Archive | Workout

How to Lose Face Fat

Trying to Lose Face Fat? I know this situation sucks because my face is one of the first places I gain fat. I start to see my double chin and anxiety hits me. Some people or information you will find will suggest that you can reduce face fat by doing a series of exercises or by buying this product. Yes, I’ve even seen devices that go under your chin and supposedly by pressing you head down on this spring-loaded product, you will burn face fat. Unfortunately, all of this is a crock. The only real way to lose fact fat is to get your body fat to a low enough percentage that your face fat goes with it.

So what is the percentage that gets rid of face fat?

Well it differs for each person. For me, I have to get below 10% body fat before I don’t have more chins than…well, you know the joke. But in order to reduce your body fat percentage to a low enough number that you don’t have face fat, you will have to follow a diet that creates a calorie deficit. In other words, you have to eat fewer calories than you burn daily. To determine what this number is for you, check out my Metabolic Rate Calculator on my website.

This handy little calculator will tell you how many calories you need to eat if you want to burn a pound of fat a week. Then, you can take that information and plan to eat that number of calories or fewer. Once you lose enough body fat, your face fat will go with it. This is the only real way to lose face fat – other than expensive surgery to remove excess fat.

So are there any exercises you can do?

Exercise certainly comes into play here as well. The more you exercise, the more you create this calorie deficit because you are adding to the calories that you burn daily. An excellent exercise to do is any one that you will stick with. For me, swimming is the bee’s knees. For you it may be running or elliptical trainer. 

But to help you lose face fat the fastest, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Use interval training. An example of interval training would be running fast for a minute and then running an easy page for two minutes. That three-minute period is an interval. You can apply this to any cardiovascular exercise and it kicks the pants off of regular, boring cardio. In fact, studies have shown that cardiovascular interval training keeps your heart rate elevated for several hours after you finish your workout. This means you burn fat for longer, even after you are done exercising.

So that’s it – the real deal on how to lose face fat. I’m sorry to say there is no such thing as spot reduction, but by reducing your body fat percentage you can lose face fat and burn fat in other trouble areas at the same time.

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"Polynesian Bodies" – Why Polynesian Bodies Build Muscle Better

Polynesian people are descendants of those early mariners that crossed the great waters and became the original inhabitants of the South Pacific Islands. In order to survive those long cold oceanic journeys, their Polynesian bodies evolved to develop maximum muscle building capabilities as a means of generating and preserving body temperature.

This was a direct adaptation to an environmental factor. Those that could not adapt died, whereas the survivors carried with them genetic advantages, creating a hybrid body of sorts, capable of performing enormous feats of physical labor, on very little calories, and very little water.

Colonization of the Pacific Islands only encouraged the Polynesian body to propagate these gene characteristics, as the early Islanders literally hacked their homes out of the forests with their bare hands. Domesticating wildlife and horticulture, was a herculean feat, and the scarcity of fresh water developed a need for the Polynesian body to store fluids efficiently.

These early evolutionary patterns form the basis of the contemporary Polynesian body. It enables Polynesian bodies to:

1. Build muscle easily

2. Possess unique strength to mass capabilities

3. Withstand harsh environmental conditions more easily

4. Endure long periods with little food and little water

Unfortunately these adaptations also mean Polynesian bodies will

1. Store excess energy more easily in the form of body fat

2. Store excess water subcutaneously

3. Burn calories at a slower more gradual pace

In the absence of the extreme physical labors performed by our Polynesian ancestors, and the readily abundant food in western cultures, it is no surprise that Polynesian bodies have a tendency to gain unsightly body fat. This storage of excess energy was a survival adaptation for the days of leanness prevalent in the island cultures, but completely absent in western cultures.

Here are 3 of the best tips to improve a Polynesian Body

1. Exercise, choosing intense weight training over cardio.

Polynesian bodies are designed to work out with maximum intensity. Once or twice a week is sufficient. If you are weight training 5 – 6 days a week, I guarantee that you can train twice as hard once or twice a week. Another way of looking at it is this: If you can weight train for 90 min’s, I assure you, you can train harder for 40 min’s. Remember that you can train hard or you can train long, but you can’t do both. Always choose to train hard. Intense training triggers the release of muscle building hormones into the blood stream. Jane Fonda workouts do not. Polynesian bodies respond well to incredibly intense training regimes performed less often.

