Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

FitBit

Posted: August 10, 2016 in Creative Writing, Fitness
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I’ve had my FitBit for most of the year now, but only just recently started wearing it all day.  I’m not much of a watch person, so I would wear it to run and track my time/distance, but that was the extent of it.  When I started this new job however I saw that it requires a lot of walking, so I put the watch on and was amazed.

Let’s take yesterday as an example.  My shift starts at 0500 and by 0700 I was at 6,000 steps.  Now thats good, but we do work hardest at the beginning of our shift, so I looked after work, and I was at around 13,000 steps which for me equals a little over 5 miles!  

I’m not naive enough to think that walking alone will keep me in great shape, but it is a step in the right direction.

Tell me your daily routine to stay in shape in the comments below.  Do you use any special equipment regularly to keep you in shape?  Thanks for reading, time to head to work, so until next time…

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In regards to my fitness and overall health, the last year and a half, was a HUGE mistake on my part.  My last four months in the Army was a huge waste of time on my part.  I only had to go into work, pretty much once a week.  Besides that I was getting paid to sit at home and stay out of sight.  Instead of using that time to stay in shape I pretty much just vegged out and did everything but that.  Then I went into security work right after leaving the Army, and my fitness level took a complete dive.

Sitting in a car for 8-12 hours a day, is by itself a terrible thing, as you’re cramped up in said tiny car.  You could get out and walk a round a bit, but that only went so far.  On top of all that, my nutrition was anything but that.  I would shove food down my throat, and follow it up with an energy drink or two, to help me stay awake for my whole shift, and it definitely started to take a tole on my body.

Now I wouldn’t say that I got fat.  Yes I got a little belly on me, but I wasn’t super obese, I was more skinny fat.  What really opened my eyes to what I was doing to myself, was constantly having to get taped after weighing in for the Army.  My entire 10 years on active duty, and I never had to get taped, but as soon as I leave the Army I have to start getting taped.  Not a great feeling.

So there is the full story on why I am so actively working to get back into shape, and change my life again.  What’s your fitness story?  If you have one share it in the comments below.  Thank you for reading.

When talking about parasitic thoughts, i’m talking about any thought that can detract from your day, or your goals.  So these thoughts can come from work, driving, people in public, or my reason for this post, just plain old laziness.  To start i’ll talk about the parasitic thought that I had to quash right away today.

I’d been cleaning and running errands throughout the day, and it was getting about time to go for my daily run, but a little voice in my head started whispering.  What was it saying?  That I was too tired from the day, and from running the previous couple of days, and that I should just make my mileage up on Saturday.  The sad thing is that I almost caved into these thoughts.

As I was driving back to my house though, I thought hard about it, and decided that not only would I not skip today, but if I was going to do a makeup run on Saturday, then I might as well just do another run.  Now the point of this whole thing is just to get it out there, that you shouldn’t let lazy thoughts get the best of you.

If you have goals, then you probably also have a plan to reach those goals.  Skipping one workout may seem innocent enough, especially if you have a makeup plan, but it plants that seed of laziness.  You skip that first day, and you’re that much more likely to skip even more days, which in the end ruins your plan for your goals.

Let me know of any instances where you had to shove those parasitic thoughts out of your head.  Thanks for reading, and until next time.

As I stated in a previous post, i’m trying to follow the 80/20 theory when it comes to my running.  For those that missed the post, I have been reading a book called 80/20 Running, and what the point is, is to follow a 80/20 training plan, where 80% of your running is at low intensity, and the remaining 20% is broken between moderate, and hard training.  According to the studies mentioned within the book, most runners (casual and competitive), spend the majority of their training time in the moderate level of intensity, without even being aware of it.  So even when we think we are doing an easy run, we usually revert to a pace that is just under our race pace, and that is comfortable to us.

I have done two runs since I started reading this book, and have been trying to implement the methods that I have been reading about, but it’s a lot harder to get into and stay in the low intensity threshold.  Every time I think I have gotten into the perfect pace within the boundaries of an easy run, I look at my watch and see that I have sped back up to my usual pace.  This see saw effect of pace is a pain, but it is recommended to keep your runs short while you break yourself out of the moderate pace.

My goal for the next two weeks is to find and keep the pace needed for easy runs.  I am capping my weekly mileage at 25 miles per week.  I run three miles in the morning and another two in the evening after my workout.  I’m hoping that after these two weeks I can start upping my milage, without it affecting my pace.  As i’m not an elite runner trying to compete in National events, my end goal is to run about 50 miles a week.  All this running is to help my cardio and endurance to help me in Obstacle and Mud runs.

Let me know what you think of the 80/20 method.  Are you with it or you more of a HIIT (high intensity interval training) type of person?  Thank you for reading.

