Thursday night I worked out my chest. More than half of my workout consisted of push ups. Except rather than use a medicine ball, I used handles like the ones in this picture and I gotta say, one day later and my chest is ridiculously sore. It feels great.
I was a little skeptical of the handles, but you really do feel a difference. I felt like 1)I was hitting my shoulders a bit more and 2)my chest had a greater range of motion. So now I’m curious about the “Perfect Push Up” handles. I think they’re under $30 and the cool thing about them is that they make you twist your arms as you come up.
As much as I love/hate them, I think I’m going to start varying my push ups from here on. WebMD has a great little article on some ways to start.
About a month ago I started doing bent over rear deltoid lateral raises here at the gym in my building. Since it’s a new exercise for me, I’ve been using light weights while I get used to the motion. Last night, however, I went to my gym and used the rear deltoid fly machine and the weight I normally use as my heavy weight (100 lbs) felt light. It was great. I had prefect form and still the weight felt light. So my bent over raises were a success! I want to continue doing both, but focus a little more on the bent over raises.
Lesson learned: whenever you hit a plateau with a particular exercise, do a different version of it to work out your surrounding muscles. In this case, I did the rear delts with the dumbbells and that was enough to give me an edge with the machine.
Not too long ago I watched the movie Food, Inc. It blew my mind. Shortly after, I watched Our Daily Bread and King Corn. I highly recommend all of them. However, if I had to pick just one, I’d say Food, Inc. is a documentary everyone should watch. It argues that we are killing ourselves by eating unhealthy, fast foods and contaminated meats.
Even if you don’t agree with what the movie states, no one can deny this country is filled with overweight people. That said, I’m taking my diet to a new level. I actually don’t like using the word diet, instead I’m just going to be a million times more careful what I put into my system. Here are the basic rules I will follow:
1)No soda or fruit juice
I eliminated soda a long time ago and dropped about 100 lbs. in the process. They’re empty calories. This past year I eliminated all fruit juices. They’re not healthy. I will only drink water or my own freshly made juices. I might partake in the occasional glass of wine or cup of tea. But 85% of my drinks will be water or pure, homemade juice.
2)No fast food
I haven’t had fast food in ages. McDonald’s, Burger King, Chipotle, Subway, Five Guys — I don’t care how “trendy” your restaurant is. It’s still fast food. I’m done with you.
I will (and have been for the past 13 years) exercise a minimum of 5x/week. I will devote two workouts per week to cardiovascular training and attempt to take my pulse as close to 185 bpm as possible.
Meat is out of the question (unless I’m in a foreign country or I’m positive the meat I’m eating is clean). Poultry is out of the question too. I will eat seafood, but I will try to eat fresh seafood. I will look for low sodium foods. I will not use salt. I will stay away from butter as much as I can. Again, I’m not saying I will go vegan, but I will try to limit any sweets or fatty foods.
Usually Thursday and Sunday are my rest days. Thursdays I’ll just spend some time in the steam room and Sundays I’ll skip the gym all together. But this morning I got up early and hit the gym for a back, triceps, and abs workout. It was great! I walked out of the gym feeling like a million bucks. The reason I worked out today is two-fold. 1)I had breakfast with my girlfriend in the city and 2)I might not get the chance to workout Tuesday night (have a friend in from out of town), so I wanted to make sure I still hit my 5/workout mark for the week. Yes, I’m that obsessive. If I so much as miss a day, my body feels lethargic.
It got me thinking, maybe Sunday workouts are a good thing. Gives me an early jump on the week. We’ll see how I feel about this idea next Sunday. On a different note, I was hitting the iso lat pull down machine pretty hard today. (I wanna get my pull-ups back on track.) I had three 45-lb. rings on each side. I also saw this version of the iso lat pull down on YouTube today. I think I wanna try it next time at my home gym. Looks like a great way to really isolate those lats.
I love it because it gives me a chance to de-stress and forget about my work day. I’ve also noticed that it helps me not break out. (I guess all the sweating cleanses your pores.) Some other benefits, which I didn’t know about include: boosting your immune system, better blood circulation, and sinus congestion relief.
So if you’re lucky enough to have access to one, I highly recommend it. Otherwise, some cities (like NYC) offer steam room facilities which you can pay to use. Just make sure 1)the steam room is well kept and that 2)it’s actually hot. I hate steam rooms that are not hot or not well maintained.
Quick post today since I had little sleep last night. Gonna take this time to talk about two things I need to improve on. One is sleep (I don’t get nearly enough sleep as I should) and stretching. I’d like to do more stretching exercises post workout.
So first sleep. On a typical week day, I’m usually in bed by 2am and awake by 7:45am. 5 hours and 45 minutes of sleep isn’t bad, but I’d like to make that 6 hours and 45 minutes. Not to mention, I go to bed at 2am on a good night. Lately it’s been more like 2:30am. (Why? ‘Cause I’m online reading blogs or blogging myself!)
Now on to stretching. Last week my muscles were ridiculously sore. In particular my chest. I’d like to do more stretching to help my muscles recuperate. To elongate them as well. I don’t want to have compact muscles, but rather long, strong muscles.
So starting this week I will shoot to do a little more of both. And on that note, it’s time for some sleep!
I came across these gorgeous Asian pears while walking through the produce aisles at Whole Foods over the weekend. They’re round like an apple, but have this unique spotted skin. I never had one before so I bought two. They were delicious. Crunchier than normal pears (think apples) and with just the right amount of sweetness.
Best of all, turns out Asian pears are high in fiber, pectin in particular. Pectin is good for you because it helps lower your bad cholesterol levels. Pectin basically looks for and sticks to bile (which is made up of cholesterol) and takes it out of your body. If you’re diabetic, it also slows down the rate at which glucose is absorbed into the blood stream (huge benefit). Check out this link for some more benefits of Asian pears.