2. Don’t eat everyday.

This one may come as a shock to you, especially if you are Polynesian, but it is true. You may have heard that if you don’t eat every few hours then your body goes into starvation mode, yada, yada, yada. Who came up with this idea, did they get the rest of the day off for such brilliance? It is simply not true. Polynesian bodies have descended from a genetic strain of humans that could survive for weeks without food and rest and very little water.

Early man tracked herds over vast expanses, on foot, and when they finally engaged their prey they could somehow muster the strength and energy, in this depleted state, to run down and kill a beast more than ten times their size. I know one thing’s for sure. Put a bunch of these early hominids in the NFL and they would stomp the snot out of those juice heads. We need to tap into that power, and utilize the body’s stored energy.

The idea that you feel tired all the time, and that you need to eat constantly to maintain your energy levels are fabrications of the weak modern mind that prevent us from exploiting the vastness of our true human potential.

3. Eat real, natural, unprocessed foods indigenous to the islands, and eat just enough to be satisfied.

A Polynesian body can store more water, so drink plenty to discourage water retention.

Organic fruits, vegetables, seafood, coconut oil, taro, along with chicken, pork and beef are the mainstay of the Polynesian diet. These are the foods which Polynesian bodies have adapted to assimilate efficiently through hundreds of years of evolution. Polynesians should not consume processed foods. Canned foods and commercially packaged foods combined with the naturally high fat Polynesian diets create metabolic mayhem in the Polynesian body. Eliminate all processed and man made foods gradually.

Through the evolutionary process of natural selection, Polynesian bodies can become the ultimate muscle building powerhouse, or an unsightly storage system for excess energy and water weight. Polynesian bodies can build muscle more efficiently because they possess slightly lower metabolisms, and have a genetic propensity to store more water. Over 70% of muscle is water. This is a wonderful adaptation for gaining muscle mass, but slightly detrimental when the desire is to burn body fat, and flush subcutaneous water. Polynesian bodies also possess a unique hormonal environment that allows muscle gain to take place more effectively. A gift to the contemporary Polynesian body from their ancestors who survived some of the most brutal oceanic endeavors.

To approach genetic potential a Polynesian bodybuilder should train with extreme intensity, less often, control caloric intake and manage their water correctly.

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Best Exercises to Burn Belly Fat Rapidly! Get the Six Pack Abs You Want in Just Two Weeks

If you have a tummy and want to get a six pack, read on. There are lots of reasons as to why you have a fat belly. Your diet and exercise are the main factors. If your diet and exercise is right, you can have those six packs easily.

There are tons of exercises that you can do to burn belly fat. But the problem is most of them aren’t effective. Doing all the exercises won’t help you burn that fat.

Doing just one super effective exercise can make all the difference required. Like Bruce Lee said, “I fear not the man who practices 1000 kicks but the MAN who practices one kick one thousand times”. Here are two super effective exercises that can burn belly fat faster than any other workout…

Hindu Pushup Variation – This exercise is a body weight exercise. It increases your endurance and strength. At the same time, it burns belly fat faster than any other exercise.

Keep your legs wide apart and your hands planted on the ground. Assume the position of the normal bomb-diver pushup. Tilt your head forward and incline your body.

Maintain that position. Don’t rise from that position. Hold that position for around ten to fifteen minutes. You will soon find out that it gets really difficult. If you can master this one exercise and do it for twenty minutes every day, you’ll get abs within two weeks.

Breathing Exercise – You don’t need to work your body for this exercise. It makes use of your respiratory system. This exercise relaxes your mind and burns fat too. It can be difficult at first. After two days of doing it, you’ll get the hang of it. It can stress you at the beginning.

Inhale as much as you can. You will reach a point where you can’t take any more breath. You will feel a stinging sensation in your throat and tightening of your stomach muscles. Take in a little more for another two seconds and exhale all the air. Exhale it until your belly gets hard and your body craves oxygen.

Inhale and exhale the same way for another five to six times. Do this exercise once in the morning and once in the evening. Don’t do it inside your house. Do it in some place where you can get a lot of fresh air. This exercise will also increase your life span.

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How Old Do You Have to Be to Use a Bowflex?

