Sunday, September 30, 2012

Give It Just a Litttle Bit More

Unless you have some insane genetics, you probably won't get all of the progress that you want after a single workout session. In fact, it could take years of dedicated exercise to reach your desired goals.

Of course you need to increase the intensity of your workout, but you should do so gradually. Instead of trying to lift the entire gym your second week of working out, add to your regimen gradually. For example, you can try to lift an extra five pounds, increase your workout volume by one additional set, or do an additional rep as part of each set. If you are a runner, try to run an additional thirty seconds, or even a mere hundredth of a mile. it may not seem like much, but every little bit helps and gets you one step closes to your fitness goals.

I try to practice what I preach. I worked my pectorals and tricepss today, following the same workout template that I did last week. In order to up the intensity, I added ten pounds (five on each side) to the iso-lateral weight-plate-loaded machine, and did an additional set of wide-grip dips. I wasn't really able to add to the bench presses just yet, but I hope to do so next week. Ideally, I will be able to perform sets of ten by the end of October.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fitness Advice: Take Notes

You should take notes to record your fitness progress. These notes can help you to set benchmarks, repeat a successful workout, or fix any mistakes that you may have made. Bring a pen and paper if it helps, or if you are a technophile, you may be able to use one of those fancy smartphones or tablets; I'm sure that they have apps for it.

Aside from which exercises, how many sets and reps you performed, how much weight you lifted, and so on, you may also want to take note of seemingly minor details. For example, you may want to note the height that you set the pulleys at when performing pectoral cable flies, or the incline that you set the bench at when performing dumbbell incline bench presses. This way, you won't have to waste time trying to figure out the perfect settings for the equipment that you use (speaking from experience here).

Just wanted to share that tidbit of advice. Here's hoping that you have a safe, healthy, and enjoyable weekend!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gym Ramblings: Music

As Marvin Gaye said, "Music is the soul of a man". Music can help you to focus in the gym and to increase the intensity of your workout. Most gyms have some kind of music on in the background, but it is better to bring your own music player and earbuds so that you can customize your playlist with songs that help you to increase your focus and intensity.

On the other hand, music devices may get in the way for some. I always had trouble with my earbuds getting caught on equipment (especially the Roman chair when doing hyperextensions for my lower back). I've sometimes found myself playing with my music player trying to get the right song too, cutting into time that I should have been lifting. Due to these two issues, I've stopped bringing my MP3 player to the gym. I can keep my focus without music, but it did help me to get in the zone when I first started hitting the gym regularly.

Whether you bring a music player to the gym or not, remember that your focus is on hitting the weights, making gains, losing fat, or whatever your personal fitness goals are; not just to listen to tunes! Music should be a tool that adds to your workout, not the primary focus.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Workout Diary: Back and Shoulders Day 9/26/2012

Hit my back and shoulders today. Things didn't go as planned since it was crowded this evening and I really couldn't use every piece of equipment that I wanted to, but I did make up for it by doing more sets of other exercises.

My workout today was as follows:

4 sets, 8 - 12 reps wide grip pullups - body weight
2 sets, 8 - 12 reps underhand grip pullups - body weight
3 sets, 10 reps hyperextensions - holding 35 pound plate
3 sets, 10 reps cable row machine - 125 pounds
2 sets, 8 reps cable row machine - 140 pounds
3 sets, 10 reps dumbbell shoulder presses 35 pounds each arm
3 sets, 10 reps shoulder shrugs 60 pounds each arm
3 sets, 10 reps upright shoulder rows 40 pounds

I usually like to get some lat bar pull downs in as well as additional hyperextensions using body weight. I overexerted my lower back last week though, so I cut out the body weight sets and upped the weight that I held by ten pounds. I made up for not doing barbell rows by doing additional cable rows, and I made up for not doing any pull downs by doing extra pullups. I am satisfied with today's workout, but I hope to increase the weight next week if I can.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Workout Diary: Pec and Tri Day 9/24/2012

I went to the gym and hit my pectoral muscles and triceps today. Typically, I warm up by doing two sets on the pectoral fly machine, but I omitted this and just did a superset of bench presses, raising the bar only.