So while my first obstacle race is probably going to be a BattleFrog Series race, I think I will be focusing more on Spartan races after that.  I like the Spartan races, mainly because there are many different styles of races that you can participate in.  I think my goal for the year is to earn a Trifecta medal.

For those that don’t know what the Trifecta is, it’s a medal that you get by combining the pieces that you earn from each of the race types.  So you have to complete your Trifecta between January 1st-December 31st, so you have a complete calendar year to finish it.  You can also finish multiple Trifectas throughout the year, but you can only get 1 piece from each race, even if you run multiple heats in a day.  You get a piece of the Trifecta for completing a Sprint, Super, and a Beast, and you can complete it in whatever order you wish.

A quick look at the race types:

Sprint=3+ miles, 20+ obstacles
Super=8+ miles, 24+ obstacles
Beast=12+ miles, 30+ obstacles

I plan to finish it in order of difficulty this year, so Sprint, then Super, and finish it up with the Beast.  Next year I can try to finish multiples, but at the same time I also want to do the Spartan Endurance events so we will see what all I can get done.  Once I get more experience with these races, I plan to start entering Elite races in order to earn points for global rankings.

Let me know what you think.  Thank you for reading.

Since I have decided to start doing Obstacle/Mud runs, I figured I should probably improve my cardio.  I’ve been so focused on building strength, that my running and cardio in general have fallen on the wayside.  My only issue with running  a lot more is that I want to stay at my current weight, so I must balance running, lifting, and my nutrition to ensure I don’t lose anything that I have gained in the strength and size department.

I have to say that the biggest helpful tool that I think I have is a FitBit.  This watch helps you keep track of everything from your steps, mileage, to your heart rate.  I’m also reading a book called 80/20, which works on the theory that 80% of your runs should be at a slow easy pace, while only 20% of your runs should be at either hard or medium pace.

I really like this way of training, but the hard part is training myself to run easy on the easy days.  Since I haven’t been doing a lot of running, I set my target mile pace at 9:30, but constantly caught myself running at a 7:30 pace so had to dial my speed way down.  The constant fluctuation really got my heart rate elevated, so called an end to my run a little earlier than I wanted, but still got a few miles in.

I feel with all the tools I am using, I should have a good comfortable training platform for my cardio, and hopefully shouldn’t effect my weight too much.  Let me know how you handle your cardio and if you find any specific tools useful to your training.  Thank you for reading.

Ok so I haven’t blogged in about a week, but a lot has been going on, so it’s time to fill you all in.

First, and probably the biggest update is I got my first tattoo.  I’ve wanted to get a tattoo for a long time, but wanted to be sure that I got one that meant something to me.  The tattoo I got is based on the traditional military memorial photo of boots, rifle, dog tags, and helmet.  Since i’m a Cavalry Scout, I had the helmet replaced with a stetson.  I also had the script of “All gave some, some gave all” added around the picture.  I got this tattoo as a tribute to all service men and women, that have given their life for this country, but also more specifically to my friends that have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Second update is in regards to my workout schedule.  We got a new CSM in my Reserve unit, and he is all about physical fitness, which is good, but means I need to get back into somewhat competent running shape.  Since I have been neglecting my cardio, it just means i’ll have to work extra hard in order to fix that deficiency.  I have also started supplementing my bodyweight stuff with some kettlebell work.

Morning                  Evening
Monday:                    Sprints                     Strength
Tuesday:                    Off                             Strength
Wednesday:             Distance                   Strength
Thursday:                  Off                             Strength
Friday:                        Sprints                     Strength
Saturday:                   Off                             Strength
Sunday:                      Hike                          Off

Third update is that I think I have decided on a sport to pursue as a hobby.  That sport is obstacle course racing.  I’ve wanted to start doing them for awhile, but just haven’t.  At least by doing these races it gives me fitness goals, which makes working out for me a lot more enjoyable.  I chose obstacle course races, because everything is incorporated in these races.  You’re running (if you so choose), you also have obstacles which challenge you in many different ways, which will allow me to put my strength training to good use.  Keep a look out for updates on what races I will be attending.  My goal is to do at least three this year.

The last thing isn’t really an important update, but figured I would include it anyway.  So even though I have stopped gaming as much, I still picked up Tom Clancy’s: The Division this week.  My friends had been talking it up a lot, and I have been waiting for this game since it was mentioned like three years ago.  So far this game hasn’t disappointed, and i’m enjoying it a lot.