Image is everything with young people today and many young people want to work out and use equipment like adults, however is it safe? What age do you have to be to use a piece of equipment like the Bowflex?

While there is, little information from the manufacturer on this point the use of a Bowflex is similar to any other weight-training situation. That being said determining what age you can begin using a Bowflex is a matter of common sense.

Children grow continually sometimes until they are 18 years old. This means that bone, tissue and muscle configurations are constantly changing. You should keep this in mind when determining if your child is old enough to begin strength training.

The American Academy of Pediatrics supports children participating in appropriately designed and supervised training programs, even those which incorporate the use of machinery such as a Bowflex. Light strength training is good at any age. This is especially true if a young child is involved in other sports such as little league or gymnastics.

The key to using a Bowflex or any other training program with a young person is adequate training on how to use the equipment. Improper use at any age can cause serious injury to muscle, tendons and possibly bones. Therefore, if you are a first time user of the Bowflex you will want to work with the machine for a while before showing a young person the ropes.

Once you are confident with knowledge and use of the Bowflex here are some base guidelines for use with children or young adults.

o Plenty of fluid intake

o Well lit area

o Three days a week maximum

o Beginners should do one set of ten reps for each major muscle beginning with light weight or resistance

o No maximum lifting or resistance

o Training should be a part of a whole fitness program including nutrition

Following these steps and some average common sense, your young person should benefit from strength training with you. It must be noted that you should never begin any type of training without first consulting a physician about the fitness level of you and your child if training together. How old do you have to be to use a Bowflex? Old enough to take proper instruction on the proper use of the machine.

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Otomix Wrestling MMA Combat Shoes Product Review

Most athletic shoes for sports that require any amount of running have a slightly raised heel. This pitches your weight a bit more over the ball of the foot offering a faster transition for the first step of a run and better ability to pick up or maintain speed. This style of shoe offers the best ergonomics for the most efficient way to run. However in most combat sports, athletes perform in smaller areas and do very little actual running. These activities are better performed wearing shoes with a completely flat sole. The problem is the selection of flat-soled athletic shoes pales in comparison with the millions of raised heel running footwear for sale. One of the best and most popular flat-soled athletic sneakers is made by a brand named Otomix. This company has been making original and authentic performance workout shoes since 1988. Flat soles make Otomix footwear a top choice for combat athletes such boxers, wrestlers, martial artists and mma fighters. However all the different styles are excellent for any weight lifting and of course looking great when lounging around away from the gym.

Otomix wrestling and boxing workout shoes are high top w/incredible ankle support from thickly padded sides. They also offer some of the best low top athletic shoes designed specifically for martial arts training. Otomix shoes are well known for lasting practically forever. They are not the cheapest priced athletic sneakers you will find, however the price is worth the quality you will get. All styles are made with the most premium quality materials and expert craftsmanship for incredible durability. No matter what you want them for, Otomix combat weight lifting shoes are very lightweight and excellently balanced. All styles are built for comfort, support and performance that will improves the quality of your training translating into more wins and success in your sport. Another great feature of Otomix combat shoes is their fantastic look that will add more style to your appearance and swag in your step.

While traditional martial artists train in bare feet, many are finding better performance from the added support and traction of a good karate shoe. Otomix mma and martial arts combat footwear offers additional support for the arch while they hug the mid-foot and heel for a snug but comfortable fit. Otomix martial arts shoes and boots also offer great protection for the toes when kicking an opponent or heavy bag. Besides the glove-like, comfortable feel, these extremely lightweight karate shoes have a soft sole with tread designed for best gripping traction on carpets, training mats, ring floors and even tile. The flexible sole allows the wearer to really feel the floor, enhancing balance and kicking power while also providing an effective safeguard against ankle or foot injury. The Otomix karate shoe is perfect for mixed martial arts training, Taekwondo, Karate or sports performed on mats and even Yoga.

When it comes to flat soled shoes, you will find boxing shoes to be the flattest. This is so fighters can plant their back heel for power punching and keeping balanced for fast evasive movement when backed up against the ropes. Otomix boxing shoes are amazing for all types of boxing training and competition combat in the ring. All Otomix boxing boots come high on or over the ankle to provide additional protection and support for the joint when moving laterally or an unexpected fall. Otomix MMA shoes are also excellent for boxing in for a shoe that’s not quite as high on the calf, however their mid-calf boxing boots are some of the best in the business. The soft rubber soles of this boxing footwear offer maximal grip in the ring for incredible traction. Besides sparring and competing in the ring, Otomix boxing shoes are also excellent for jumping rope, bag work, practicing combos on focus mitts, shadow boxing and footwork.

