On My 1 Year Anniversary

So apparently today is 1 year since I have started this blog and I know it has been a long time since I have posted an entry. I also know that I have said that on my last post or 2 but hopefully the road blocks are now done and I can continue with this blog like I had originally planned.

In the last year (and what a year it has been) my life has been all over the place. I changed positions at my job and with that came and entire lifestyle change. Gone were the long train rides followed by the subway to work everyday and in were long drives to work followed by longer hours. The upside is that I get to at least drive my car everyday instead of paying for a car a barely touch but the downside is I am still away from home a lot more than I would want to be.

The location that I am at now moves at a slower pace than my last location which has lead to some unhealthy eating habits that I have had to keep in check. Longer hours with less busy work and moving around means more snacking and that hunger that comes from sitting. With effort I have been able to change things around several times and I am back to eating healthy and having healthy snacks.

I have also been able an “office gym”. This means that I have a drawer which includes: rotating push up handles, 25 pound adjustable dumbbells, yoga ma and elastic stretch bands. This has helped me to stay healthy while at work and not miss a workout, especially during the busy time of year where I was working up 7 days a week and all my shifts were at least 12.5 hours long. It hasn’t been easy but this set up has been a big help.

I am have been active with my YouTube page but would like to be doing more. Right now I have a few reviews and box openings but I would like to develop it into more of a vlog web show type thing instead of just another place where someone reviews products. I enjoy trying new stuff and talking about it but I would like to show more diversity in what I post.

Another great addition to my life has been my puppy Chance. He is amazing, we got him last summer and he has changed my life for the best. He is a 50 pound hound/lab mix and loves to explore and has become a great hiking companion for my wife and I. We are even going as far as to planning our vacation around him. A road trip to Florida where everything we do and everywhere we stay is dog friendly.

Lastly, I have finished my home gym. Where it won’t replace me going to an actual gym (because I can’t afford all the equipment nor do I have the room) it helps keep my wife and I in shape on days where we are home and can’t make it to the gym. For a home gym it sure is a great set up and I am very happy to have it.

Stay tuned as I will hopefully be better at posting more. Check me out on YouTube, search for averagestevesfitnessvlog and on instagram.

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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.

Starting the Last Week of Month 1

14673069524273 weeks into my new workout plan “JIM STOPPANI’S 12-WEEK SHORTCUT TO SIZE” I am still alive and going strong. I know that I may not be fulfilling the calorie requirements but it is hard to go from eating around 1700 calories to suddenly jump up to 3500. That is more than double! Not going to happen, but I have been following the workouts and I can see the changes that my body has earned for itself, though I did need someone else to show me before I could actually see the difference.

I have been learning new exercises which is one of the key reasons that I decided to make this change in gym life. The breakdown of the workout days has been very helpful. It spreads leg workouts throughout the week (as well as has a day where more time is dedicated to leg day) and I don’t feel like I am overdoing my arms. It has allowed my elbows to feel better, though the increase in other exercises has caused my shoulders to hurt a little big more.

I highly recommend this plan for anyone who is looking for a new way to organize their workouts as well as learn new things.

Since starting, my chest is more defined as well as my abs. As my friend Opi puts it, back in October I had a muffin top and now you can see the beginning of a 6-pack starting. Good things for me to hear. My arms have also grown a little bit but has also been toning up. Looking more vascular as well, as long as I don’t get to the freaky type of vascular. The circumference of my neck has gone down, but my shoulders look more bulked as well as my face is now thinning. I am comparing a lot of this to how I looked back in October.

Case and point, the plan is going great and I am looking forward to the next 9 weeks of going forward with it.

First YouTube Vlog Post

This past week I posted my first vlog on my YouTube channel. You can check it out Screenshot_2016-06-17-07-19-46at Amazon Protein Sample Pack Video. Please watch and subscribe to my YouTube channel!

My First Week at Planet Fitness

5-%20Myrtle%20Strenght%20AreaCurrently I belong to 3 gyms, yeah I know that is a lot but one of my memberships expires this month and won’t be renewed (the University gym which is my favorite gym). Usually my go-to after the university is Retro Fitness which is your standard 20 dollar a month gym which has all the free-weights and machines that one would expect to find in a gym.

Since my wife is going to be working at a new university which is too far away for me to use their gym, we decided that we would join a cheap gym in the area on the side (it is also a second gym membership for her) so we joined Planet Fitness for 10 dollars a month, comes out to $10.70 with tax. Not bad for a 24-7 gym.

My first impression after getting the tour at Planet Fitness was wow, this place sure is purple and clean. Once I got past how clean things looked and how much cardio equipment they carry I realized that the gym tour didn’t show any free weights. They have an awesome section for a 30 minute workout as well as a 12 minute ab station which I love but where are the free weights?

I finally found them in the corner. Shocked that they hid these in the tour because it takes up a nice size portion of the gym, they have 8 or 9 adjustable/flat benches as well as a curl bar rack, 2 double row racks of dumbbells and 4 smith machines with adjustable benches. That is a lot of equipment but the problem is that if you don’t like doing your exercise on the smith machine than you are stuck. There are no free barbells. Bench presses, squats, deadlifts, they can only be done on the smith machine and it gives the machine a strange feeling. Needless to say I won’t be doing these exercises at this gym.

Outside of exercises needing a free barbell, this gym has everything I want for a low price. The best part of the gym I would say (other than 24-7) is that everyone there is nice and people put their weights back where they belong. When I go to Retro Fitness I notice a lot of people just leave their dumbbells on the floor or put them anywhere on the rack instead of where they belong. At Planet Fitness, everything was there it was supposed to be.

So the skinny of the post is that I am enjoying the gym as long as I don’t have to do anything with a barbell that day.

Cheers!

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!