My workout today was as follows:

4 sets, 8 reps flat bench press - 45 plates on each side
4 sets, 8 reps decline bench press - 30 pounds on each side
3 sets, 8 - 12 reps iso-lateral weight-plate-loaded machine - 50 pounds on each side
2 sets, 10 reps incline bench press - 25 pounds on each side
4 sets, 12 reps wide-grip dips - body weight
2 sets, 10 reps tricep rope pulldowns 30 pounds

This is a lower number of sets than I have been doing previously, but I try to bring the bar all the way down to my chest when performing bench presses now. In the past, I only brought the bar down  far enough for my arms to be parallel to the bench. The larger range of motion is more effective, but it reduces the number of sets that I can complete. Hopefully, I'll be able to increase my volume and/or weight by this time next month.

Five Reasons Not to Drink Soda

Soda is probably the biggest reason why many Americans find it difficult to shed off that excess weight. Speaking from personal experience, I was able to lose fat and become noticeably slimmer by cutting soda out of my diet; even though I didn't cut out fast food and other unhealthy items from my diet!

Here are five reasons why you shouldn't touch the bubbly poison:

  1. High Fructose Corn Syrup

    High fructose corn syrup is the prime agent in soda that increases body fat and raises cholesterol. HFCS can also leave you feeling hungrier, which can lead to overeating.
  2. Phosphoric Acid

    Phosphoric acid can weaken your bones and damage your teeth. Coupled with the high sugar content of soda, you're looking at a high dental bill!
  3. Artificial Sweeteners

    So you drink diet soda thinking that they are better for your health? Think again. Sure, you might not ingest as much sugar, but artificial sweeteners can be just as dangerous. For instance, aspartame breaks down into formaldehyde, a carcinogen, when it is digested.
  4. Artificial Coloring

    The artificial coloring chemicals in soda do not add to the flavor, but they do add to the health risks. These coloring agents may contain carcinogens, and can also impair brain function. Darker sodas, such as root beers and colas, are more dangerous than lighter colored ones.
  5. Finances

    That's right, it's cheaper to drink water! Drink water with your meals instead of soda, and your body and wallet will thank you! You'll be able to save some cash while shaving off the fat! You'll probably spend less long-term on medical bills too! 

I can't say that my current diet would be the pride of health gurus, but after cutting soda, I've improved my health tremendously. I won't suggest you to quit soda cold turkey, but try to limit your intake to the weekends. I guarantee that your health will improve if you reduce or remove soda from your diet!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Working Out For a Healthy Mind

Exercising can help you to improve your physical health, but did you know that it can also help your mental health? Sticking to a workout regimen can help you to occupy your mind with positivity rather than negativity. Regular exercise can give you something fun to look forward to in order to get a break from your hectic life.

If you are having a bad day, you can let it out at the gym and hit the weights instead of keeping that aggression bottled up inside. Not only will physical activity allow you to let out aggression in a productive manner, but it has been scientifically proven that exercising releases chemicals, such as endorphins, which help to improve one's mood. If your schedule is very busy, then you are in luck since it only takes about thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise to ease tension, anger, depression, and other negative feelings on average.

Finally, for those shy people out there, exercising at a gym may help you to overcome any apprehension that you may have to being around others. Personally, I haven't formed close relationships with anyone at my local gym, but talking to the staff and other people that frequent the gym has helped me to improve my social confidence.

Regular exercise has certainly helped to improve my state of mind, and it can do the same for you! Start an exercise regimen of your own, and you will see improvements in your physical and mental health!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Is it OK to Compare Yourself to Others?

Many bodybuilders and fitness gurus will tell you that you shouldn't compare yourself to others. I'm not an authority in the field, but I must say that I disagree (to an extent, at least).

Personally, I do like to compare myself to others at times since it gives me a benchmark to strive for. In some cases, it also helps me to feel comfortable about myself. Seeing that not every professional wrestler, boxer, or MMA fighter has rock-hard abs makes me feel more comfortable with the fact that I don't have a defined six-pack abs yet.

Do not be ashamed if you make comparisons between yourself and others, as long as you retain focus on your goals. If comparing yourself to others diverts from your progress, then you should avoid doing it. Do not feel guilty if you don't have another person's physique (yet), and don't get too cocky thinking that you are better than the next person. Remember that you are exercising to get your body into the shape that you want it to be in, not to be a carbon copy of someone else. Comparing myself to others gives me an extra drive to pursue my goals at times, but I always make sure to pursue my own goals that I set for myself.