The best wrestling shoes have soft rubber flat soles, are extremely lightweight and are highly flexible for the best traction on the mat. A common complaint however is their flexibility often takes away from the amount of support they offer. This is simply not the case with Otomix wrestling shoes. Otomix makes several hybrid wrestling shoes; these are the Escape Stingray MMA boot and Ninja Warrior Combat Shoes. Comparatively, these sneakers may not be as light as some of the top brand wrestling shoes (yet they are still very lightweight) but they offer the most support around the ankle. If you’re an athlete who struggles with weak ankles or just do better with a tighter feel around this area, Otomix wrestling shoes are for you. Otomix grappling sneakers also tend to last longer than most other brand name wrestling shoes as the material used is much thicker and craftsmanship a bit more sturdy. Most wrestling shoes are lucky to last a full season, however you will easily get several from Otomix footwear.

In weight lifting, if your weight shifts forward over your toes during an exercise, it can be disastrous, particularly in the squat and deadlift. These exercises plus many others require flat soles so you can stay balanced over your heels. Besides grappling and boxing, Otomix three-quarter and high top athletic footwear is also excellent for amateur and even pro weight lifting. The Otomix Escape MMA wrestling shoe, Ninja Combat and even their boxing shoes offer great support, grip and balance for nearly all types of strength training. These flat soled shoes are fantastic for keeping you safely grounded on your heels for the best performance during all compound lifts. Besides powerlifting, Otomix wrestling shoes are also excellent for bodybuilding, strongman training and even quite a bit of cross fit. Otomix flat soled Combat shoes are not however, designed for running on surfaces much harder than a grappling mat. These shoes do not have the amount of arch support or tread that running on pavement or long distances requires. They are not good for sprinting on pavement, aerobics or long distance treadmill work. Overall, any Otomix combat shoe is a great buy for how long they last and how well they perform. If you’re into combat sports, weight lifting or just want to add more style to your look, buy a pair of Otomix shoes, you won’t be dissatisfied.

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Steve Francis Dunks or How to Increase Vertical Jump

Did you see Steve Francis in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest? Then he finished as the runner-up to Vince Carter with some sick dunks. Actually, he had a 44-inch vertical at that time! That’s right, 44 inches! Besides Vince Carter (45-inch vertical) Stevie Franchise had the highest vertical in the league at that time! And in case you didn’t know – the guy is only 6′ 3”!

“I never dunked on Shaq or Mutombo. But I got ‘Zo. Never got C-Webb. I got Patrick Ewing, Vin Baker. I remember those dunks because those guys are always saying, “You ain’t going to dunk on me,” and things like that. But I got them!”

– Steve Francis

So, how do you get such a sick vertical? As a start, it’s important to know that being able to jump high is the result of a combination of these things:

– Natural ability

– Leg strength

– Explosive power

– Overall athleticism

That means, if it’s not in your genes, you probably won’t ever be able to jump like Steve Francis. Then again, none of us can. But no matter what your vertical leap is now, you can always make it better. For motivation, just take a look at Steve Francis’ workout back in the days – it’s a

4 days a week, one hour a day workout (running and playing basketball not included, = additional 3 hours a day). Every day consists of different exercises, only certain exercises like jump rope are done every time.

Day 1 (Monday):

– Jump rope (300 jumps)

– DynaDisc figure eight Step onto a pair of discs (they look like deflated dodge balls) holding a ten-pound medicine ball. (15 figure eights in each direction)

– Seated reverse crunch Sit on a flat bench with your legs sticking straight out over the end. Supporting yourself with your arms, lean back until your upper body is at a 45-degree angle to the bench and slowly bring your knees up to your chest, keeping your upper body stable. Slowly return them to the start position to complete the move. (2 sets of 15)

– High knee-raise sprint Sprint the length of a basketball court staying on your toes and lifting your knees as high as possible. (20 sprints)

