Monthly Archives: May 2012

Crossover Thinking

In the course of my training to get muddy and kill myself, I’ve found that a lot of what I do in the gym crosses over to what I do in life. Mostly the mental stuff. I feel more motivated. More concentrated. More alive, really. I’m not gonna say anything like, “The sky seems bluer” or “That plastic bag floating around really does sum up our lives,” but I feel a hell of a lot better than when I was eating garbage food all day and not exercising.

I find it’s beneficial to take ideas from one part of my life and put them somewhere else. It gives me a different perspective, which is often what I need to fix problems or gain clarity on an issue. In other words, staying open-minded and engaging in lateral thinking allows me to be a better me.

Because I’m still a beginner, my footing is still shaky, and sometimes I slip. But, that’s okay. It happens. If you slip, regain your balance then continue moving forward.

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Rage Workouts

Mudder Lovers, I’m not going to lie to you–I’m capable of getting incredibly angry. It doesn’t happen very often, for which I’m very thankful. On the other hand, because I don’t get truly angry very often, when it does happen it’s a very powerful thing.

Kind of like this, only more facial hair.

I guess shit builds up. Work is what gets to most of us, I’d imagine. Regardless of where your stress or anger comes from, though, it always comes. When I get a build-up, I like to go for a rage workout.

What is a rage workout? Well, it’s pretty much any workout where you head to the gym more ready to blow a gasket than the lovechild of John McEnroe and Bobby Knight.  What’s really weird about a rage workout, though, is how goddamned great I feel after I’m done. I mean, really. I hate that it takes being angry to achieve that feeling, but there are few things on this earth as wonderful as the post-rage-workout high.

Who else likes blowing off steam in the gym? Let me know in the comments.

Food Tracking with The Daily Plate

I believe that, in order to be healthy, one has to focus on three things: exercise, eating, and sleep. Getting regular physical activity helps you build endurance and muscle, and also helps burn fat; eating a consistent, healthy diet will help fuel your body while keeping you from swelling to the size of a weather balloon; and sleeping–aside from being totally fucking awesome–gives your body a chance to rest and repair itself.

I’ve been focusing a bit more on eating lately. There are various ways we silly humans have devised to keep track of what we eat. Whether you commit to a certain number of meals a day, are on one of numerous diets floating around on the internet, or only eat at certain times of day, anyone trying to get fit probably has some sort of system for the way the eat. After doing a bit of research, I’ve decided to track my daily calorie intake. For that purpose, I use The Daily Plate over at Livestrong.com.

The set-up was pretty simple–you can even connect with your Facebook account. You input your gender, height, weight, and your weight loss goal, and based on either science or jungle voodoo, it pops out a daily caloric goal. Pretty nifty. Tracking is easy, too–you just search for the food you’re eating (you can even go brand-specific), choose the number of servings you had, and click the “I Ate This” button. You can also note what time of day you ate a particular food, if that’s a sort of thing you care about taking note of.

Tracking calories hasn’t been hard. Granted, I’ve been doing less than a week, so maybe I’ll have a forgetful day soon. I just make it a point to input what I’m eating while I’m eating, just before or just after. Makes it easier, and my results are better. I don’t stress about it. I find that I think less about food when I’m bored, now that I’m tracking what I eat–that seems weird, but that’s the way it is.

Anybody else tracking calories out there? Sound off!

“Off Day” My Ass

Today is my first of two consecutive days off from work. Just because I’m off from work doesn’t mean I’m being a lazy fuck, though. In addition to getting out to the gym today, I have a full docket at home. There is much cleaning to do around the house, including a battle against a life-size replica of Mt. Doom made entirely of dirty laundry.

Breakfast (at 2:30 PM, because I was so busy cleaning my desk area I forgot to eat) was an awesome green smoothie. Spinach, blueberry Greek yogurt, milk, and a banana. Simple, and very tasty. I find that a smaller breakfast works better than a larger one for me. Don’t get me wrong–every now and then, I love waking up and demolishing every breakfast food known to man. For most mornings, though, a bowl of cereal or a smoothie works just fine.

I’m slowly getting it through my thick skull that, if I want to be in top shape for Tough Mudder, I can’t rely on exercise alone. I’m going to need to change up my eating habits. I’m a big fan of the “if I don’t buy it, I can’t eat it” method. Maybe I should just spend time throughout the week making a “healthy” grocery list? It’d be a lot better than the method I have now, which is to go to the store as soon as my paycheck hits the bank and buy the things I want at that moment, with no regard to weekly meals, health, or even logic.

Today is a B-day for SL5x5. I’ll be updating my Fitocracy page post-workout–be sure to check it out!

Good Links: Stronglifts

A few days ago, I talked about my quest for strength. Along the way, I mentioned the program I’m using to build my strength. Today, I thought I’d take time to give some Good Link love to Stronglifts.com.

I actually stumbled upon Stronglifts about a year or so ago. Being the big comic book nerd that I am, and loving Marvel much more than DC–suck it, Christian Bale–I went to see Thor during its opening weekend.  I was impressed at the transformation that Chris Hemsworth had gone through in order to become the God of Thunder.

No, not that God of Thunder. But, he's a damn fine one.

Curious as to how Hemsworth went from fitness model to fucking huge, I Googled “Thor workout”–because that’s not weird. One of the first hits that came up was a link to this article on Stronglifts. In addition to having a before-and-after photo set that made me hate myself, the article talked about a simple strength training plan. “Strength training? Simple?” I thought. “You stupid fucks.” And yet, I clicked the link anyway–what does that make me? After an hour of getting lost in the blog, I decided to give the 5×5 program a shot. I’ll admit to some skepticism in the beginning–mostly due to all the hype I’d heard about isolation exercises, and seeing that this program was devoted entirely to compound workouts. But, I became a believer after to putting SL5x5 to the test, and seeing my numbers go up each workout.

On May 1, 2007–hey, five-year anniversary!–Medhi Hadim started Stronglifts.com as a functional alternative to all the garbage websites he was coming across in his own quest for strength. He states on his About page:

My mentor who showed me how to Squat told me to start a website about how to gain strength and muscle while losing fat… I realized there was indeed a desperate need for such a website, free of all the usual bullshit and broscience, and so I launched StrongLifts.com…

I’ll be the first to admit that the writing style–and indeed, a good bit of the posts–can be very infomercial-esque. I’m going to chalk that up to English being Medhi’s second language (he’s a native of Belgium)–what might sound like a sincere selling point to him makes us oversold, overadvertised Americans think, “Yeah, yeah, and Ron Popeil’s my fucking uncle.” Once you get past the style, you’ll find plenty of good posts on strength training–including variations on the 5×5 workout–eating, and testimonials.

If you’re a cardio buff, you won’t find love here. But, for those of you looking to bulk up and get stronger, check out Stronglifts.com.