Long Time No Post

It has been a long time since I have had the time or energy to sit down and type stuff that isn’t work related but that doesn’t mean I have stopped working to achieve my goals.

I have been continuing my workout plan and coming to the end of the 6th week which also happens to be the end of the first half of the plan. I can see and feel the changes and if you follow me on Instagram then you can see them as well. I am very happy with my progress especially when I look back and see how my weight numbers are going up every week.

It is a slow road, there is no shortcut for hard work but if you enjoy what the work that goes into it than there is no such thing as hard work. There are some exercises that I hate doing (bench press, squats) but all that means is that I need to give myself an extra push to do it and shatter my previous personal records.

The Youtube page is up and running and has a few videos and reviews already posted. You can visit at Youtube until I get the chance to purchase a domain name for it. I am enjoying making the videos and hopefully they actually help someone when it comes to purchasing supplements and other random stuff.

I will keep coming back to post more, it just may be few and far between but I am loving the video aspect and have been putting a lot of my free time into filming and editing the videos and putting them online. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and “like” the videos. Your support means the world to me.

New Workout Plan

2014-jim-stoppani-shortcut-to-size_facebookThis week I started a new workout plan that I selected on my BodySpace app. I chose “Jim Stoppani’s 12-Week Shortcut to Size” program because it said it would transform my body into the style I want i to be. So far I have done 3 of the workouts included and I can feel it. I call shenanigans on these workouts taking 45 minutes a day, I have been as the gym for over an hour and a half each day so far when they quote 45 minutes. Understanding that recovery takes more or less time per person but it is still a lot to do in a workout to call it 45 minutes.

According to the workout plan I should also be consuming 3500 calories on workout days and 3100 on non-workout days. That is a ton of calories especially when I usually only consume 1500-1700. Asking my to double that and it probably won’t happen. I have been able to increase my intake though. This week I have been between 2100-2600 and I think that is as far as I can get before I start to feel sick from the feeling of eating too much.

My calories are up as well as my protein intake and along with the workout, I am feeling good. I enjoy being at the gym for long periods of time so I don’t have an issue with that but if you are expecting a short time at the gym than you are wrong.

I will be posting pictures of my changes as time goes by. I have been taking pictures every morning and I am hoping to see some positive changes to match the positive feelings that I am having about this workout plan!

The Art of the Push Up

Finding an exercise that can be done just as well in the gym as it can be done at home is not easy. Whether it is due to the equipment not being the same quality, the space being to small or just the not vibe in the room, working out at home can be difficult. I happened to come across a great article from BodyBuilding.com (link will be posted at the bottom) about push ups. Was shocked to see an article about something so basic that I was forced to do in gym class back in elementary school but figured it worth the read.

how-and-why-to-do-push-ups-1The article titled “How (And Why!) To Do Push Ups” shows the benefits of doing the body weight exercise and explains how it helps to benefit the muscles that are not being used during the bench press. To me the part that hit home was when they talked about scapula movement and the benefits in mobility and strength to the area around it. After having two shoulder operations in the past, my shoulders feel fine and are strong but I get a pain behind the shoulder blade which I can seem to sooth. Push ups may not sooth the pain but they at least stimulate the muscle in the shoulder where the pain and discomfort is more tolerable.

Other variations of push up which are not mentioned but also help to make push ups more of an all around upper body exercise is to add an incline or a decline. This works out different muscles in the chest as well as the arms and shoulders and allows for different types of mobility.

In order to do either the incline or decline push up, a weight bench or another solid object that is 3 feet wide and 1 to 1.5 feet high is required.

inclinepushupFor the incline push up place your hands at the comfortable place on top of the bench with your feet on the ground and allow yourself to slowly lower your chest to the bench and than squeeze your chest when your press to raise yourself from the bench.

The decline is similar yet the opposite. The main difference is now your feet are on theimgs-declinepushup-inarticle bench and your hands are on the floor and you want to bring your chest as low to the floor as possible before squeezing your chest together and pushing back up.

I did 3 sets of 15 reps of each type of push up which comes out to 135 total. The fun thing about this is I can always add more reps or more sets as needed but that I can do this exercise at home and still feel as if I had a complete chest workout.

BodyBuilding.com – How (And Why!) To Do Push-Ups

Images from:

Breaking Muscle

Men’s Fitness

BodyBuilding.com

Schooled by the Trainer

I don’t claim to be an expert when it comes to working out. I know a few things and I try to learn a few other things, so when the trainer at my gym comes up to me and asks if he can help me out  I appreciate it very much because it is only going o help me.

