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Found 17 results

  1. Goal 1: Get big and strong like BA Baracus: Sandbag Floor Press 4x8x125# (currently at 3x8x135#) Goal 2: See things from a different perspective like Murdock: Handstand Push-up progress Goal 3: Be flexible in any situation like Face: Do one mobility exercise daily, 5 days a week Goal 4: Formulate a plan and see it come together like Hannibal: Track everything I eat for a week to determine my current Diet Level (per NFA). Take the prescribed steps to Level Up.
  2. Superdad IV - The Quest for Sleep All summer long, I've been preparing myself to become Superdad before my 3rd kid arrives. We getting very close to the goal line now. His due date is August 30th, but there's no telling when he'll make his appearance. I'm not even sure if I'll be able to finish out this challenge, but I'm going to give it a go. Goal 1 - A Superdad is well-rested: Consistent bedtime leads to consistent sleep Yes, I realize consistent sleep is a ridiculous thing to hope for with a newborn, but I'd still like to work on forming the habit of getting to be at a reasonable time and maybe banking a little extra sleep before Superboy arrives. So, here's my plan for 5 days a week: Head for bed by 10 PM - 2 points Lights off by 10:30 PM - 2 points Lights off by 10:15 - 1 bonus point Possibility for 5 points a day, 5 days a week, 4 weeks in the challenge equals 100 possible points. Alternatively, if I average 7 hours of sleep a night at the end of 4 weeks, I earn full credit for this goal. Goal 2 - A Superdad looks good in his super-suit Carry over goal from last challenge and part of a longer term goal. I'd like to lose 3 inches from my midsection by December 25th, my 40th birthday. For this challenge, I'm going to be following the Phase 1 diet plan from Engineering the Alpha, which involves intermittent fasting. I'll be tracking my fasted hours, my calories, and my macros. Hit 16/8 fasting/feeding window - 2 points Hit my calorie goals - 2 points Hit my macro goals - 1 point Possibility for 5 points a day, 5 days a week, over 4 weeks equals 100 points. I will award bonus points for extra days hitting my goals during the week. I will also award myself full credit if I lose an inch from my belly by the end of the challenge. Goal 3 - A Superdad breaks through his limitations This one will be about improving my mobility. Namely, I'd like to improve my ankle flexibility in order to be able to do pistol squats. I also need to work on my shoulders and my overall posture. I just got a copy of Becoming a Supple Leopard from the library, so I'm going to read through it and see if I can get some ideas on daily mobility exercises. Scoring forthcoming. Full credit awarded for 1 full unassisted pistol squat on each leg. Goal 4 - A Superdad exercises his brain as well as his muscles I've got at least 5 books I'd like to read, so I'll award 20 points per book. This will also hopefully motivate me to get to bed early to read. There you have it. Up, up, and away!
  3. Part 3 of the Superdad series: DAD OF STEEL A Superdad is Big and Strong Goal 1 - 1xBW Sandbag Floor Press for 3 reps A Superdad Looks Good in his Super-Suit Goal 2 - 34" waist A Superdad has a Firm Grasp Goal 3 - Do at least one grip-strengthening exercise with each workout (16 total) A Superdad lends a Helping Hand Goal 4 - Do at least two things that help my wife around the house each day (14 per week) I will try to come back and add more description to these goals as Week 1 progresses, but I wanted to get something started.
  4. Superdad Returns - the sequel to Becoming Superdad As we learned in last month's challenge, A Superdad is Big and Strong: Goal 1: Perform one strict handstand push-up Last time, my strength goal was focused on sandbag overhead press. I came close to my goal, but realized that the sandbag OHP is not an ideal exercise to reach my real goal, which is performing handstand push-ups. I figure if I want to be able to do HSPUs, I would need to be able to do a 1x bodyweight OHP and a 150-160 lb sandbag is just a bear to deal with, especially holding it over your head. So instead, I'll focus on the goal itself. I'll be progressing through Pike Push-ups, Feet elevated Pike Push-ups, HSPU negatives, and then hopefully a full HSPU by the end of the challenge! A Superdad looks good in his super-suit: Goal 2: Lose 1 inch from my belly Every time I try to increase my calories to bulk up, I end up adding to my belly first. I've had challenge goals in the past about trimming my midsection, and had some success, but this summer I'd really like to get down to a lean waist and stay there. Various sources agree that the "ideal" waist measurement is about 45% of your height. I'm 6'-1" (73"), so that works out to about 32.5" for my waist. I was at 35.5" when I measured at the end of May, so I hope to lose an inch a month, which equates to about 4-5 lbs of fat based on previous measurements. I'm going to shoot for this goal by following Intermittent Fasting and I'm also going to try out Carb Backloading. Other steps to achieve my goal: Track my eating at least 5 days a week I'll be shooting for about 1800 calories a day (I'm pretty sedentary aside from my 4 workouts a week). 