Until next time, keep pushing yourselves.

Decided to Split the Blogs

Hey everybody. I decided to split my blog into two separate sites. This blog will focus on fitness. I'll be jotting down my progress and other fitness information on this blog. If you want to read my ramblings about games, check out my gaming blog at Grand Admiral Gamez.

For Gainz, stay here.
For Gamez, click here!

Cheers all!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Staying Focused

When you commit to an exercise regimen (or just about anything in life), it is best to stay focused on your goals. If you are beginning, you may search the Web far and wide, talk to personal trainers, or seek friends for advice. This is all well and good, but if their suggestions cause you to divert from your own personal fitness goals, you may just find yourself discarding some of their advice.

As you progress, you may also find yourself distracted by some of the "byproducts" of getting into shape. Attention from the opposite sex, compliments, and so on are great, but you should not get sidetracked by them either. Focus on your own goals, keep them in mind at all times when you are working out, and you will be better able to give it your all. Now if your goal was to attract a mate or get compliments, then I guess that you should focus on these things; more power to you!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Workout Diary: Leg Day 9/20/2012

Since this is my first workout diary posting, I'll explain a few things for starters. I will be posting my workouts here occasionally to chronicle my progress. This is mostly for personal reference, but readers may also be able to incorporate some of my exercises and splits into their own routines.

Today was leg day. I did less volume today than I typically do, but I still got a pretty good workout in.

3 sets, 15 reps incline leg press - 270 pounds
2 sets, 12 reps incline leg press - 320 pounds
2 sets, 15 reps sitting calf raises - 70 pounds
2 sets, 12 reps sitting calf raises - 90 pounds
3 sets quad leg extensions - 100 - 120 pounds, pyramid, 20, 15, 12 reps
2 sets hamstring curls 85 pounds
1 set hamstring curls 100 pounds

I left the gym barely able to walk, just the way it should be.

I'll try to up my weights next month. I omitted squats this time since my back was still aching from my back workout earlier this week; squats will probably replace a few of the incline leg presses in the future, as they typically do. I will also go back to standing calf raises with the barbell across my shoulders.

Why and How I Started Working Out

I started working out regularly because I was tired of living a monotonous lifestyle of working, gaming, eating, and sleeping; to be honest, I was also tired of being built like a straw!

I started out by purchasing myself a heavy bag for Christmas, and doing about an hour of punching on alternating days. This helped me to improve my cardio (which is still poor after years of living a sedentary lifestyle and having asthma as a child) and also helped me to broaden my shoulders a bit.

I still needed more though, so I bit the bullet and joined a local gym. With almost no muscle mass on my body, I started lifting very light weight. It was embarrassing, but luckily for me, the clientele at the gym that I frequent tends to focus on their own workouts rather than heckling dweebs, and some of them actually went out of their way to help me get started. After a few months of dedicated work, I've earned dramatic increases in strength and a noticeably firmer body.

I'm still not a hulking dude with a physique like Chris Jones, but over the course of half of a year, I've evolved from a straw to a twig. In a few years, perhaps I will be proud to look at myself in the mirror. Until then, at least I can flex my pecs now, and I'm on my way to that "V" that makes the ladies pay the fee!

A Little Introduction...

Hello to all of you out there in Internet Land. I go by the moniker "Grand Admiral Gainz". For those of you wondering why I chose this name I shall explain.

I was playing an old Star Wars space combat simulation called TIE Fighter earlier tonight (the Collectors CD-Rom version with iMuse music, not the Windows 95/98 release), and Grand Admiral Thrawn is one of the characters that appears in the game. The Gainz part of my name comes from a phrase coined by the HodgeTwins, "All kinds of gainz", referring to muscle gains.

If you didn't get the hint, most of my posts will be about games and working out. I'll probably throw in a few other things of interest for variety. Hopefully I'll be able to make at least two posts a week if my schedule allows; we'll see. I'll try to tailor my content to my audience, but I can't promise that you won't get offended by some of the stuff that I post; it's my blog afterall.

Until next time.