Personal trainer helping woman at gym

Picture Credit rightfitpersonaltraining.com 

So here I am at the gym, just finished my dead lifting (posted on my Instagram @avgsteve) and my barbell shrugs when I decided to move to the bench. As I am setting up at the bench I notice my wife is on the other side of the gym working with the dumbbells and talking to one of the trainers. I can see that he is pointing out things to her that she should be doing and things that she is doing wrong (probably taught to her from me). After a few minutes she calls me over to talk to the trainer with her and we get into a conversation about bench pressing.

Time for some history on the relationship that I have with this gym and their trainers. I have not met with this guy as a trainer, for the sake of the blog let us call him John, but I have met with another trainer who workers there who we will call Mark. I had originally signed up for 90 minutes of training time which I wanted to break up into two 45 minute sessions. I told them that I wanted to learn power lifting exercises and other stuff using the barbell. That I wanted to make sure that I was using i safely.

Now this isn’t the first time that I have had a trainer, I used to have a very good trainer a few years back but I am no longer at that gym. Immediately I did not feel comfortable with Mark. Something about him told me that he did not know what he was doing or preaching, so I decided to test him. I may not know much about how to dead lift, but I know plenty about how not to dead lift. I did the first two as correctly as I could but then for the last 2 I purposely did them wrong. the first one I hiked the bar (popped it up) to myself and shot my hips up and he said “good good” and last one I curled the bar in (low weight obviously) and lifted from my toes and he said that I did all 4 perfectly. I just remember looking and thinking, really?

This was a pattern that continued throughout the rest of the session at the end of which I told myself that I would not be using the remaining time that I had. He tried to contact me several times about setting up an appointment and I either had plans and couldn’t make it or I just said I wasn’t available. Luckily our times weren’t the most compatible. I just did not feel comfortable working with a guy who could be so blind to the wrong way of doing heavy and unsafe exercising when done wrong. In the weeks to follow I saw him exercising a few times on his own and he just looked clueless taking care of himself so I did not want him to work with me.

Back to the current day where I am talking to Greg and he is pointing stuff out to me that is actually helpful. He is showing me what I am doing wrong and even when I try to throw something in to test him, he is catching it. This is what I want in a trainer. Someone who actually knows and makes you feel comfortable with their knowledge. He helped me with my shoulder placement when bench pressing as well as was helping my wife with her shoulder placement when she is dumbbell benching. He spent a good 25-30 minutes with us and I was happy to the point where I want to use that remaining 45 minutes that I paid for but only if he could be the trainer assigned to me.

Nobody likes to be told that they are doing something wrong, especially when they have been doing it that way for a while, but when the right person comes around and points out to you what you are doing wrong and how to fix and is taking the time out of their day to do so, I can only appreciate them for it. I may have to lower my weight to start doing things the right way but if it means that I will be safer when lifting more weight and get the actual gains that I am looking for than it is worth it. Just like how I went back to benching 135 when I was up to 220 so that I can put more time and effort into learning proper form to make sure that I am being as safe as possible.

Cheers!

When to Add NEW Exercises to Your Workout!

Weight-Training-Crushes-Cardio-For-Fat-LossThis is a topic that I come back to a lot because there are so many different ways for me to look at it. Am I adding new exercises because I want to learn new ones? Are certain exercises causing unwanted pain and being replaced with others that are more comfortable? Is there a medical reason? These are just a few of the reasons to add new exercises to a workout.

My obsession with the gym has only started in mid October (7 months) and during that time I have learned a lot. I started off with just a handful of random exercises to having a 15 exercise workout everyday, which is too much for me, or at least was at that point. Thanks to a few friends and the BodySpace app by BodyBuilding.com (not a plug but still showing support) I was able to learn more exercises to work out various muscle groups in my body. While learning more exercises I was able to teach myself various other exercises to work out the same muscles which I could use to either extend my workout or to offer variety to the exercises that way they didn’t become boring.

Several months after starting my gym obsession I came down with a nice case of either tennis or golfer’s elbow and had to back off on some of my workouts. My legs loved/hated me during the time period. I lowered the weight on exercises that didn’t cause me as much pain and I avoided the ones that hurt. It sucked because the ones that hurt the most were the ones I loved the most. I should mention that it was my fault I got the elbow injury because I was doing the same 15 upper body exercises everyday, 5-7 days a week (with 1 day for legs mixed in).

This injury was a blessing and curse. It forced me to separate my workout and to learn more exercises. Some of these new exercises have replaced ones that I was doing prior to my injury and some of them I ditched once I was feeling better. The curse from this is that I haven’t been able to kick the full extend of the injury and it keeps coming back. Currently I am avoiding doing any exercises where my arms are tended and supporting all of the weight at the hinge of my elbow, curls are a prime example. This is allowing me to find new exercises using machines or different ways to lift where my elbows are getting more support from the rest of my body. Knowledge is power!

