Friday, October 26, 2012

Workout Diary: Push and Biceps Day 10/26/2012

I haven't been able to blog lately due to my schedule. Hopefully I'll pick things back up again next week.

Yesterday was my pectoral and triceps day. I only got 15 sets done yesterday due to under-eating. This was totally unacceptable, so I decided to incorporate a few extra  push exercises to work my upper pecs, shoulders, and triceps. I also worked biceps today as planned. Today's workout went as follows:

4 sets, 12 reps wide grip dips - body weight
3 sets, 12 reps barbell curls - 50 pounds
3 sets, 10 reps barbell shoulder presses - 60 pounds
3 sets, 10 reps dumbbell shoulder presses - 35 pounds each in hand
2 sets, 10 reps preacher curl machine - 70 pounds
3 sets, 10 reps incline dumbbell presses - 35 pounds each hand
3 sets, 10 reps dumbbell shrugs - 65 pounds in each hand
4 sets, 10 reps hammer curls - 25 pounds in each hand

That's much better. I want to keep up this level of intensity if possible. this will require me to eat more in order to keep my body energized, and to provide building material for my muscles. Remember that when you lift at the gym, you're actually tearing your muscles. If you do not provide building material (protein and carbohydrates) to repair and build your muscles, you will actually lose muscle and your hard work will be in vain!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Workout Diary: Leg Day ft. Abs 10/22/2012

Typically, I start each week with a pectoral workout, but I decided to work the legs today since I missed working them on Friday. I made it a point to show myself no mercy. If I couldn't make it through this workout, then I was a wussy and a shame to all of my friends and family. This may sound childish, but it got me through the day, because I was still feeling down when I first started my workout. My leg workout went as follows:

3 sets, 12 reps incline leg press - 270 pounds for warmup
1 set, 12 reps incline leg press - 320 pounds
6 sets, 10 reps squats - 50 pounds on each side
5 sets, 20 reps standing calf raises - 50 pounds on each side
4 sets, 15 reps sitting calf raises - 90 pounds

After that leg workout, I still had a lot of energy to expend. My anger, disappointment, and rage gave me power. I felt as if I could beat a character from Dragon Ball Z, well, at least a low-tier one like Yamcha.

I decided to do some ab exercises to end my workout:

4 sets, 8 - 12 reps decline bench situps w/ medicine ball for obliques
2 sets, 10 reps ab machine - 70 pounds

I'm satisfied with this workout. I've made improvements and got a lot of of my mind. Time to get back on track.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Unfortunately, Just One of Those Weeks

I had planned to have a busy week, but I did not plan to have such an unfortunate week that would keep me from the gym. I was only able to make it to the gym three times this week, but I was able to make up for it by doing a bit of calisthenics and hitting my heavy bag.

Friday was supposed to be leg day, but I couldn't bring myself to go to the gym. I thought that I would be able to bring myself to go today, but didn't. I decided to take the weekend off, try to clear my head, then get back to work on Monday.

I lost a friend and neighbor this Friday. Although I ultimately made the decision to start going to the gym on my own, her healthy lifestyle partially inspired me to start working out myself. We only went running once together, but I learned from her, and the experience was an inspiration to try to push just a little extra when running (cardio has never been my strong point). Aside from being encouraging and inspiring in my fitness life, she was one of few people whom I considered genuinely decent and "sunny" to be around.

I am still in disbelief that she is gone. If there is an afterlife or final resting place, I hope that she is resting in happiness.

As for me, life has to go on. I have lost close family members and friends over the years, and I have somehow survived. If I am to survive, I have to go and do it. Monday, it's back to work making gainz. No excuses, and no mercy; I cannot expect mercy from the world, and for me to be able to stand up and conquer my adversaries, or at least attempt to ensure that any victories that they claim over me are Pyrrhic, I must show myself no mercy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gainz Report: 10/16/2012

This week is going to be very busy for me, but I still plan on getting my four days at the gym in; two days have been completed so far.

All of my hard work has paid off, even if it is to a very small extent. I have gained a pound over the past two weeks. I am a very hard gainer, especially since I don't like to eat much. It's going to take hard work to reach my goals (and beyond), but my time spent in the gym certainly is not in vain.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Just One of Those Days

I had planned to got to the gym and hit the pectorals today, but I was interrupted by visitors. It was good to see old friends, but it still pains me that I wasn't able to workout as I had planned. I can still go to the gym tomorrow after I've finished my work though. I might have to go five days back to back rather than taking Wednesday off as I had planned in this week's split. Things will work out, and I will be making my gainz this week, despite a delay in my schedule.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Healthy Digestive Tract is Important for Overall Health

In my last post, I talked a bit about how proper nutrition was important to fuel and to repair the body. Well, all the fuel in the world won't help if your body cannot properly digest it. This is part of why it is paramount to keep your digestive tract in working order.