– Leg curl (2 sets of 15)

– Seated leg extension (2 sets of 15)

– Hip abduction (2 sets of 10)

– Hip adduction (2 sets of 10)

– Stability-ball dumbbell chest press Like a standard chest press but while lying with your back on the ball to get in a little more work on the core. (2 sets of 10)

– Dumbbell front raise You’re now getting into the part of the workout designed to really carve up the shoulders. Making sure your arms remain just outside of shoulder width, raise first one, then the other, for one rep. (2 sets of 15)

– Dumbbell lateral raise To work the outside of the shoulder, stand bending slightly at the waist, holding a weight in each hand, your palms facing each other. Raise your arms to the sides until they’re parallel to the ground, then return. (2 sets of 15)

– Rear deltoid dumbbell raise Lie face down on a bench set to a 45-degree incline with weights in each hand, your arms hanging off the bench and slightly bent. Keeping that same elbow bend, raise your arms to the sides until they are parallel to the ground, then return. (2 sets of 10)

– Single-arm dumbbell row Now for the back of the shoulders, hold a weight in your right hand, lean over, and place your left hand and knee on a bench for support. Keeping your back slightly arched and your shoulders parallel to the ground, draw the weight-bearing elbow up toward the ceiling, then return. (2 sets of 10, then switch sides and repeat)

– Stationary bike (25 minutes)

As for the vertical jump exercises, besides the common exercises like jump rope and calf raises, Steve used some special, very effective exercises.

Here is an example:

Stand straight up, and jump as high as you possibly can without bending your knees (your knees will bend slightly). As soon as you hit the ground, jump back up gain, and repeat this motion a number of times. This exercise is extremely effective at strengthening your lower leg muscles.

Keep in mind that vertical leap is part leg strength and part explosiveness. In fact, the explosiveness part is the more important of the two. It’s not about the size of your leg muscles, or how much weight you can put up in the gym. It’s about your athletic ability, coordination, and your ability to explode up and off the ground.

For the rest of the jumping exercises and crucial things to know about vertical jump (f.e. why often what you “don’t” do is more important then what you “do” do) please take a look at this page I strongly recommend:

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Bodybuilding – When And How To Take Your Creatine

Potentially the most popular bodybuilding supplement on the market is that of creatine. Creatine has been used for many years by those looking to help build muscle mass and get more from their workouts.

By helping to restore the CP stores in the muscle, taking creatine allows you to work out longer in the gym and for an extended period of time. Without it, you may find your workouts begin to lag, and as such, you don’t experience nearly the same muscle building results as you would have if you were

using it.

But one question that many ask themselves is exactly how they should be taking creatine. Is it best to take before a heavy weight lifting workout? Or should it be spread out throughout the day? And what foods or drinks should you have it with? All are common questions that are asked.

When To Take Creatine

For most people, taking creatine immediately following a workout will be the best method since this is when your muscles are going to be most receptive to taking up nutrients – the creatine along with them. Creatine gets stored better in the muscle cells when an insulin spike is present, and as such, if you are drinking a post-workout beverage with dextrose, adding creatine is a very smart idea.

Taking it with juice also works, but keep in mind that juice is about 50% fructose, which has no effect on insulin levels at all. Taking it with straight dextrose is a more effective approach.

When you are in the loading stage though and taking 20 grams per day for the first five days, then you’ll want to spread this out into 4 even dosages so that you are not as likely to experience stomach upset.

Creating and Low Carb Diets

For those who are trying to build muscle while following a bodybuilding lower carb approach, creatine can still definitely be used, but keep in mind it might be taken into the muscle cells slightly slower than if you had taken it at another point in the day.

Keeping Muscle Creatine Stores Full

Finally, the last critical thing to know about creatine is that in order for it to actually be of benefit for you, you must keep your muscle creatine stores full after the loading phase. If you are going to approach your supplement protocol in a haphazard effect, taking it just every now and then, you likely are not going to see many benefits from supplementing with it.

After the loading phase is complete, you must be sure to then continue on to maintain yourself by taking in 3-5 grams of creatine per day thereafter, depending upon your current body weight (heavier individuals will need more).

So, if you’re currently contemplating creatine – or are taking it but not in the right way, give these points some consideration. Taken correctly, creatine can make a big difference in the results you get from your workout.