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight Maintain balance in my macros (30% PRO, 35% CHO, 35% FAT) Goal 3: Strengthen those muscles under the belly fat I know that ab exercises can't spot reduce fat, but I definitely need to increase my core strength and it certainly can't hurt to tighten up my core muscles. 10 Stomach vacuums throughout the day "PLP" style reverse crunches. I started these at the beginning of June with 5 and I keep adding one each night. A Superdad plans ahead Level Up Your Life Goal: Prepare a family budget for after the baby arrives My wife wants to take 8 weeks off from work after the baby comes and she's our primary breadwinner, so it might be a good idea to plan ahead for those 2 months of reduced income... I have plenty of experience creating budgets, but I am pretty bad at sticking to them. So, I'll go back to basics for this one. Goal is to have a July-to-December budget by 7/1. https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/how-to-build-a-budget/ http://www.cozi.com/blog/6-steps-creating-budget/ https://www.payoff.com/life/money/5-simple-steps-to-create-a-successful-budget/ A Superdad appreciates his kids Level Up Your #dadlife Goal: Appreciate fatherhood everyday It has been pointed out to me that I have a tendency to treat fatherhood as a chore or a job rather than something to enjoy. With a third kid on the way, it will be that much more important to make sure I'm enjoying my little blessings. So, I'll keep a daily log of things that I appreciate about my of my kids or about being a father. Goal is to write down at least one thing a day. There you have it. Let's get to work!
  5. This is going to be part 1 of a multi-part series of challenges as I seek to become Superdad! I am already a dad with a 7 year old daughter and 4 year old son. We also have another son on the way, due at the end of August. Whenever I talk to friends who are about to have their first kid, I tell the dad to get in the best shape of his life before the kid comes because afterwards, he will get no sleep and the better shape you're in, the less sleep you'll need. I have no idea if that's scientifically true or not, but it's a good motivator for me to get in the best shape of my life by the end of the summer! But becoming a Superdad is not just about being in shape. There are several aspects of my life that I'd like to hone on my way to becoming Superdad, so I'm going to focus on a few each challenge. A Superdad Is Big and Strong Goal 1: Eat for Muscle to get big Following the path laid out in 7 Weeks to 10 Pounds of Muscle and keeping the mindset Staci wrote about here, I'm going to plan out what I eat each day in order to gain 4-5 pounds and then stick to the plan. In Staci's post, she starts off by saying we plan our workouts, why wouldn't we plan our meals? I've long heard/known that diet is more important than exercise when it comes to making changes in my physique. So, I'm going to bust out a spreadsheet and plan my meals. I figure I can add up all the calories and macros ahead of time and then just eat what's on my list! My side goal for this is not to add any inches to my belly while I bulk up elsewhere. Edit to add starting measurements: Weight: 158# (7-day avg) Belly: 35" Average BF = 20% Body Fat = 31.6# Lean Body Mass = 126.4# Goal 2: Overhead Press to get strong I'm going to need big broad shoulders if I want to carry the weight of my family, right?!? I'm working on Clean-to-fist Sandbag Overhead Presses, but following the workout protocol in the 7 Weeks book. I can currently do 4x5x70# and plan to work up to 5x5x85# by the end of the challenge. A Superdad Is Calm, Cool, and Collected Goal 3: Spend x minutes each day praying/meditating/unwinding I'll admit that can have a bit of a short fuse with my kids and I need to learn to be more easy-going around them. Part of that will mean learning to control my reactions to their behavior, but also just remembering that they're kids and they don't think/act like I do. I've included unwinding in this because I definitely find that a stressful day at work can lead to a bad attitude at home. I'm not sure how long I want to shoot for each day, but I'll probably start with 2-5 minutes and see if I can build from there. A Superdad Loves His Wife and Kids Goal 4: Read Super Husband, Super Dad and put the tips within into practice. The "put the tips into practice" part of this goal is a little nebulous, but that's because I haven't read the book yet. I've read the first few chapters and skimmed the table of contents, so I'm confident there will be some concrete applications I can put into place. PS I was very excited to see the superpower themed mini challenge!
