THE CITY DWELLER WORKOUT

WORKOUT IDEAS


Do you feel wiped out when you get home and just collapse on the sofa? Urban living certainly has its challenges. Hiking around the cityscape day to day requires endurance and stamina. Wether it’s that mad dash for the bus or the hike up the stairs with groceries because the elevator is stuck again, urban life can seem pressured and non stop.


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But we love it, that’s why we live here.

Below is not so much a full workout, but ideas to incorporate into your existing routines. Ways to up the ante a little. ✔

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Plyometrics


Also known as “jump training”, incorporating plyometric exercises is almost garanteed to help build the strength and speed needed to navigate the urban jungle. (Or a weekend hike).

Get ready to jump


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First, start by warming up with a few sets of body squats. 2 sets of 10

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Keeping your core tight push off and land squarely on both feet. 3 sets of 10.

Explosive power is what your building.


Get a Grip

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Often times getting creative with workouts simply involves changing the grip your using while performing an exercise. Some basic grips most oftenly used are:

  • Overhand
  • Underhand
  • Close grip
  • Wide grip

Baby got back

If you want an impressive set of “wings” switch your grips in the same workout to target the whole back.

Here are two (2) exercises to help strength the back and build the lean muscle needed to help propel you through this world.

  • The Lat Pull 
  • The V-Bar Pull

The Lat Pull is a standard, all-around, go-to exercise for building upper body strength. Above is the short grip. Position your arms shoulder width apart. 3 sets of 12 – 15

Muscle Group – Latissimus Dorsi

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A wide grip (above) works the inner lats, while a short grip helps to build the outer lats.

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⬆The V – Bar Pull is a mass building staple. Working the inner muscles of the back called the Rhomboids, as well as the lats, this move is also working your biceps.


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It isn’t a jungle in here. This is your sanctuary. This space is where you come to escape the grind.

Utilize it. Think outside the box.

While you have the V – Bar in hand, stand with feet shoulder width apart and switch to working your abdominals.


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The truth about abs is this: Everyone has them. It’s the layer of fat on top that keeps them hidden. Endlessly doing crunches is not the key. Watching what you eat and performing 3 sets of 15 repetitions 

slow and controlled is.

The science of grips applies to your #bicepblowout too. Using your Lat bar, alternate between a short grip and a wide grip:

Muscle Group – Biceps Inner/Outer

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Why? Stimulating the muscles from different angles helps promote hypertrophy, or muscle growth. 

Tip Using an overhand grip here (not shown) will target the forearms. Think Popeye the Sailor Man.

SUPER SET 


The concept of a superset is simple. Maximize your time and your efforts. Working opposing muscle groups,  (“push/pull”) is an effective method for building size as well. Utilizing a Machine Chest Press is a an excellent opportunity to build the back and the chest simultaneously. Rest periods should be little to none during a superset combo.

Muscle Groups – Pectorals/Rhomboids/Deltoids

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When using the Chest Press for the back adjusting it allows for either a full range of motion or partial. The debate about machines continues. Perhaps the critics haven’t learned to get creative. When it comes to sets and reps choose from any number:

  • 12, 10, 10, 8
  • 10, 10, 10
  • 10, 8, 8
  • 5 sets of 5
  • 10, 8, 8, 6

You get the picture? Switch things up. Muscle confusion, man!

Add 3 sets on the Chest Press next while your at it.

Variations on a theme

Dips are a mass building exercise that can be done just about anywhere. Home, gym, office.

Muscle Group – Triceps/Deltoids

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If you can’t fit on the railings, or don’t feel like moving the bench, or simple can’t get downstairs….

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…push two chairs together in the comfort of your home.

If you chose the railings, stay there and add stair step climbs to your routine. Start with 1 step intervals then graduate to two. Eventually, your quads and glutes will thank you for it.

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Muscle Group – Quadriceps/Gluteus Maximus ⬆

Time to stretch. Static stretches, or stretches held for an extended period of time are good at this point.

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Hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. Repeat 2 – 3 times while your iPod is stuck on replay-ay-ay.

Tip Focus on holding your core tight and on your breathing. Your stretching the Quads, Hamstrings, and Back here.


And of course don’t forget your core. But how do you take a basic plank and change it up?

 

Muscle Groups – Abdominals/Obliques

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Keep your core tight, twist each knee to the right and left, hold each pose for a 5 count. Perform as many as you can.

