Thursday evening I have a fitness test at my gym. I’m pretty psyched about it as it’s been a long time since my last test. In fact, my last test was in October of 2008 and my body fat back then was 22%. Yuck! I really hope I’ve managed to lower it. I think I have. I have been doing cardio like a mad man and I’ve really been watching what I eat. But, you never know. Here’s hoping I ace the test!
After doing another push-up heavy chest workout today, I think I’m ready for the next stage — renegade row push-ups. I’ve never done these push-ups, but I’ve always been curious about them. It’s essentially mixing a push-up with renegade rows, which are done with dumbbells. (This YouTube video shows exactly what I’m talking about.)
The renegade row / push-up combo will work my chest, back, shoulders, and abs. They look very intimidating, but I’m gonna start off with 4 sets of 4 and see how it goes. I’m actually really psyched to try these. Like I said before, you gotta keep shocking your body with new exercises and routines. Otherwise, you’re just conditioning your body to do x push-ups, x bench presses, etc.
I’ve been upping my training these past few weeks and so far I’ve been very pleased with the results. Saturday morning I hit the treadmill while watching the World Cup game and I felt unstoppable. I only did 25 minutes, but I ran at 6 speed and a minimum of 4 incline. I did a lot of 5.5 and 6 incline and I discovered a little mini mind trick that helped me get through it. With the incline at 6, I imagined myself bouncing off the treadmill and floating in air. (Every time my right or left foot hit the treadmill, I would count the (milli) seconds it’d take before my foot hit the treadmill again. Each second off the treadmill, meant I was running on air.) As a result, I tricked myself into thinking the treadmill was not at 6 incline. Did it work? Yup!! I eventually did tire out, but I got through 3 minutes of 6 incline that way.
Sunday I hit the gym and had a great back, triceps, and abs workout. I pulled 270 lbs on the iso-lat pulldown machine. The most weight I’ve ever moved. Unfortunately, my pulls ups have been kinda meh. I need to hit them a little more often this week. I’ve been topping out at 3 to 4 reps the two times I did them last week. (I was on the verge of hitting 6 reps two weeks ago.)
Overall, I’m happy with my workouts this past week. Like I said, the World Cup gives me an extra boost of energy. Here’s hoping for another strong week.
Like I said before, my workouts tend to get a major boost during two sporting events — the Olympics and the World Cup. Saturday during Argentina’s debut game I ran 40 minutes straight at an incline level. Today during Paraguay’s 1-1 tie game with Italy, I ran for 35 minutes straight at random. (Both runs were on a treadmill with 6.0 speed.) I won’t say I didn’t tire, because I did, but it took me a long time to tire. Even at 5 incline, I felt it was difficult, but I was so involved in the game that my mind fooled my body into thinking I was ok. In other words, it was an awesome run. And an awesome game too!
The World Cup starts today and believe it or not, but that has a huge effect on my workouts. For some odd reason, whenever I workout during the Olympics or the World Cup, my workouts are through the roof. It’s as if I’m inspired to workout harder based on the games I see on TV. The athletes inspire me to workout harder.
Oddly enough, it only works with the World Cup and the Olympics. Makes sense though, as for me, those are the only sports worth watching and the only sports with real athletes (in other words, they don’t fight dogs, shoot themselves in the leg, take steroids, etc.) Plus, I grew up watching soccer (and playing it too) with my family, so the excitement level spills over into the gym. Here’s to an awesome month of workouts!!
I worked out my shoulders and biceps today. Combined, it was no more than 50 minutes. For one of my shoulder exercises, I did 4 sets of dumbbell shoulder presses. I combined it with a bicep curl, so I started off with a normal dumbbell bicep curl and then hoisted the weights up to do a standing dumbbell press. I had never done this exercise before (at least not in awhile), so it felt pretty good. I feel like all of my workouts have been refreshed, which is great. You have to keep changing things up so your muscles don’t get used to anything.
In other news, I weighed myself this week. I weighed in at 252. Lately I’ve actually felt pretty lean, so that’s good news. Later this week I want to start up on my pull-ups again. I haven’t done any this week yet.
This weekend I accidentally stumbled upon a show called Whole Body Health. It’s on the Retirement Living TV Channel, and while I’m nowhere near retirement, I absolutely loved the program. The guest was Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a dermatologist who also specializes in nutrition. He argues that eating unhealthy foods causes inflammation and spikes in one’s blood sugar, which in in turn can lead to premature aging, obesity, and other health issues. So Dr. Perricone suggests we should reduce saturated fats, refined sugars, and other high glycemic carbohydrates. We can do so by filling our diets with 10 super foods:
Salmon: the perfect food. Its rich in omega-3 fats, protein, and is an overall excellent food for cardiovascular health.
Nuts: they are also loaded with healthy fats and can help lower bad cholesterol.
Sprouts: loaded with essential minerals that the body requires.
Beans/legumes: excellent source of protein and high in fiber.
Açai Berry: a high energy berry from the Amazon.
Allium family: garlic, onions, shallots, leeks, and chives.
Green foods: spinach, kale, wheat grass.
Hot peppers: anti-inflammatory analgesic.
Yogurt or kefir milk
Throughout the program, Dr. Perricone made it a point to say that his “diet” is not revolutionary, it’s common knowledge that people have dismissed as they rush to buy burgers and chicken sandwiches. I liked that a lot, it gave him credibility — at least for me personally. Unfortunately, if you go to his website you’ll notice he sells lots of supplements. Expensive supplements. That is a major turn off, because now he is “selling health.” My personal take is, follow his diet advice. (I have my own take on it here.) You don’t have to go vegan or go raw or whatever. The trick is to ditch saturated fats/processed foods and eat a variety of foods that are good for you. That advice, while common knowledge, is priceless.