  6. I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a solid challenge theme, but not having much luck. I even considered just sitting this one out while continuing to work on my overall goal of building strength. However, I find I am more consistent when I have a challenge thread. So here's my five minute write-up: Goal 1 - 4 workouts per week - 2 upper body, 1 lower body, and 1 sandbag-focused Goal 2 - Practice bodyweight skills every day (pistols, handstands, one-arm push-ups) Goal 3 - Play music for 5 minutes a day, either banjo or upright bass Goal 4 - No phone/screen time after 10 PM, except for Kindle Goal 5 - Finish reading 3 books
  7. If there's one thing I miss about the 6 week challenge format, it's the week off between challenges to reflect on my previous challenge and polish up my goals for the new one. So, here's my somewhat hastily thrown together challenge write-up. Heed the words of the Rebel Leader: How to Create Your Own Jedi Council I discovered Nerd Fitness 4 years ago and I have definitely learned a lot in that time, but I also think I've spent too much time jumping from one fitness/workout idea to another, trying to find something that really resonates with me. I've stuck with it for 4 years, but still haven't seen the results I was originally after. So, I'm preparing to re-dedicate myself to my pursuit of the LGN body and becoming a superhero for my family. To do that, I'll need the wisdom of my Jedi Council: The Anti-Program-Hopping Master - Anthony Mychal From The 242 Method: “You don’t need a new program. You need a mindset. A mindset that embraces minimalism, because “basic†and “simple†is what paves the road to solid gains.†In the 242 Method, Anthony preaches focusing on 4 "marriage" lifts (2 upper body and 2 lower body) as your go-to, never miss exercises. Make sure you keep doing those, and then you can flirt with anything else that piques your interest. My goal for this 4 weeks is to really hammer my 4 marriage lifts and also fool around with some accessory lifts that I can regularly include as I build a plan for the future. I'll be shooting for 8 marriage lift workouts. The Ultimate Sandbag Master - Josh Henkin During my last challenge, I read DVRT The Ultimate Sandbag Training System and convinced myself to invest in an Ultimate Sandbag (USB). Now, I get to use it! My goal is 4 USB workouts, providing adequate variety so I get a feel for how the different exercises are performed and which ones I want to make part of my regular rotation. The Kinobody Master - Greg O'Gallagher Greg is ripped. No question. He may not be a mainstream "go-to" guy for exercise and fitness, but he has a lot of content on his website, YouTube, and podcasts and he does seem to know his stuff. I doubt I will ever be in single digit body fat territory like him (and that's fine), but I'm going to take his advice on Aggressive Fat Loss to try and lose an inch off my waist during this challenge. It will mostly be centered around calorie restriction and Intermittent Fasting. Because I workout early in the morning, I can't quite follow his exact IF plan, but I'll modify it to work for me. I also want to be getting stronger each week in my lifts, so I'm not going to get too crazy with my cut. I just want to shed a little belly fat before I go on Spring Break with my wife at the end of the challenge. I will probably shoot for eating at maintenance on my workout days, and a deficit on non-training days. The Beast Skills Master - Jim Bathurst I have long admired Jim's skills and reference his tutorials for skills like Pistol Squats and One Arm Push-ups. I'm going to keep working on those progressions this challenge as well as throw in some work on One-Handed Handstands and Freestanding Handstands.
  8. I'm going to take advantage of the shorter challenge duration and try a little experimentation with my training and diet. Plus, I have a Spring Break trip planned for the end of March and I'd like to work on my beach muscles. So, bring on FE-BRO-ARY Quest 1 - Pack on some pounds Eat at least one pound of meat every day. I tried eating at a surplus and counting calories last challenge and my weight dropped a little. And I disliked counting calories. So this month I'm going to try and simplify my goal by just ensuring I eat 1 pound of meat every day: chicken, beef, pork, turkey - bring it on! Quest 2 - Before Bed Benjamins I recognize that it's foolish to try and pack on pounds while also honing my six-pack, but I'm not trying to get shredded to show off my abs. I have to build some abs first. To that end, I'll be attempting the Before Bed Benjamins: 20x knee touch20x toe touch20x reverse crunch20x reverse crunch cross20x "butterfly" Since my core really needs some work, I'm going to ramp up for this one. My goal will be doing the BBB's once during Week 1, twice during Week 2, thrice during Week 3, and four times during Week 4. Quest 3 - Treasure Chest Quest What's a bro-tastic challenge without a little emphasis on the chest? My goal is to have a dedicated chest day each week as well as to include at least one chest-focused exercise in each workout. Quest 4 - Break a mental sweat In order to fit in my Chest Day, I'm dropping Deadlift Day. I have other reasons for that, though. I have gotten kind of bored with the traditional sandbag deadlift. I got up to 5x250# at the end of 2015 and a 250# sandbag is just a pain to deal with. I have heard a few podcasts with Josh Henkin, the inventor of the Ultimate Sandbag and Dynamic Variable Resistance Training (DVRT) and he keeps talking about how there's more to progressive overload than just adding weight. So, my goal for this quest it to read all of the DVRT book that I bought several months ago. It's about 290 pages, so I'll need to complete 10-15 pages a day.
