Tag Archives: exercise

Mass Building One Month Progress

7 Nov

A month ago I switched over to a mass building focused workout plan. I’m doing it while: 1) eating paleo, 2) taking creatine and BCAA supplements, and 3) a high quality whey shake. For the last month, I have not been counting calories, but rather relying on my paleo diet regulated hormones to tell me to eat when I’m hungry. It turns out, I’m eating a TON! I’m going to track calories for the next week or so to get a benchmark, but I’d guess I’m 2900-3500 calories a day. I’m also guessing my macronutrients are around 20% carbs, 40% protein, 40% fat.

My workout is based on volume training. Lower weights, for high rep/set counts. My split consists of Chest & Back, Legs & Abs, Arms & Shoulders. My workouts are about an hour each with the bulk of the workout being a push-pull alternating superset, with ten reps and ten sets. For example, my chest routine is a flat bench, followed by machine row. 90 second rest periods, for the ten set rotation. I then finish off with 3 sets of 12 reps incline dumbbell flies and lat pull downs.

Here is my 30 day progress:

Day 1

Day 1

Day 30

Day 30

A bit of visual progress perhaps… I’ve noticed that I’m adding muscle for sure. My arms and chest are definitely “thicker” looking and feeling. I’ve also noticed a difference in my glutes, quads and hamstrings.

My plan is to keep at this mass building through Christmas.


Paleo Progress… and ideas

15 Oct

So, I’m about two weeks into my “hardcore” Paleo challenge. I feel AWESOME… strong, lean, and full of energy. I’m looking better too. Not quite time for comparison photo against my last entry, but that’s coming soon.

I got a haircut today and got to chatting it up with the girls in the salon. I mentioned “paleo”, and suddenly I was the Most Interesting Man in the World. Some knew a bit about it, others knew nothing. They asked for my explanation and peppered me with questions. After telling them you can eat all sorts of meat, veggies, fruit, nuts and tubers, the question that struck me was, “So, what do you actually eat?”

Obviously, eating paleo is hardly a limiting diet. There are literally thousands of foods in MILLIONS of combinations! That said, I do find my self struggling with food ideas sometimes. Like a lot of people, I fall into patterns of eating things that are easy, already prepared, or familiar. My wife especially struggles with this “what do I eat now” dilemma. Here are some tricks I’ve developed for keeping your taste buds excited on paleo:

1) Try new things — given that there are literally thousands of foods that are OK to eat while doing paleo, don’t be afraid to try new things! I found out that I love brussels sprouts, salmon, and kale. I had literally NEVER had any of these foods in my life, and now I am eating them daily or weekly. Give new foods a chance!

2) Get a paleo cookbook — I bought a great Paleo cookbook and I frequent the authors site for new ideas. I have tried about half the recipes already with great success! One thing paleo has showed me is that good food can also be prepared in exciting ways that is also DELICIOUS! The internet is also FULL of sites and blogs with paleo recipes you can try out.


3) Make food in bulk — This is smart for any “healthy” eating plan. Every couple of weeks, my wife and I have a bulk food prep day where we make large batches of things so they are “ready” when we want them. I’ll make a tripe batch of meatloaf and then freeze individual serving sizes so I can take them to work. I’ll make a giant batch of paleo nut bars for snacks. I find that bulk food preparation is a great way to make sure you have things to eat when you need it, but also a great way to stay on track with your nutrition.

Insanity Asylum has begun…

11 Dec

I finished Day 2 of Insanity Asylum vol 1 today. The workout was Strength. Backing up a minute, Insanity Asylum is a 30 day sports conditioning program, developed by Shaun T, creator of Insanity.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that in 2012 I completed Power 90, P90X, Insanity, and then I’ve been “maintaining” my fitness and weight loss with a hybrid of P90X and Insanity. I’m definitely in the best shape of my life, and I’d argue in way better shape than the average 35 year old male. That said, Asylum is HARD!!!

The workouts quickly get your heart rate up, and they give you little time for recovery. The movements also require a lot of coordination. The program makes use of an agility lader, which sits on the floor while you do specific moves in and out of the boxes on the ladder. The idea is that it promotes coordination and improved agility. For example, you do moving push ups, as in Insanity, but you must move your hands into the correct boxes. You also do footwork drills where you are running/jumping in/out of specific boxes in a coordinated sequence.

There are also a lot of “compound” movements. Unlike regular p90x where you do individual sets of a given move, like a push up, Asylum puts a few moves together which really gets you working! In the Strength routine, one of my favorite moves is a curl, followed by a squat, you drop the dumbbells to the floor and jump back to plank, do a push up, then come up. You work legs, biceps, chest, abs all in this fluid sequence of moves!

My Asylum PRO’s so far: 1) excellent total body conditioning – combines strength and cardio at all times, 2) pace of workout… things move fast, and nothing really repeats, so it feels like the workout goes by fast, 3) accomplish a lot in little time – the workouts are all less than an hour, and generally shorter than a p90x routine, but I feel like I get a much better workout. I burn more calories, feel more muscle burn, and sweat more than I do in even the hardest p90x or insanity routine.

CON’s: 1) Difficulty – I find this workout to be VERY challenging, this is a PRO or a CON depending. I would NOT recommend Asylum for someone who is not already very fit, or preferably a p90x or Insanity graduate, 2) Complexity – the moves are designed to improve athleticism and agility, and at first, it can be frustrating. At a minimum, I recommend watching the videos first to get a feel for them, or even try the workouts first at 50% effort so you get used to them a bit. I can tell it will take doing these a few times to really get the sequences down.

Where Have I Been?