Again, these are variations to add into your existing routines. By simply changing the grip and the rep counts, you’ll continue to think outside the box and above all else…

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Email: jwilliamstrains@gmail.com 

MORE ON STATIC STRETCHING

Flexibility


If you’ve ever noticed the fitness world is an ever changing world, and seemingly monthly there is a new break through.

Some things though, remain as rock solid as the iron your pressing and curling.

Stretching


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First, think of your muscles like a rubber band. Now tie a knot in the middle of it. See what I mean?

Basics

There are two (2) basic types of stretching.

  • Dynamic
  • Static

We know that a good warmup period pre-work out is important. Post workout is another story and often times we abruptly stop, shower, (hopefully) and go about our business. Static stretching involves holding specific stretches for a longer period of time, (Typically 30 – 40 seconds) for optimum benefits. Over the years studies show that static stretching tends to be best suited for the end of a workout. Why?

According to Acefitness.org

“No pain, no gain is simply not true. Stretching shouldn’t hurt. Stretch to the point of mild discomfort. Try to find a balance of ease and effort in every stretch.”

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Take Away

Often we sit at desks for long periods of time, or for some, stand for long periods of time. Flexibility is crucial to our success.

  • Reduced pain and stiffness
  • Improved Blood flow and circulation
  • Enhanced performance

So, the next time you knock that #beastmode workout out of the park, or come home for the day stiff as a tree, budget the time to streeeetch it out.

 

MORE GYM HISTORY

ORIGINS


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The ancient Greeks were a fascinating society. Among numerous reasons, their appreciation of the human form was, and to some, (myself included) still unparrelled.

Part I of my eBook series Inventing Fitness,  Amazon.com begins with the origins of physical fitness universally credited with the ancient Greeks.

“Within the ancient Greek society a fit body represented a fit mind. Exercise was no fad, but Civic duty and gymnasiums institutions of higher learning”


Gym life

No need to get your wallets out, these public buildings were funded by the state, and overseen by Gymnasiarchs. Today we call them General Managers, however, in antiquity they were much more and served in these positions with great honor. As a young boy progressed in age so did his level of training and education. Discipline was essential in the formauon of a future citizen, a soldier, a future leader.

Gym talk

In our 21st century clubs we tend to follow an unwritten rule of avoiding certain topics and conversations, and go about our routines keeping to ourselves. 2500 years ago after generations of legends, young men began to focus on logic, morals, and ethics. They came to discuss important matters and what was on their minds.

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Around the world

  • Basque – Gymnasion
  • Danish – Gym
  • Dutch – Sportschool
  • French – Gym
  • German – Fitnessstudio
  • Italian – Palestra
  • Lithuanian – Sports sale
  • Portugese – Academia
  • Turkish – Jimnastik
  • Swahili – Mazoezi

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YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT pt I

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Exercise alone isn’t enough to shed fat and build muscle. There is an unofficial official rule (yes, another rule to follow in the world) throughout the fitness industry called, “the 80/20 rule.”

But more on that in a bit.

The foods we eat say a lot about who we are. Our cultures, lifestyles, tastes and habits. Food is a basic necessity of life. Here, in the United States we have influences from all around the world. We’re lucky like that.

“There is no love sincerer than the love of food” – George Bernard Shaw

COUNTING MACROS


What is a macronutrient?

mac • ro • nu • tri • ent

  • a substance required in relatively large amounts by living organisms, in particular.
  • a type of food (i.e. fat, protein, carbohydrates) required in large amounts in the human diet.

PROTEIN


Protein is considered the main building block for muscle, bones, skin, tissue and most everything in the body. After consuming it, the body breaks it down into amino acids which fuel all the aforementioned, as well the immune system. The more you put in the more the body has to work with.

HOW MUCH


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That depends on your size and your goals. In the definition above it states, “in large amounts.” However, to simply things, the general rule accepted is to aim for one (1) gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Sound like a lot? It is. Can it be done? You bet.

Highlighted below are bonafide protein sources garanteed to boost your efforts….twofold. Some are tried and true, some are on the “say what” side of the list. “Abs are made in the kitchen” they say, so get your whisks and your measuring spoons out. It’s time to protein up.

The Skinny

Eggs – Why? Eggs are considered the perfect protein source. One medium to large egg contains 4 – 6 high quality grams. Harb boiled, scrambled, or over easy, they are budget friendly and extremely versatile.

– The french eat have a penchant for eating omlettes at dinner with a little fines herbes. Tres chic! 

Turkey – Gobble Gobble. Lean, lean, and ever so lean, turkey continues to be near the top of the list.