  9. All right, all right, new year, fresh start! I actually don't need a fresh start from the perspective of "I've fallen off the wagon and need to start again", but more like "Time to look back at what I've done and where I can make improvements." But I don't believe a 'fresh continuation' is a thing, so... To catch everyone up, I'm a skinny guy who wants to build muscle. I was inspired by one of Steve's articles last summer to pick a routine and stick with it - for months, not weeks! I modified Anthony Mychal's 242 Method to include 6 "marriage" lifts that are performed on 2 days a week and then use a 3rd workout day to "flirt" with other routines I've seen. I stuck with it pretty well, doing Deadlifts, OHP, and Dips on Mondays and Squats, Floor Press, and Pull-ups on Fridays. A couple of months ago, I started doing a modified version of Kinobody's Bodyweight Mastery Program for my Wednesday workout, focusing on progressions for Pistol Squats, Handstand Push-ups, One-armed Push-ups, and L-sits. I'm still enjoying the routines, but I'm taking an opportunity with the new 4 week format to try and change up some rep/set patterns and see if it has any positive impacts on my muscle-building efforts. Oh, also, my previous attempts at trying to bulk up left me with a bigger midsection than I wanted, so I tried leaning down 2 challenges ago, stuck to maintenance last challenge, and now I'm planning to bulk for a couple of months. Now on to the goals! Diet/Fitness Quest 1 - Add 10# to my sandbag floor press I lifted 120# for 10 reps on 1/1, but I'm going to try and stick with a 5-rep range from this point forward, so I'll shoot for 5x130# this week and go from there. Quest 2 - Hit 3 sets of 6 reps of seated pistol squats for each leg Currently at about 4 reps per leg for 2-3 sets. I'm going to train these twice a week because I really want to master the pistol squat this year. The sooner the better! Quest 3 - Bulk responsibly - eat at a 250 calorie surplus each day This should be a relatively easy surplus to do and will work out to about 2 pound weight gain for the month. The hard part will be tracking my calories consistently. I hate counting calories. Starting weight = 154.66 lbs (7-day average) Starting midsection = 34.5" Starting chest = 37.5" Level Up Your Life Quest 4 - Less focus on my phone, more focus on my family Goal is no social media or games from 6-9 PM each night and no phone after 10 PM, except for reading my Kindle app. I'd like to spend the after-work/before-kids-bedtime hours focused on my family and the after 10 PM time reading actual books. I have 4 books I'd like to read over the next few months, including Steve's book when it comes out. I'm excited to get back into the challenges after a 3 week break and I'm excited to see what everyone else comes up with!
  10. I've had a bit of trouble starting my thread for this challenge. The thing is: I have a long-term plan in place, but I couldn't think of a clever/interesting/pop-culture-referencing theme to use for this particular 6 week span. Then it hit me. Just stick with the plan! My overall goal is to add muscle to my skinny frame. My long-term goal is to put on about 10 pounds of muscle by my 40th birthday (Dec 2016). I have been working for the last 5 months to lose a bit of belly fat and achieve a "lean base". I have a new intermediate goal, which is to have a beach-ready body by the end of March 2016 when I am planning to head to Jamaica for a few days with several friends who are all celebrating our 10th wedding anniversaries. So, having lost about 12 pounds and 2 inches from my belly since May, my plan is to eat at maintenance for a month to let things stabilize and then start eating at a surplus in December and January to try and bulk up. I'll then probably go back to eating at maintenance or below for a few weeks before the Jamaica trip to burn any fat I pick up. Having laid that out, here are my goals for this challenge: Goal 1: Consistent strength gains on my "marriage" lifts I re-started the 242 Method of working out back in July, where I dedicate 2 workouts a week to 6 "marriage" lifts that I never stray from: Deadlift, Overhead Press, Dips, Squat, Floor Press, and Pull-ups. I split these over Monday and Friday and then have Wednesday to "flirt" with other exercises. It's been 4 months now and I've seen consistent progress in those key lifts without the program hopping that I used to do every 6 weeks. I want to keep making consistent gains by bumping up the reps or weight on each lift each week. Goal 2: Consistent progress on my bodyweight skills There are a few bodyweight skills that I've wanted to achieve for a long time. Pistol Squats, Handstand Push-ups, One-Arm Push-ups, and L-sits. I've worked on each of these at various points over the last 3 years to varying degrees of success. This time around, I'm going to dedicate my Wednesday workouts to progressing on each of these bodyweight skills. I've got a different progression for each skill: Pistol Squats - Neat StrengthHandstand Push-ups - Kinobody Bodyweight Mastery ProgramOne-arm Push-ups - KinobodyLeg Raises (as a precursor to L-sits) - Gold Medal BodiesGoal 3: Maintain (or decrease) my weight and midsection measurement As I said above, I've been working on losing some belly fat since the end of May and I'm happy with the level of success I've had. Even though I've still got another inch or two I could stand to lose, I'm at a weight that I consider about