) DROP SET = Barbell French Press = 4 sets to failure
(4) SUPERSET Push-Ups (Man Push-Ups, then Drop to Girl Push-Ups [Knees on the Ground Instead of Feet]) = 4 sets to failure
Next, I will type out 2 Back/Traps workouts + some Shoulder Bicep workouts, I have run out of time for now, but this is a good chance for you to fire off some general questions if you have them.
My diet is "isometric":
1/3 of my calories each day come from protein,
1/3 from carbs, and
1/3 from fat.
The reasoning behind eating this way is as follows.
Protein can be burned for fuel if you need it, or be used as the building blocks for new muscle growth. The absence of protein in your system (negative nitrogen balance) is an immediate trigger for your catabolic metabolism. So, you are better off with MORE protein than you need each day, than LESS. Especially because it is physiologically impossible for protein to get converted to fat.
Carbs can be converted to fat if you eat too much of them at one sitting and do not burn them off with exercise. Your reduction of bread is a wise move, as plenty of other foods, including some vegetables and of course fruit, contain carbohydrates. I do as you do, I cut bread, white sugar, candy, soda, etc. from my diet, so that my carbs come from oatmeal, small amounts of potato or past with meals, etc.
Fat can obviously be converted to stored body fat. Keeping your fatr content down as I mentioned is necessary simply because on the scale of caloric impact, remember:
1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 g of alcohol = 7 calories
Fat and alcohol are both a risk to a shredded abdomen as they are very high in calores and contain little nutritive value with regard to muscle anabolism. Just like carbs, you will get the fat your body NEEDS out of your diet, even if you try to strip out as much as you can from the foods you eat. Fat is just "in there." You can't get rid of it, nor do you need to, but it is wise to limit intake of it as much as possible due to it containing more than double the calories per gram as carbs of protein.
Other points of interest:
We have a fat metabolism AND a carb metabolism.
Carbs are burned first, at the front end of physical activity, and usually are burned out of the blood after 15 minutes of cardio. Fatty acids are used next as fuel to replenish ATP stores in ourt muscles, and are usually burned out of the blood after 30 minutes of exercise. Past 30 minutes you are burning STORED FAT. That is why doing cardio for 30 minutes is unwise, you stop the activity right at the threshold that your body is buring stored fat, when your exercise is most "profitable" for purposes of getting ripped. I do 45-60 minutes of cardio 3x per week. If I do 30 min. of cardio I immediately jump into the weight room and keep my metabolism high so I am burning fat while I lift. Efficiency!!!
The reason that the Atkins diet works is because protein can be used as fuel, and cannot be turned into stored body fat. Complete elimination of carbs forces the body into ketosis, and the body starts to use the fat metabolism exclusively. This results in large amounts of stored fat being burned for fuel and a reduction of it in the body. I personally cannot do that type of diet, I can do the "South Beach" diet as it is more forgiving of moderate carb intake and als oconsumption of fruit. Atkins diet cannot be healthy for a human in the long run, it's just gross.
So, eat 5-6 smaller meals per day instead of 3 big ones, and make sure that at each sitting you have protein, carbs, and some fat on your plate. Eat your veggies, they are good for you and fill you up with little calories. Finally, never eat a serving of carbohydrates that is bigger than your fist. I never eat a full baked potato, I eat half one. I also eat very small amounts of pasta and instead add on more meatballs and veggies and marinara sauce onto the dish to make it more filling.
Give these tips a shot and let me know if it helps you get closer to your goals.
Originally Posted by Bamboo
On a semi-related note, the YMCA doesn't have a squat rack but it does have a smith machine . So I can't really squat. This makes me unhappy. It does have one of those squat machine things, where you sit in the seat and push out, but it feels weird. Any ideas?
No squat rack?
A Smith machine is fine, especially if you vary your exercises.
Try these for starters (all possible with a Smith Machine):
(1) Rear Squat
(2) Front Squat
(3) Vertical Leg Press
(5) Straight Legged Deadlift
I'll drop you some sick leg workouts soon...
Good luck Bro!
Tell me more about what it's like to be really really happy.
But of course!
First of all, allow me to congratulate you! Welcome to the really, really happy club!