The common American diet is very unhealthy on the digestive tract. Excess junk food, processed meats, and other unhealthy items coupled with a lack of insoluble fiber can lead to constipation, chronic bloating, and even more serious conditions such as colon cancer. People that want to live a healthy lifestyle should try to minimize these unhealthy foods and introduce more insoluble fiber in their diets.

Insoluble fiber absorbs water, creating bulk and making it easier to pass stool. If you are taking in lots of protein (especially whey protein supplements), I advise you to take in some fiber and water to help prevent cramping and make it easier to exit your system. You may have to gradually increase your fiber intake rather than taking it in all at once so that your body can comfortably adjust to your new diet.

It is really easy to increase your fiber intake without sacrificing (healthy) foods that you love. For example, you can add some flax seeds to your oatmeal, cereal, smoothies, or salads. Granola or nuts in Greek yogurt is another way to get fiber along with protein. Fruits and veggies are great sources of fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals. Eating a slice of wheat bread with meals may also help, but if you are allergic to gluten or trying to cut carbs, this may not be the best choice.

Aside from an increased fiber intake, physical activity can help the digestive system. Going for a run or for a jog can get things moving. Exercises targeting the abdominal region, such as situps, may also be helpful. If you work at a job that requires you to be seated all day, try to get up and stretch or pace around the office if you can. Sitting up straight in your chair and retaining good posture, as small as these things may seem, will also help your digestive tract to work more efficiently.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Rest and Nutrition are Key

It is said that gains are not made in the gym, but rather at home. This means that you stimulate your muscles at the gym (or wherever you may choose to exercise), but your muscles actually grow when you are resting.

Lifting weights causes microtears in your muscles (part of what makes you sore after a strenuous workout). When your body repairs these tears, your muscles grow back stornger. This requires the right nutrition, plenty of proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, as well as proper sleep. Failure to eat right or sleep right can actually result in a loss of muscle, despite how much weight you lift. If you want to see more gains, then be sure to get enough calories and rest, that is, unless you just like picking up heavy stuff, putting it down, and repeating without seeing any changes in your physique.

Proper nutrition is also important to provide fuel through your workout. A good breakfast with complex, slow-burning carbs and protein can help you to sustain your energy throughout your regimen. You'll have to keep it up on days that you don't workout too. Soreness that lasts days after your workout can be an indicator that your body is still healing, and thus, still needs proper fuel and rest. Sometimes this soreness can be alleviated by taking in the right kinds and amounts of nutrients.

This piece of advice is primarily for those that are trying to gain muscle. For those of you who are trying to lose fat, nutrition and rest are still important, but you will want to try to have a caloric deficit (in other words, take in less calories than you burn with your basal metabolic rate plus physical activity).

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Workout Diary: Leg and Bicep Day 10/4/2012

I originally planned to work abs and biceps today and run/walk to the gym for cardio, but the heat made me change my mind. Since I wasn't hoofing it to the gym, I decided on working the legs today. I still elected to workout my biceps today instead of tomorrow, since I want to hit the heavy bag on Saturday, and I can get more out of my workout if my biceps aren't too sore. This is what I did today:

6 sets, 10 reps squats - 45 pounds on each side
4 sets, 15 - 20 reps standing calf raises - 45 pounds on each side
4 sets, 12 reps sitting calf raises - 90 pounds
3 sets, 8 reps deadlifts - 110 pounds

I found myself barely able to walk after these sets (which is my goal on every leg day), so I went and did some exercises for my biceps. Since the exercises that I did on back day also incorporate the biceps, I decided to keep the volume light:

3 sets preacher curl weight-plate-loaded machine - 65 pounds
3 sets hammer curls - 25 pound dumbbells in each hand

I skipped the leg press machine since a group of people were hogging it to themselves; I made up for it by doubling the sets of squats. In relation to this, I noticed that on the leg press machine, I can lift almost double the amount of weight that I can squat. This may be the machine taking away some of the resistance, but more likely, it is the additional pressure that squatting places on the back and shoulders. Squatting probably isn't something that I want to do too close behind back day or shoulder day (which was yesterday; just didn't write about it). I might have to reschedule my split one week and see if there is any improvement in my squats.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Workout Diary: Back Day 10/2/2012

I made it to the gym a bit earlier today, so I was able to use all of the equipment that I wanted to. I decided against adding shoulders to today's workout; I'll work on them tomorrow. Today's workout 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
2 sets, 10 reps hyperextensions - body weight
3 sets, 10 reps barbell rows 80 pounds
3 sets, 10 reps cable row machine - 125 pounds
2 sets, 6 reps cable row machine - 160 pounds
2 sets, 10 reps lat bar pull downs, behind the neck - 85 pounds

Typically, I like to do machine exercises before using free weights on back day (which is the opposite of how I try to work arms), but this routine worked well for me due to the crowd at the gym. I also felt that I was able to get more done with good form. I might continue using this regimen, or a modified version of it in the future.