as low as I'd like to go. So, instead of just jumping right back into a traditional bulk (where I traditionally add an few inches to my waist) I'm going to take it slow and just hang out at maintenance for a month. As I look back at my last 3 and half years on Nerd Fitness, I've bounced around a lot - eating a ton in an attempt to gain weight, but then reversing course because I gained too much in my midsection. I've never really spent time at a consistent weight. I plan to accomplish this by bumping my daily calorie intake up to about 2000 per day, but I'll rely on my Jawbone UP tracker to keep a count of my steps and how many calories I've really burned. If I'm successful in maintaining my weight and waistline for a month, I'll shift into a calorie surplus. My grading will be a variation of a method I'm stealing from Raptron's challenge: Hitting my daily protein goal will be good for 1/2 a point.Hitting my daily calorie range will be good for 1/2 a point.Alternatively, I'll be weighing myself daily and taking a midsection measurement on Monday mornings.If my seven-day average weight is at or below my starting weight or if my midsection measurement is at or below my starting measurement, I'll get all 7 points for the week.Total of 28 possible points for November Goal 4: Average 7 hours of sleep a night One thing I'm told over and over again is that you need rest to recover and build muscle, so I'm making sleep a priority once again. I will aim for drinking a cup of Natural Calm and getting to bed by 10:30 on weeknights and getting up by 5 for my workouts 3 days a week. My Jawbone UP also tracks my sleep, so I'll just take an average for the week rather than grade based on number of days I hit 7 hours. Okay, so typing this all out has taken longer than I thought it would, so I'm going to spare you all my proof that these goals have been vetted against Steve's 9 Mistakes Skinny People Make Trying To Get Bigger. Let the challenge begin!
  11. Greetings, Assassins! After 3 successful challenges as a visiting Ranger, I have decided to officially jump guilds and join you all here! I figured that if I want to fit in, have everyone like me, and always be happy, I'd better to turn to Lego for some instructions. As I said, my last 3 challenges have been pretty successful, so I want to keep the momentum going. I've built some good habits and found a workout routine that works for me, so I want to stick with those. For this challenge, I'll be adding some goals to accentuate what I've already accomplished as well as build some more assassin-y skills. Goal 1: Strike a balance There are a variety of bodyweight skills I'd like to learn, and while striking the pose pictured here would be awesome, my immediate goal is a bit humbler. I really want to master the pistol squat. I found this tutorial on Rowan's thread this past summer and will be following the progressions. I can currently perform 20 good form narrow squats with my arms in front. My next step will be 20 narrow squats with my hands behind my head. I tried these this week and found my balance to be severely lacking, so I don't anticipate mastering the pistol during this six weeks, but I want to continue to progress. Edited to write out the progression so I don't have to keep referring to the external link: 30 second Grok Squat50 bodyweight squats20 Narrow squats20 clean deep narrow squats with hands behind my head10 Seated Pistols10-15 Assisted Pistols Goal 2: Sculpt some muscle My last few challenges have focused on getting lean and building strength, which I will continue to do, but I also want to address some of my lagging body parts. My current workout routine includes 2 "work" days and 1 "play" day, based on Anthony Mychal's 242 method. So on my "work" days, I'll focus on my 6 main lifts and I'll use my "play" day to give some extra attention to areas like my calves and triceps. For this particular goal, I'm actually going to try this calf raise workout every day. The goal will be 6 weeks of single-leg calf raises, 3 times a day. Goal 3: Use the right building blocks I was very happy with the results of my goal last challenge to lose 5 pounds in an effort to take an inch off my midsection. I'm going to continue to follow Kinobody's intermittent fasting scheme in hopes of losing another inch. However, if I do lose another 5 pounds, I'll be down to about 150 and the last time I was that light, I lost a lot of muscle, too. So, in an effort to keep muscle and just lose fat, I'm going to focus this goal on THE muscle building block - protein. Greg from Kinobody recommends 0.82 grams of protein per pound of body fat. I'll be shooting for about 120 g/day and then balance out fats and carbs depending on my training vs rest schedule. This goal will be graded based on number of days I hit my protein number. Goal 4: Be buddies! My last goal is a social one. I've been super busy at work for a while now and unfortunately it looks like it will not slow down for at least the duration of this challenge, so I'm setting a goal of having at least 2 date nights with my wife and 2 guys' nights over the next 6 weeks. It will take some effort and planning to pull off, but I think it's do-able and very necessary for my sanity and IRL relationships. Double decker couch optional. There you have it! I'm anticipating another successful 6 weeks with the Assassins. Thanks to all who stop by and I look forward to all the impending awesomeness I'll see on your threads!