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Bodyweight Training – The Feared 8 Count Bodybuilders

Why do so many people fear the dreaded 8 count body builder? Because they are a brutal bodyweight exercise that have been used in the military by the Elite Navy Seals.

I have read and bought many books on military training on every part of the military. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and they all show the exercise the 8 count body builder as one of the exercises that help get them in great shape.

But one book a Navy Seal training manual talks about how every Friday they would have to do 1×100 of this brutal exercise. And how the Seals hated it, I read this many years ago when I was just making a transition from weight training to bodyweight training.

I thought how hard could it be? First time I did it I managed 60 of these bodybuilders and thought about never doing them again. But, there was no way that was going to happen I was on my own mission to do 100 in 10 minutes and accomplished it.

What made me want to know more about these and the fact that the author of the book left out the feared 8 counts out of the workout section because how brutal they are. I liked that. If he left it out because he hated them I wanted to do them.

It’s been many years and I still do them and it is still a feat to accomplish 100 in under 10 minutes. My best was 600 in 1 hour and 100 in under 15 minutes wearing a 40 lb weight vest.

These are tough workouts and the exercise will work your body pretty complete. I have combined 8 counts with bodyweight squats and also used a combo using bodybuilders and a jump rope, both are amazing fat burning and strength building workouts.

If you just managed 50 of these beast the average man would not be average anyone who is a little skeptical drop down for some right now and see how many you can get in 1 minute or 2 minutes I think you will be surprised.

The only down fall is that most people will never do them as a regular part of their workout, and the reason is they are very demanding. You can be like everyone else and do everyone else s workouts; you know the workouts designed by the average man for the average man.

You want to be elite? You train and do the exercises that the elite train with!

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There Is No Wrong Way To Meditate: Breathing Meditation

I never knew if I was meditating correctly. It’s hard to jump into something you’ve never done before, and when asking for guidance only finding ‘enlightened’ answers. I would ask if I’m doing it right, and all I would get is that there is no wrong way of doing it. You see, I needed confirmation along the way, that I was on the right path. What’s the point of picking up a habit, to realize when it’s set, that it’s the wrong one?

Well with meditation it’s somewhat true. There really is no “right” way of meditating, but there are certain techniques that can be followed. You will find that you enjoy one particular meditation style over another, and after you try a couple you will realize that there really is an underlying pattern; you really do end up clearing your mind.

So how does it work?

Well even though there are many ways to meditate, I will share with you my favorite one! I have first hand knowledge, and though I practice different forms of meditation at different times, I prefer this method. Now it would help if you were to think of mediation like you would of a workout. Is there only one way of doing cardio? Of course not! But there are proper ways to run, or to swim or to do jumping jacks, to ensure maximum efficiency. Is there only one way of losing weight or gaining muscle? Of course not, but there are rules to diets, and there are proper ways of breathing as you lift weights. With that let’s move on to:

Breathing Meditation

I place this one first because it is perhaps my favorite. I was fortunate to try Vipassana Meditation where I learned to sit still and, you guessed it, breathe! Begin by sitting in a dark room, preferably early in the morning, or late at night, when few outside noises would disturb you. Your objective is to pay attention to the sensations at the tip of your nose as you breathe in, and breathe out. You need to stay away from distractions, because, especially when you’re starting out, your mind will look for every opportunity to skip to something else. We live in a society where we expect our senses to be bombarded with stimulants, and your mind is ready to move quickly from one thought, or idea to another. Meditation fights that. You probably don’t pay attention to your thoughts as you go about your daily routines, but when you close your eyes, sit in a comfortable position and focus on the sensation of your breath at the tip of your nose, that’s when you notice how hectic your thoughts really are.

Now don’t worry if you have a lot of questions about the technique. It’s very simple, just pay attention to your breath. Even if you are doing it wrong (which you can’t) you will still be meditating. Meditation is focusing on something simple. That in turn places you in the now, and calms your mind, but it’s possible that until you experience it, you will be unable to relate. Still, I will share with you my experience, and you can give it a try.