Now some exercises are just uncomfortable to do. Seated leg curls are a good example for me as I could never find a comfortable position on the machine and it caused a pain what I did not need to have knowing that I probably wasn’t in the best position to use the machine. I was able to replace this with squats and other leg exercises which allow me to take this machine out of my workout entirely.

I have also recently replaced concentration curls with preacher curls and a few other bicep machines which have helped. Concentration curls were fine but for some reason when I put the weight down at the end it caused a sharp pain to my right shoulder. Since I dropped the concentration curls I have not felt this pain.

There are more reasons than what I have listed to change an exercise in your workout but these are the few reasons that I have run into and so far I have yet to look back.

If you have any more reasons to add, feel free to comment them below!

Cheers!

 

 

Deadlifting, Internet, Moving and Back Pain

Barbell_DeadliftFinally go the internet at my house and it has been great to have, but sadly all of my time outside of work and the gym and has been dedicated to putting the house together, more moving and unpacking.

This past weekend was entirely spent packing up stuff from our parents houses on Saturday just to spend the entire day on Sunday loading it all into a uhaul truck and bringing it to the house. Was exhausted by the time we were done and my back was killing me. With the number of boxes of COLLEGE TEXT BOOKS that my wife had packed, there was no need to go to the gym. Found boxes of homework that she kept from high school, HIGH SCHOOL!!!!

Between the workout that I got from packing and moving and unpacking, and the soreness in my back from moving beds and totes along with other fun stuff, I really wasn’t in the condition to go to the gym on Monday…BBBUUUTTT I did.

I ended up going to the gym on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and I planned on taking a rest day on Thursday as my body was shot from everything I have been doing all week and my back was sore since I didn’t rest it from moving but I decided to go to the gym anyways and thought to myself, this feels like a great day to do deadlifts. Yeah, I roll like that.

My big reason for wanting to deadlift on Thursday was that the gym I like to go to is going to be closed Friday and Saturday and they close early on Sunday and I have been trying to get a deadlift day in weekly so I can keep working on my form. The form is getting better BTW.

Stepping the weight back from 200 to 135 and working on my form is definatly helping. Maybe I forced myself to lift more weight too fast? I know I was able to handle over 200 but I guess my form got messy as I added more weight. Going to increase the weight slower this time and I have my friend Opi helping me via video messages. It is going well and I am feeling more comfortable as I slowly increase the weight this time so I don’t hurt myself. I have added videos to my Instagram, I will be making a collage of them for YouTube but add me oin Instagram and check it out!

 

Cheers!

All Moved In, Time to Unpack!

movingMy wife and I finished moving into our new house this weekend and did that ever suck. There are few things that I hate more than moving. It just always seems like I have gained a never ending supply of stuff that I didn’t know I had.

On Saturday we finished with the landlord, got the keys and were finally able to bring some boxes and stuff over. We made 3 trips with my SUV and 2 trips with her sedan and finally finished with everything at around midnight before going back to our apartment for the final night in the old digs.

On Sunday I had my brother from another mother Ed come over and help me move. The weather was supposed to be good all week but I guess it wasn’t meant to be on Sunday as it rained all day. We got the Uhaul truck and made our way to the small storage unit that we had. Just so happens that the truck is too big to fit down the aisles of the storage place. This meant that we now had to walk all the stuff in storage 30 yards in each direction in the rain. This sucked except for the 15 seconds where Ed rolled a tire down hill from the storage unit directly to my hands at the Uhaul truck. Was pretty epic (do people still use that word?).

Next we brought the truck to my apartment to load up the furniture and anything else that would fit into it before bring it to the house. 20 trips up and down in the elevator and 1 instance of Ed smacking his knee on the trailer hitch of the truck later and we were ready to bring the truck to the house.

At this point we were joined by our friends Allison and Nathanial for pizza and to finish moving. Yeah I know, pizza, it was a cheat day and what better to have on a cheat day than 5 slices of pizza! At this point we unloaded the furniture and all the stuff that was in the truck. Luckily the house has a back door which allowed for better access without stairs, especially for the couches.

After the truck was unloaded Ed headed out (his turn to move and mine to help in a few weeks) and the rest of us we to return the Uhaul and use our cars to bring over the rest of the stuff. Took a few hours but by 630pm we were all done. Thank you to everyone who helped us!

From here we did some unpacking and planning on where things will be going. So much more stuff to do and then I finally et to make my home gym! For today, it is going to be a few exercises with the curl bar I have and maybe I will be able to find the adjustable dumbbell bars that are hidden. The start of something great, a workout to do on non workout days! Woot!

Stay tuned for more updates!