  12. This challenge is in part a continuation of my last challenge. I started the Sandbag Fitness Lean & Strong program, but realized after about 2 weeks that it didn't fit my criteria for a fitness program. I wanted to try it because it was built for sandbags and was sufficiently different from other programs I'd tried in the past, but the bottom line was all the increased lifting volume required the workouts to last too long. (I also don't love the 5x5 setup.) I started looking back at all the other programs I've tried over the last 3 years to see what worked and what didn't and why I quit doing each program. During that review, I re-discovered Anthony Mychal's 242 Program. He promotes it as the "anti-program-hopping, injury-reducing, strength solution". So, I've decided to tweak his advice and pick 6 "marriage" lifts that will always be part of my Mon/Fri workouts [work] and then use Wednesday to try other exercises that interest me [play]. I'm expanding the concept to also apply to my goal of losing a few inches from my midsection. Goal 1 [Work] - Increase weight on all 6 key lifts (1-2 lbs per week) Deadlift (starting at 7x210#) Overhead Press (starting at 5x86#) Weighted Dips (starting at 35# 1RM) Back Squat (starting at 5x110#) Floor Press (starting at 8x100#) Weighted Pull-ups (starting at 47# 1RM) I'll be following a Reverse Pyramid (RPT) style for my marriage lifts. I've been doing 5/3/1 with the dips and pull-ups, but will probably switch that up. My long term goal is to hit 300# deadlift, 150# OHP, 100# dips, 1xBW squat, 1.5xBW Floor Press, 100# pull-ups. I estimate that if I keep adding 1-2 pounds a week, I'll hit those by the end of next year. I've learned there's no need to rush, just keep making progress. My previous m.o. was to give up and switch to something completely different when I stalled out on a lift. Goal 2 [Play] - Try at least 3 different "test drive" workouts Last challenge, I bought the book "Push, Pull, Swing", which is about kettlebells, dumbbells, and sandbags. It has a lot of detail about the different implements and all the exercises you can do with them. It also provides "test drive" workouts that you can do to get a feel for each tool. I won't be following these exactly, but will use them as templates to throw together my weekly Wednesday play time. My current plan is to do a Kettlebell Test Drive, a Sandbag/Dumbbell Test Drive, and a Bodyweight Test Drive. Goal 3 [Work] - Lose 5 pounds Last challenge, I had a goal of losing 2 inches from my midsection, but it's hard to tell your body exactly where to lose weight. I also didn't do a good job of eating at a deficit. I currently weigh 160 lbs and my belly is about 36". I'd ultimately like to get down to about 32" (or less). Based on my historical measurements, the last time I was down to a 34" waist, I weighed about 150 lbs. So, this will be a kick-off towards losing those 4 inches. Hopefully it will result in 1 inch lost, but I'm going to base my goal on pounds since it correlates more evenly with calorie consumption. My plan is to eat 500 calories below maintenance for 5 days a week [work] and then at maintenance 2 days a week [play]. 500 cals x 5 days x 6 weeks is 15,000 calories, which is a little less than 5 lbs. I'll track and adjust as needed. I'm also planning to practice intermittent fasting at least 5 days a week to put the focus on fat burning. I don't think I'll be sticking strictly with the 16/8 LeanGains-style, but closer to the Kinobody-style. I'm also planning to try higher carbs on training days and higher fats on non-training days. Goal 4 [Play] - Finish reviewing all my previous workout data I want to finish tracking what worked and what didn't and why I stopped doing each of the programs I was trying. I'll try to post a recap here for your enjoyment/comment and also so I have a place to come back and reference. And I'm counting this as play because I love analyzing data. Who doesn't?!? Goal 5 [sleep] - Increase my deep sleep Deep sleep is key to muscle growth and I think this may be one reason I have struggled to put on muscle despite working out regularly for 3 years now. I got an UP tracker for Christmas and have been tracking my steps and sleep ever since. The app recommends 3 hours of deep sleep a night and I rarely hit that. I'm going to look into some "sleep hacks" and see what I can do to increase the amount of deep sleep I get each night. So, there you have my goals and at least a start of a plan for each. I'll most likely come back and add details by the start of the challenge.