My first time

Well let’s begin with me sitting in a room full of people that have been meditating in this way for years. I however listened to the instructions, closed my eyes, and started breathing in this meditative way for the very first time in my life. Since the technique seemed so simple, I felt that I needed to know if I was doing it right. I was able to follow along with the sensations as I breathed in and out, and then in again, and all of a sudden my mind was questioning the technique. I would again breath in and out twice or at most three times, and then I would imagine telling my friends about the mediation.

In fact, I probably spend more time thinking about anything other than my breathing, during my first meditative session. It’s natural though. That’s just the working of a busy mind. I learned to catch myself each time my mind would trail off, and bring it back to observe the sensations at the tip of my nose. I would go for longer stretches at a time, now maintaining my focus as I inhaled 6 times, then longer, and longer still. This process was long. I tried not to move and was uncomfortable. I couldn’t keep my mind focused so I grew frustrated with my seeming onset of ADD, but eventually I improved.

For me meditation is just a repetitive task, and a successful technique is one whose effects I feel upon completion. My mind did feel clearer and I was more relaxed, every time I finished meditating.

Good luck and I hope you really enjoy your meditative experience.

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Top 5 Cycling Workouts

While any riding will help there are some workouts that are more effective than others. Some rides are to get your ready to train. Others are to help you recover. But there are certain key workouts that require a lot of effort and payoff with big improvements. Spring is just around the corner so here are the top 5 workouts that will improve your speed, endurance and help burn the winter pudge by spiking up your metabolism.

Warning: As with any exercise program, check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to do intense exercise.

Velmax Intervals

These are power based intervals I created based on research on increasing VO2 max and thresold power. To do these properly you will need a power meter and have tested your functional threshold power. These are among the hardest intervals I have ever done so if you have less than a year of training under belt or are coming off a layoff, don’t do these as you will probably throw up if done correctly.

The performance gains from these are quite rapid so the prescribed intensity is for the first time you do these intervals. Usually each workout you will increase either the number of intervals or wattage you do them at after the first workout.

Warmup 15-20 minutes

Velmax intervals

30 seconds at 135% of FT power / 30 seconds easy Repeat until you can’t sustain the wattage.

As wattage fluctuates I would usually set a target and when you can’t sustain 10-20 watts below that level the workout is over.

For example, if your threshold is 300 watts then your Velmax target for your first workout is 405 watts. It’s okay to go above but don’t drop below 400. When you can’t keep it above 395 watts, the workout is over and cool down. The first time you do these it is common to only get 15-20 repeats. Keep the same wattage target until you can get over 30 repeats. When you can up your wattage for the next workout by 10-15 watts.

Athletes I work with have gone from averaging 400 watts for 18 intervals to 450 watts for 31 intervals in just 3 weeks. This translates into increased higher sustainable power, higher sustainable heartrates and better recovery ability from hard efforts.

The reason they work so well is that the 30 second work period really drives the heartrate up but the 30 second recovery isn’t enough for your heartrate to come down much. With each interval your heartrate and oxygen usage keeps going up until you hit your Vo2 max. The recovery time is enough for your legs to clear a bit allowing your to do more work than you could if it was continuous. This allows you to accumulate a lot of time at your maximum oxygen capacity eliciting a rapid improvement in your cardiovascular system. While very effective, I once again to not try these if you aren’t used to intensive training.

Tabata intervals

Tabata intervals are named after the doctor who did the research into the effectiveness of short high intensity intervals versus longer, moderate exercise. Tabata describes the interval protocol. 20 seconds work/ 10 seconds rest repeated 8-10 times. Dr. Tabata’s research showed these intervals to be the most effective for eliciting improvement in both the aerobic and anaerobic system.

The key is the maximal efforts with shorter recovery periods. Incomplete recovery leads to an increase in oxygen debt leading to and improved ability to process oxygen. In a six week study these intervals done 5 days per week increased VO2 Max by 13 percent, aerobic capacity by 14 percent and anaerobic capacity by 28 percent. This is with only 20 minutes of exercise a day including warmup and cool down.

20 seconds hard / 10 easy spinning X 10 repeats = 5 minutes of hell

Then ride easy for 5 minutes and do it again.

Gauge you effort level based on your current fitness level. If you are new to cycling or just getting back into go about 80% instead of all out. If you have been training regularly give each 20 second interval a 100% effort. Don’t try to pace yourself, just attack each interval like its the last in the set.