Each day I wake up in a good mood and ready to go.
Time to make things happen again!
Positive energy is self-sustaining. If you exude it, your supply of it does not expire, it multiplies.
There is much to be thankful for. I am young, healthy, an American, I love my family, I have awesome friends, I am employed, I'm in graduate school, I still make time to work out, and I enjoy the simplest worldly beauties as they appear before me.
Loving the simplest parts of life, such as nature, and simple goodwill among people, how could that ever get old? I love watching Mockingbirds dive bomb my cats to protect their young. There is this vine that grows twice a year around here that has these irridescent purple flowers on it and it is unbelievable, but I have no idea what it is, but I know where it will pop up all over town because it fascinates me. I get a kick out of sweeping my deck off, scrubbing it down, and using a butterknife to remove all the grit that can build up between the floorboards because that means later that day I can hang out on it with my wife and drink a glass of Cabernet and listen to music. If we embrace these simple things as the beautiful events they are, then we truly have a limitless supply of things to be happy about in the eternal here and now, and that which is yet to come.
We are free to do our work, to aspire reaching our own unique potential, and to pursue the happiness we wish to define the essence of our existence.
These are some of the many things that make me as happy as I am.
What happiness has manifested in your life, my friend?
UPDATE: I just read your blog! CONGRATS BRO! That is AWESOME NEWS!!!!
About five years ago, my mom (E?S?FP) left her husband of 15-ish years because of substance abuse issues. Less than a month after that, she met a guy at a homeless shelter who is twenty years her junior and got into a relationship with him.
I was skeptical of his intentions, but willing to reserve judgment. He turned out to have a history of criminal fraud and he seemed to be manipulating my mom. I was not comfortable being around him or having him around my family, but my mom could not accept that and kept trying to force me to accept him into my life. Eventually, I had to break ties with her because I couldn't get her to stop. Also, she broke up with him several times and came to me for help to get away from him, then would go back to him within days. It was hard to help move her and stuff with four kids and was physically and emotionally draining.
About six months after they met, they got married and within days her new husband was arrested for check fraud.
Mom went back to her substance abusing ex, the father of my youngest brother who was then around 13.
They were together for about six months when mom decided to leave again and resumed her relationship with fraud guy while he was in prison. My youngest brother flipped out and wanted nothing to do with her. He stayed with his dad for awhile, but when Dad fell off the wagon, he ended up staying with our middle brother and his wife (above reproach SJ pastoring family). They persuaded both parents to sign over guardianship, though neither parent agreed to any kind of monetary support.
There was something like an uneasy, distant peace until this summer when my aunt died and I didn't have the heart to not speak with my mother. She didn't push fraud guy on me and seemed to understand where I was coming from. I don't know whether the renewed relationship had anything to do with it or not, but mom ended up divorcing fraud guy this last fall. She was having a hard time making it, so she moved in with us.
I really like my mom. She does some weird stuff sometimes, but she is also generally kind and thoughtful. As long as I don't have to deal with boyfriends that weird me out, we're really okay. I was, however, really hurt by some of the stuff that fraud guy said to me and things my mom said to me while she was with him. I felt pretty betrayed and disrespected. I think I've moved on, more or less, and I'm happy with how things are, though I know they could change at any time.
The problem is, my youngest brother - now almost 18, has really not gotten over any of it. Mom keeps pushing and doing stuff like showing up at his church doing weird stuff (she's kind of a cuckoo charismatic religious nut) that embarrasses him in front of his friends. The more she pushes, the more she pushes him away.
She doesn't understand what his problem is. She thinks fraud guy wasn't really any worse than my brother's dad and that people get remarried all the time, so he should get over it.
Now I'm not saying pill guy is better than fraud guy, but pill guy is dad and fraud guy is not. And it's not a normal remarriage to hook up with an ex-con young enough to be your son that you met at a homeless shelter and moved in with in a matter of months. All of us kids kind of freaked out and our personalities are pretty different from each other.
So all that to ask: Is there a way to help her understand that my brother's feelings about what she did are valid and that she needs to give him time? Also, what are some things she could to do show my brother that she cares without making him feel pressured and invalidated?
“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.” ~ John Rogers