  13. Just now starting to log my workouts on this forum, I've been logging my own workouts for 10 years Wednesday, 07-15-2015 foam roll yoga:10 mins L sit work: 3-4 trials( sub max effort) planche work 3-4 trials( sub max effort) archer suspension pushups 4x8 kettlebell windmill 20# 4x8(these are new and humbling) side-to-side pull ups 4x6 shoulder sandbag carries 80# 3 rounds bilaterally Thursay, 0716-2015 foam roll 5 mins handstand practice 28 mins on bike( 5 mins warm up, intervals 2:1 rest work ratio, and 5 mins cool down)
  14. I'll be following this 10 week program this summer, starting on June 1. Since I'll be out of town during the last week of this challenge, I will go ahead and start a week early. Goal 1 - Get Leaner: Lose 2" from my midsection Did my pre-challenge-weigh-in and measurements last night (5/31) and my wife measured my midsection at 36". I'd ideally like to get down to 32" or less, but I'm just going to shoot for losing 2" during the next six weeks. I managed to accomplish this before using a combination of calorie restriction and low impact cardio. I plan to eat at maintenance calories for the first 3 weeks and then switch to a deficit for the last 3 weeks. I also plan to walk at lunch every day. Goal 2 - Get Stronger: Hit 5x5x95# for overhead press You know what complements a nice lean midsection? Broad shoulders! The SF Lean & Strong program is based around 4 big lifts (Back Squat, Deadlift, Floor Press, and Overhead Press) and I've always felt my OHP has lagged behind my other lifts, so I'm going to make that my focus this time around. I tested and hit 5x5x70# last week, which means I need to add 5 pounds each week. Goal 3 - Get Motivated: Watch American Ninja Warrior at least once a week I'm mostly just throwing this in there to have 4 goals, but you have to agree that most of those warriors are lean and strong! Goal 4 - Get Musical: Practice banjo 30 minutes a week And now for something completely different. After playing a friend's borrowed banjo for years, I finally bought myself one and I'm using that as motivation to level up my skills. I got a copy of Ross Nickerson's Banjo Encyclopedia and I'll be working through the chapters. I thought about making this goal 5 minutes a day just to build the habit, but I think the 30 minutes a week gives me a little more flexibility and accomplishes the same goal. I'd also like to have at least one song memorized by the end of the challenge so when somebody asks to hear me play, I can do more than play a scale or the opening riff to Dueling Banjos.
  15. Earlier in the week, I posted in the "Ask A Warrior" thread asking for tips on bulking up as a skinny guy. Evil Midnight Bomber, CoreyD, Choronodon, and MirGSS all said "eat more, lift more, quit running!" So, I dropped my one running day and want to replace it with another lifting day, but the program I'm currently following only has two "strength" days and two "conditioning" days. I'm here to ask for suggestions on what to add on my 3rd lifting day or if I should scrap the current program and try something like StrongLifts 5x5. Here are my deets: Fitness Goals Put some meat on my skinny bones. I'd like to go from 150-something to 175 or 180 with a mid-teens BF%. Exercise Preference GPPCurrent Physical Stats Gender: MaleAge: 36Height: 6'-1"Weight: 154#Previous Training History Started exercising/lifting consistently about a year ago after buying the Rebel Strength Guide I have a bad habit of program hopping. I tried the dumbbell division for about 6 weeks, but have a limited supply of dumbbells. I tried a variety of bodyweight and sandbag lifts for about 6 months, changing the program every 6 weeks. Since March, I have been trying to focus on squats, deadlifts, push press, OHP, and pull-ups. I followed the Barbell Battalion for 6 weeks, but I used sandbags since I work out at home.Current Training My current program is a 10-week beginner program from The Complete Guide to Sandbag Training. It's a mix of power lifts, olympic lifts, and bodyweight with some short runs and CrossFit style conditioning. I'm also doing 100 push-ups a day.I started it at the beginning of June, so I'm on Week 4. Here it is in a google spreadsheet if you want to see it all typed out. I like it because of the variety it provides, but I always hear I should just stick with the basics while I'm building strength. I'm thinking of adding 5x5 bench press and 5x5 bent over rows on my 3rd lifting day.Current working weights: 5x5 Deadlift 110#, Back Squat 5RM 130#, Push Press 5RM 85#, 5x5 OHP 60#, 10 consecutive pull-upsCurrent Diet Normal IIFYMDaily Calories: 3,000Daily Macros: 20P/30F/50C, about 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight ~ 160 g/dayCurrent Resources/Limitations Gym Access: work out at home with homemade sandbags, currently have 150# of sand, planning to get another 100# soon.Work Schedule: 8-5 M-F, work out at 5:30AM to 6:15 AM more or lessTime Allowed 45 minutes (could stretch to an hour with warm-up/cool-down)