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Fuggedabout the Thanksgiving trimmings you normally have with it, (like green bean casserole) turkey is lower in fat than the other meats and, as of this writing, remains relatively inexpensive.

Chicken – Boneless/skinless or a beautifully roasted breast, chicken can be prepared so many different ways how could anyone get bored with it. Like the jingle says, “We’re having chicken tonight, yes chicken tonight.” 

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One large chicken breast has close to 22 grams of protein.

Peanut Butter – Creamy or chunky, PB is an excellent source and couldn’t be easier to consume for those who don’t have the time to spend in the kitchen. You just stick the spoon in and voila!

– A St. Louis businessman named George Bayle first sold peanut butter as a snack in 1894. 

Chocolate Milk – Yup. But go for low-fat. Chocolate milk helps to replenish glycogen stores directly after a hard workout. It has been said it especially good for the ladies. There you go.

Cottage Cheese – A bodybuilders staple, cottage cheese is full of casein, a slow digesting protein, which makes it good to eat before a fasted period like sleeping. With high amounts in a typical serving, cottage cheese is affordable and goes well with a ton of stuff. (Like fruit)

The Takeaway

Slamming stacks and pumping iron is the first step. However, if you want to make all those sessions really pay off and pack on the muscles, pack the shopping cart with the fuel your body needs.

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Email: jwilliamstrains@gmail.com

 

 

 

“GO BIG……”

WORKOUT IDEAS

ROUTINES

Perhaps your apartment/condo fitness room has a little more than most to work with but still doesn’t give you the feeling of a huge box gym with a branded name full of copious amounts of equipment.

So what. You can still get your workout on.

This routine is designed on the “push/pull” theory, as well as to target as many muscle groups as possible. Push/Pull revolves around working with exercises involving one set of motions. For “Push” say, Chest & Triceps, and for “Pull” like those for Back & Biceps. Training can be divided throughout the week or incorporated into one workout to save on time.

Summary

WORKOUT: UPPER BODY

GOAL: BUILD MUSCLE

LEVEL: BEGINNER – INTERMEDIATE

DETAILS: 

  • 10 – 12 rep range
  • 3 working sets w/warmup sets
  • Allow at least 48 hours rest in between

ESSENTIALS:

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  • Commitment
  • Determination
  • Intensity

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STANDING DUMBBELL FRONT RAISES – ALTERNATING 

MUSCLE GROUP – DELTOIDS

1 – 2 Warmup Sets (lighter weight)

3 Sets of 10 – 12

Beginning with feet shoulder width apart, keep core tight and back straight. Dumbbells should be at sides and with controlled form raise them until parallel with floor. Option 2 Use the cable station. The debate rages on about cables. Why? Not sure. They provide constant tension, help with imbalances, and are great if your beginning.

1. a & b

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“You want me to do something….tell me I can’t do it” ~ Maya Angelou 

1. c

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Side Delt Raises 

MUSCLE GROUP – DELTOIDS 

1. d

OVERHEAD DUMBBELL PRESS 

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Here are two (2) starting positions. When you begin with dumbells in front and palms facing towards you rotate back then push up. This works the entire shoulder. (We’re aiming for Boulder Shoulders here)

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 PULL UPS – UNASSISTED

MUSCLE GROUP – BACK 

3 sets of as many as possible


Body weight exercises such as pull ups continue to be a never fail, go-to move for building pure strength and lean muscle. Incorporate them into any workout often and watch those lats pop.


DUMBBELL INCLINE PRESS

MUSCLE GROUP – CHEST

3 Sets of 10 – 12

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Tip:In the starting position rest the dumbbells on your quads. Push off with each knee. – And when finishing bring them to rest here again.  A. No one likes a weight dropper, so please do not toss them so you can hashtag beastmode. B. Proper form is right up there with nutrition.

It’s key.

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DUMBBELL BENT OVER ROWS 

MUSCLE GROUP – BACK

3 Sets of 10 – 12 


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INCLINE DUMBBELL BICEP CURLS 

MUSCLE GROUP – BICEP BRACHI

3 Sets of 10 – 12

Bi, meaning two (2), there are two heads to the biceps. The long and the short. Position the bench at a 45 to 60 degree angle. Adding an angle helps create more tension stimulating the long head of the bicep, as well as helps correct imbalances, such as hunching the shoulders forward common with barbell curls.