9 Dec

I have not given up on my fitness journey – not obvious for anybody looking at my blog since it has been 5 months since I’ve posted!

While I haven’t been blogging, I finished Insanity. I then went into a bit of a maintenance mode with p90x and Insanity workouts 3-4 days a week. I’ve maintained my weight loss. In the last few weeks however, I’ve decided to take things to the next level and get back on formal routines again.

I ordered Insanity Asylum, and P90X2. My plan is to “demo” the main workouts of Asylum this week to get the hang of them, and then do the official 30 day program. After that, it will be on to P90X2. While I did get the ab definition I was looking for when I started working out in February, I’ve yet to get truly “shredded”… that’s the new goal!

So far, I’ve demo’d Asylum Speed and Agility, and Strength. Holy crap pretty much sums up these routines. I’m in pretty good shape after graduating from P90, P90X and Insanity all in a row, but these two routines are very challenging. They are more physically demanding moves than Insanity, and at a faster pace. I don’t see how it is possible to come out on the other end of Asylum without being in awesome shape!

A post about nutrition

18 Jun

On Father’s Day, I played golf with my dad and brothers.  I grew up playing the course, and I know a lot of the people still there, although I don’t see them regularly.  During my visit, about ten guys stopped me and told me how great I looked and asked about how I lost weight and got in shape.  I am a big believer in nutrition, so I talked about nutrition mostly, and exercise second.

Yesterday, I got into a debate on facebook with somebody about doing P90x and following, or not following, the nutrition plan and the benefits/drawbacks.  My opnion is this: If you want results, you MUST follow the nutrition plan!  I have followed it to the letter since February with Power 90, and now with P90X.  I also take Shakeology.  I firmly believe that without both, I would not be where I am today.

The good news is that the plans are spelled out in Beachbody programs.  When you buy a routine, the plan is right there for you.  That’s the easy part… the hard part is sticking to it!  Personally, if you are going to work out as hard as you need to in p90x, insanity, or the like, don’t you want to maximze your results?!?!

I’m going to post more on nutrition going forward because I think it is soooo important, but for now, if you are starting a program or thinking about starting one, do the following:

1) get rid of the junk food – throw out the ring-dings and cookies.  If you don’t have it in the house, you can’t eat it.  Also, if it is out of site for most of your day, it will hopefully be out of mind.

2) shop the perimeter of the grocery store – this is usually where you find the stuff that is the best for you.  Vegetables, fruits, lean meats, etc.  The isles in the middle mostly contain the processed stuff, the corn syrup products, etc.  If food is in a box of some kind, it is generally not good for you!

3) cook more – cooking can be fun, preparing your food yourself allows you to play withe recipes, and discover new healthy foods you love.  For me, I had no idea steel cut oats even existed six months ago, now it is my FAVORITE food!

Phase II – Week 6

22 May

So, I’m in week 6, the second week of Phase II for P90X!  I’m continuing to see gradual results and continuing to love the program!

Phase II shuffles up the workout routines.  You do Chest, Shoulders, and Tris, and Back and Biceps in place of Chest and Back, and Shoulders and Arms.  CST is a hard workout!  You really pound away with pushups and intense exercises.  In this routine, we meet the “clapper” push ups, or plyometric push ups – where you literally launch youself off the ground (as if a pushup is not hard enough!).  Back and Biceps is nothing fancy… just lots of pull ups, curl variations, and dumbbell back exercises.

The plyo, kenpo, yoga and legs and back routines all stay.  My ability to get through plyo with intense effort and good form improves slightly each time!  I know my cardio strength is getting better all the time.  The pull ups continue to be a challenge, but I’m also lessening the assist I get from my pull up assist band device.  My goal is to not be using the bands by the end of this round!

Outside of my workout, I’m noticing a difference in my everyday life.  I play a lot of golf, and walking the course doesn’t tire me out like it used to.  I’m also playing better and hitting the ball further!  Simple things like walking up stairs are remarkably easy…. I just kind of “glide” up stairs now!  Even carrying my daugther(s) up the stairs is pretty simple!

As I continue to lose weight and inches on my waist, clothes are becomming a problem!  Things that fit fine 2 or 3 weeks ago are hanging off me.  Things that I had before the program, especially pants, are pretty much useless.  I am excited to go shopping for new stuff, but I want to wait until I hit a bit of a maintenance mode or my weight loss flattens out.

I’m eating more calories again.

Day 30 – p90X

22 May

Phase One is in the books!  Today I did my 30 day measurements, although pictures will have to be tomorrow.

I’m down from 36.5 to 35 at the waist – very happy with that considering all my progess to date!  Chest was down from 41 to 39.5.  Weight was down from 190 on day 1 to 183.5!!! I have steadily decreased my weight and torso measurments since February!

I’m anxious to take pictures tomorrow.  Today for some reason, I’m noticing my biceps are “bulging”.  I flexed in the mirror after noticing this, and for the first time in my life, I notice peaks forming at the tops of my biceps… I’m very excited to put it mildly!  I also notice when showering that I’m a lot more “firm” everywhere.  I’m hoping that my 30 day pics show some slight noticable difference between days 1 and 30.  I think they will based on my stats above, but we’ll see!

Phase Two of p90x switches up the workout routines.  You add the Chest, Shoulders and Tricep routine, as well as the Back and Bicep (these replace Chest and Back and Shoulders and Arms).  I really like the Chest, Shoulders and Triceps routine.  It is hard and you come out of the gate strong with slow motion push ups which are a killer! What’s great about this workout is that you don’t repeat.  You just keep going with new sets and very few breaks.