  16. I spent the Spring slimming down for a trip to Jamaica over Memorial Day weekend. Got to 34†waist and 150 lbs - about 19% body fat, but didn’t want to drop below 150. Started bulking in June with the thought that I’d put on muscle and fat and then just lose the fat once the bulk was over. I wound up gaining 13 pounds by mid-August, but it was 4 lbs of LBM and 9 lbs of fat (added 2+ inches to my middle). I realized the typical bulk/cut method doesn’t work so good for a guy in his mid-thirties, so I started looking at some alternate sources for information. I even started a spreadsheet called "Collecting Underpants" to track what the different experts say about topics like diet, training, how much protein, what (if any) supplements to take, etc. Rather than taking one person's opinion/experience as the be-all-end-all answer to my questions, I've decided to cut and paste together a mix of info I think will work best for me. Hence the challenge title. Also, I'm hoping to cut some body fat and paste some muscle on my skinny frame! I've decided to follow the skinny-fat solution of getting to a lean base, even if it means dropping below 150 lbs. I checked with Anthony Mychal who said I may not be a typical skinny-fat sufferer, but I could stand to get leaner. I started following Eat Stop Eat midway through the last challenge to maximize fat burning and minimize muscle loss. My long term goal is still to get to a mid-teens body fat percentage and then pack on some muscle without the fat gain. Getting to 180 may not be feasible, but once I get to 14-15% BF, I’ll add back some calories and switch to once-a-week fasts. Anyman Fitness (a math teacher by day) says gaining 15 pounds of muscle in a year is an admirable goal and breaks it down as such: 1 lb = 3500 calories, 15 lbs = 52,500 calories, 52,500/365 = 143 extra calories (over maintenance) per day in order to gain 15 lbs in one year (about ⅓ lb a week or 1.25 lb a month) Challenge Goal - get lean while maintaining (or even building) muscle Mission 1: All your base are belong to us - Get to a "solid base" (32" waist, 15% body fat) +4 CHA Brad Pilon of Eat Stop Eat says to divide and conquer: think of diet as fat burning and exercise as muscle building. So in order to burn some fat from my mid section, I'm going to eat at about maintenance level (2300 cals/day) and fast twice a week. I usually do a 23 hour fast from dinner Wednesday to dinner Thursday and then a shorter fast from Saturday night to Sunday evening. My abdominal circumference is currently about 35", so I'm hoping to drop 3" this challenge. Scoring as follows: A= 32†B= 33†C= 34†D= 35†F= >35†Mission 2: A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man - Add inches to my arms, chest, and shoulders +2 STR, +3 CHA In my case, a noble spirit plus some push-ups, chin-ups, dips, and arm curls should embiggen this small man. Anthony Mychal has established his Great Eight exercises (PDF) for the skinny-fat guys trying to put on some size. Because of our natural tendency to be skinny, he recommends some isolation exercises on top of the basic squats, deadlifts, and bench press. I'll be following a modified version of Anyman Fitness's take on LeanGain's Reverse Pyramid Training, incorporating the Great Eight plus one ab exercise. I guess that makes my routine the Divine Nine? As I said above, I'm hoping to pack on some muscle while I lean down (divide and conquer!), so I'll be adding up any gains for my arm, chest, and shoulder measurements and scoring this mission as follows: A= +2†B= +1.5†C= +1†D= +0.5†F= no change Mission 3: Avoid the four main food groups of the elves - Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corns, and Syrup +4 CON This is obviously another diet mission. On top of practicing Intermittent Fasting, I want to track and reduce my sugar intake. I've been wanting to set this as a goal for a while, but wasn't really sure how to SMART-ify it. While looking for answers here on the boards, I found Athena's helpful post, Sustainable Sugar Consumption. I also went back and read Steve's post from this summer about sugar. A couple of things jumped out at me: 1. "If you're going to eat sugar, get it from fruit or naturally occurring sweeteners. What that being said, to minimize the effect on your blood sugar, minimize sugar consumption across the board if your primary goal is weight loss." 2. "Sugar = bad. High Fructose Corn Syrup = Bowser evil" 3. "Most importantly, understand that what you really want (a happier, healthier life) can't happen if you keep settling for what you want RIGHT NOW (sugar!)." So, my plan for this mission is to track my sugar intake, probably using MyFitnessPal, and then actively reduce it week by week. I know sugar is everywhere and I don't really plan on cutting out everything (salad dressing, barbecue sauce, etc), but I want to cut back on the biggies that really don't do anything to improve my fitness. I'm not going cold turkey, either, but I'm thinking 1 dessert a week, 1 non-diet soda a week, no candy. I guess I'm still flushing out the specifics. I guess scoring will be based on days without "sweets". A= 36-42 days B= 29-35 days C= 22-28 days D= 15-21 days F= 0-14 days Life Mission: All your bass are belong to us - Practice my upright bass an hour a week +1 CHA My family gave me this sweet upright bass (that's me above) for Christmas a couple of years ago. I played it for a few months, but then got out of the habit and went back to playing my regular bass guitar. I want to get back into it and I'm trying to set my sights low. One hour a week equates to less than 10 minutes a day. I can do that! I just want to form the habit and start improving my skills. So, it will can be something as basic as working on scales or trying to learn a new song, but I just want to put in some time. A= 5-6 hours B= 4-5 hours C= 3-4 hours D= 2-3 hours F= less than 2 hours There are also some other habits that I started in previous challenges that I want to keep doing, so I'm throwing them on here for a reminder and for public record. Water: Eight glasses a day Sleep: 7 hours a night Clothes/Lunch: Make my next day's lunch and pick out my clothes for work before I go to bed a night iPhone: Continue to limit my gaming/phone time at work and get better at keeping it out of reach at home. I'll add in some other links for fat burning, muscle building, and controlling sugar in future posts. I'll also add in my starting measurements after I take them tonight.
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