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HAMMER CURLS


ELEVATED DECLINE PUSHUPS

MUSCLE GROUP – CHEST

3 Sets of 10 – 12

A chiseled chest is always attainable with a “where there’s a will there’s a way” mind set.

Really.

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After a good #bicepblowout take the dumbbells and position them under you in the pushup position.


INCLINE CABLE FLIES

MUSCLE GROUP – PECTORALS

3 Sets of 10 – 12

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Muscles grow after we workout, tear them down, rest and allow them to repair. Here, towards the end of your workout on your third (3) set shoot for as many reps as you can. Some call it “until failire”. I do not. I call it “until exhaustion”. What ever you want to call it, push yourself.

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For questions, ideas, and more variations please feel free to contact me:  jwilliamstrains@gmail.com

Fitness Term (s) of the Day

EXERCISE


Physiology

 

BUILDING MUSCLE


  • Slow-Twitch Muscle Fibers     (Type I) – These fibers allow for sustaining over long periods. i.e. sets with lower weight/higher reps, body weight exercises, and marathon running.

 

  • Fitness-Twitch Muscle Fibers (Type II) – These fibers allow for greater force but fatigue easily. i.e. sets with higher weight/lower reps.

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A person looking to put on size, or “mass-gaining” as it’s known, will often incorporate 5 sets of 5 repetitions, or 5 x 5 at a heavy weight.

On the other end of the spectrum a person looking to “cut”, or achieve more definition, will focus on say 3 sets of 15 – 20 repetitions at a lower weight.

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Workout routines designed with these fibers in mind are almost sure sure to put you on the fast-track to gainsville.

 

For complete randomness Tweet: @jwilltrain

 

IT’S A JUNGLE IN THERE

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Completely radical for his time, Jack Lalanne opened one of the nations first gymnasiums in 1936. He is credited with creating the prototype for both the Smith Machine & Leg Extension. The debate rages on however.

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Are machines effective and should you use them?

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Simply put, not all machines are created equal. Since Mr. Lalannes first drawings, gym machines have become increasingly sophisticated. Seats and seat backs on newer ones are styled to form fit more naturally. Modern machines no longer force one into unnatural positions and grips are better. However advanced exercise machines become, not all gyms are equipped with the state of the art, so finding what works for you is key.

Ask any gym rat or bodybuilder, Jack’s Leg Extension is still widely used as it effectively targets the quadriceps. (See if who you ask can tell you who he was.) The Hamstring curl is also a must for many due to the fact that muscle group is typically hard to work in general. The Chest Press tends to be staple as is the Preacher Curl Machine.

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A solid point with machines is that stabilizer muscles are not fully engaged. In the Overhead Shoulder Press your primary muscles activated are the deltoids. The stabilizers kick in with the triceps. With a Smith Machine less of your stabilizers are used however there are safety latches if you are going heavy.

A good workout should be varied including free weights, body weight exercises and even a machine or two. A sensible approach would be to keep lighter weight/higher rep sets for machines. If your workout partner flaked or you don’t have a spotter a machine can be a good alternative. Too much of anything isn’t good and machines shouldn’t be used as substitutes but rather as supplements, additions to your program.

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THE GYMNASIUM

History

Nicknamed the “Godfather of Fitness,” Jack Lalanne first began training at the YMCA in Berekely, California. He opened one of the nation’s first gyms in Oakland, CA in 1936. Initially perceived as not only a fanatic, but a charlatan. Health professionals of the day warned to stay out of his facility.

He lived to be 96.

Throughout the ancient greek society the gymnasium was one of the most important structures within a city, and over time became institutions of higher learning and social interaction.

In fact, a great deal went on at the gym.

Derived from the word gymnos, or greek for naked, the bluprint of the gymnasium seems to have taken shape somewhere within the 6th century BCE. All follow the same basic floor plan of a large center courtyard surrounded by colonnades and lower lying buildings. As the preeminent sport was wrestling, attached was a Palaestra, or wrestling school.

The ancient greeks learned the connection between mind and body early on and so, a young  boys education would start with attention to health and physical strength. The gym was his school. The gymnastai were his teachers. These ancient personal trainers oversaw every aspect of a students formation.

Below is a pair of ancient dumbbells, called Halteres. They sit in the National Archeological Museum of Athens.

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Carved from stone with handles at the top, they were used for helping an athletes long jump. This method is clearly seen depicted on terra cotta pots dating back to the 5th century BCE.

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For a free copy of my upcoming e-book on ancient gymlife and fitness, subscribe by email!