Well that’s all the main info for now.  Thank you for reading…

There are many trains of thought, when it comes to the best upper body exercise.  Depending on who you talk to it could be bench press with it’s many variations, push-ups, and some will say the overhead or military press.  From a bodyweight exercise point of view however, the pull-up is the best.  Now when I talk about pull-ups, I am talking about any variation of the exercise where you’re pulling yourself above the bar.  This could be with palms facing out, towards you, one handed, weighted, or even muscle-ups.

Now i’ve known since I was a kid that pull-ups were a great exercise, and I did them pretty regularly on a branch outside our house, but I never really put a huge emphasis on them.  When I joined the Army, they really fell to the wayside, because the Army Physical Fitness Test gauges your strength off of push-ups, which I can do plenty of.  The only time I had to focus on pull-ups was when I was training for SFAS and Ranger School, because to complete both courses you have to be able to do a minimum of 6 dead hang pull-ups (palms facing out).

Since I am now focusing on bodyweight exercises, and following a set program, pull-ups have become a key component to my training.  For most people, the act of pulling your entire weight off the ground and over an object is a very daunting and seemingly impossible task.  There are a few methods that beginners can use to help them initially with this task, until they are able to do them with strict form.

Assisted Pull-ups:  There are two ways for you to perform assisted pull-ups.  The first is to have a training partner hold your feet.  By doing this they are taking a portion of your weight away from the lift and can also assist you on the pull if you need it.  The other method is to wrap a band around the bar, which you then put your knee into, and it provides the same assistance as a partner would.  The thinner the band used the less assistance, while thicker bands provide a lot of assistance.  When I get to the point that I can’t do any more pull-ups, I use a band for assistance, since my wife and kids can’t help me to the point that I need.

Negative Pull-ups:  This is another good method that I have used, and will usually use if i’m on a taller pull-up bar.  To do this all you do is jump up to the bar, to where your chin is above the bar.  Then you slowly lower yourself back to the ground.  Make sure your downward movement is slow and controlled.

Another good bodyweight movement that you can do to help start building the muscles required for good pull-ups, are body weight rows.  Your still doing a pulling movement with your bodyweight, but it’s angled and your feet are on the ground making the movement easier.  Body weight rows are rated as harder than negative pull-ups, so if your finding those too easy, but pull-ups too hard then transition into body weight rows to build more strength.

I want to thank you for reading, and if anyone has any specific questions be sure to ask.  I may not know the answer right off the bat, but I will do my best to answer all questions.  Thanks again.

Life Change #2

Posted: March 2, 2016 in Creative Writing, Fitness
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In addition to working out consistently, I have also started eating better (besides my journey to Tennessee).  The best part though is we have the entire family eating better, which makes it easier on me since I don’t have to eat healthy while everyone else is still eating crap.  Now to specify, we are eating better, but by no means are we on a diet or anything.  Getting the entire family to change the way we eat was made simpler because April is pregnant and needs to be taking enough nutrients for her and the baby.

I have to say the biggest step towards eating healthier is staying away from fast food.  I have to admit, we used to eat out a lot, and that is one of the worst things you can do to your body.  Another thing is we stopped buying packs of soda.  I still drink a cup of coffee everyday to get my caffeine (to avoid my migraines), but soda has once again been cut from my “diet”.  My main drink of choice now is water, and most surprising is its plain water, where before I had to dump a container of MIO into the bottle for me to drink it.

Our last couple of family meals were as follows

Dinner: Chicken Salad with little tomatoes
chibata bread

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs
Mixed Berries
Toast

Dinner: Steak
Corn
Mashed Potatoes
Garlic Bread

Now again, still might not be the healthiest stuff, and I am by no means measuring servings or counting macros, but I feel its a good start.  Thank you for reading and look for more posts tomorrow.  Tomorrow we will talk about Pull-ups…

Few Days Off

Posted: March 2, 2016 in Creative Writing, Fitness
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I must apologize for not posting for a few days.  I got invited to a surprise going away party for my buddy in Tennessee, so went out of town for a couple days.  It was a really great time, especially since I haven’t seen my friend in about three years.

Since I took that time off, my workout schedule also took a little hit.  We were pretty busy, and running all over town, so I just didn’t get my workouts in while I was there.  I am however back on schedule and grinding out these workouts.

Now a quick update on my progress with the workouts.  Again I have only been doing these workouts for about a week now, but I am definitely seeing some good results.  Before when I worked out, I would always be tired and sore the next day.  While I am slightly sore in the morning after getting up, by the time I have to workout at night I feel great.  I’m also slimming down a little which is a good thing, and I’m starting to feel stronger.  I still have a lot of work to do, but i’m glad thats its all starting to pay off.

I’m going to try and post a few more time than usual this week in order to make up for the four days that I missed while I was gone.  Thank you all for reading.