If you are using a power meter you want to target 150% of your functional threshold power for the 20 second hard efforts. When you start do just one set of intervals but as your fitness increases you should increase the number of sets you do.

4 X 4 intervals

Norweigian researchers Hoff & Helgerud have found you can get better increases in cardiac output from frequent high intensity exercise than longer but less intense training. The basis of Hoff & Helgerud’s endurance training theory is the 4×4 interval. This means 4 intervals of 4 minutes each, at 85-95% of HR max (for top endurance athletes between 90-95% of HR max), with low-intensity breaks of 3-4 minutes. This is training which is meant to give the biggest increases in VO2max âEUR” which according to Hoff & Helgerud is the deciding factor for endurance (something I only partly agree on but anyway).

The theory is based on training the heart at maximal Stroke Volumes to expose it to maximal shear stress – conditions which are only reached at the highest heart rates. Why 4 minutes? Apparently it takes over 2 minutes for the heart to reach maximal stroke volume under these conditions, so you need to keep working for a longer period of time in order to get maximal training effect here. They have found that intervals that last longer than 4 minutes usually mean a drop in intensity and are therefore less effective.

The researchers had the athletes doing multiple days in a row of just 4×4 intervals (up to 18 sessions in 14 days) with 2-4 weeks of lower volume training to facilitate recovery, while still maintaining the gains without as much work needed. On average subjects saw a.5% improvement per workout.

The experiments have led to large increases in VO2max, up to 10% increase in the course of the experiment for already highly-trained athletes. If you are training with a power meter or heartrate monitor do the intervals as follows: Warmup 15-20 minutes. 4 min at 120% of your threshold power at high cadence 100-110rpm or build to your maximum heartrate from the fitness test.

– Recover for 4 minutes

– Repeat for a total of 4-6 times.

– Cooldown for 10-15 minutes

Muscular endurance intervals

This workout is good for increasing force development. Putting out a lot of power is the combination of pedal cadence and gear selection. Aerobic conditioning and pedaling drills will let you spin, and this workout will help you be able to do it in a bigger gear. This workout is great because it works the cardiovascular system and really works the legs. In time your legs won’t get as tired from sustained hard efforts.

While doing the low rpm intervals focus on being smooth and relax your upper body. If you have knee problems switch to higher cadences until your knees don’t hurt.

Do this workout twice a week with at least two days between workout as your legs will take longer to recover from this workout than higher candence aerobic riding.

Warmup 15 minutes building up top end of your aerobic range (90% of your average heartrate from your fit test) Cadence 90-100 rpm.

Work set 5 X 10 second stomps with 3 minutes recovery between efforts (choose a hard gear, slow to walking pace and then stomp on the pedals trying to accelerate as hard as you can for the 10 seconds). 5 minutes easy riding after the stomps followed by 10-30 minutes at 70 rpms at the top end of your aerobic zone. (If you are using a power meter this will be 85-90% of your Functional Thresold wattage). Cooldown 10 minutes easy spin to clear the legs and gradually bring down the heart rate.

Threshold intervals

Your Functional Threshold (FT) for practical cycling purposes is the maximum heart rate or power you can sustain for about an hour. The higher your threshold power the faster you can go for a sustained period without having your legs blow up on you. Very simply, the way to raise your anaerobic threshold is to ride at your threshold heart rate or power for progressively longer periods. These are hard but effective. If you have done the fitness test you will have calculated your anaerobic threshold heart rate and/ or power if you have a trainer or on-bike meter that measures wattage.

Start with 2 X 10 minutes at your threshold heart rate with 5 minutes recovery between intervals.

Each week increase the amount of time of the intervals by 2 minutes until you are up to 20 minutes each.

To increase from there look to add a third interval or multiple days of threshold intervals in a row. This can be very taxing but when you recover from the workouts you will be stronger.

Mixing it up

While you will get your biggest improvements in fitness from high intensity workouts there is still a need to longer and easier rides. While you can build great endurance performance with the workouts listed above, if the events you do are long (ie. over 2 hours), you need to get your body used to spending that kind of time on a bike. As well, lower intensity rides are great in promoting physical and mental recovery. Sometimes it’s hard to push yourself hard enough to get the training benefit from intervals because of mental burnout, so mixing up your training is a great way to keep fresh mentally and keep progressing physically.

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