Strongman

Prowler

Prowler

Structural balance should be a goal in everyone’s workout routine. With that in mind, I decided to add strongman training and yoga into my own fitness routines-I’ll get more into the yoga part in a later post. But, for those of you who don’t know what ‘strongman’ workouts are, allow me to explain.

The word, strongman, primarily took shape in the the 19th century as part of a circus act. Strongmen and/or strongwoman would perform incredible acts of power, strength and balance, which of course, would draw the attention of many spectators.

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Modern day strongman, is not much different, than those of the circus. However, it has been formalized as a style of training. Strongman training requires you to lift, push, carry, flip, or throw heavy things which are anaerobic in nature. Meaning you create tremendous exertion by generating a ton of force against the ground.

Some examples of strongman training include: sled pushing, farmer’s walks, tire flips and medicine ball throws. Most importantly, the strength gained in this type of training is easily transferred to everyday activities such as walking heavy loads of groceries home, or picking up heavy items off the ground. Strongman training=strength and functionality.

Next time you’re at the gym, try a strongman workout instead. A simple Google search will give you a myriad of strongman workouts. Or you can also add strongman components into your workout routine. Such as pairing weighted squats with farmer walks, or chest press with medicine-ball wall slams.

My new favorite conditioning workout is pushing the Prowler for 15 minutes 1-2 times/week. I’ll set my timer for 15 minutes in which I’ll push the Prowler (sled) as fast as I can using the low bars for about 20m, then I’ll switch to the high-bars and drive it back to my original spot. Repeat until the timer goes off. Breathers will be necessary but they should be short; just enough to calm your breath and keep going. In other words, rest enough time to get rid of the black spots in your vision. ūüôā Or if you prefer a formal style of training, then do an allotted amount of sets for 20-25m and rest 1-2 minutes in between sets. Try 6-8 sets x 20m then rest 1 minute, and repeat.

This style of training is not easy, but it’s certainly fun and challenging. For optimal fat loss, try a strongman workout twice a week on non-consecutive days. Break a sweat and reap the benefits of working hard!

Pumpkin Spice Coffee

Look what I found!! Ahhhh yes! It’s Pumpkin Spice Coffee!!

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Ok I don’t want to sound like an ad commercial, but I’ve got to say that this stuff is pretty good! It encompasses Fall like no other. It has no added chemicals, only oils and spices. So those of us who love Pumpkin flavored stuff, this is a GREAT alternative to those sugary pumpkin lattes!

And, remember, coffee is great as a pre-workout drink, but you gotta drink it black–eliminate the sugar and creamer/milk. Make sure to take some Vitamin C and Magnesium with your post workout shake to cut down on the effects of the caffeine.

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p.s. To be clear, I have laid off on the excess amounts of coffee drinking ūüôā

Favorite Leg/Glute Workout

Show me some leggies

It’s been some time now that I’ve been wanting to share some of my personal workout routines.

Let’s just say that, by far, this one has been my favorite. This workout is a variation from a leg/glute workout plan by trainer and Glute Guru,¬† Bret Contreras. I must warn you!, this workout is definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for the challenge- get ready!

But, before I go onto the workout details, I feel a big need to explain in more detail why this program has been my favorite so far.

You see, my legs grow quickly. They get bulky really, really, fast..and not in the good way. But guess what doesn’t grow proportionately to my legs?? My butt. ¬†My tushy,¬† derriere, booty, butaay, glutes, whatever you want to call it, does not grow no matter how hard I was hitting my compound leg movements. There lies my frustration. I can do a thousand lunges, squats, deadlifts and nothing, nada! You see for most, the great majority that is, doing compound movements such as the infamous full squat, produce great, wait, not great, FANTASTIC results in the tushy area. But NOT me…ahhh damn you genetics!!

Ok I have to say that alongside this great workout, sprinting and stair running has definitely changed the shape of my legs and butt. Ever seen a sprinter’s lower body? Makes me say wanna say (with my index finer held high, of course), “Yep, I’ll take 1 of those to go, please.”¬† Losing body fat will make that booty and legs pop on its own. But, it’s also a great idea to help shape them with a good workout plan.

The following is a variation of a program by Bret Contreras. I say variation because some of the exercises are out of sequence, didn’t use all of the exercises he uses/I added some, my reps/sets are different and I improvised using the machines that are in my gym.

Since I’ve been on this plan, I’ve noticed major results in my posterior-chain (erector spinae group, hamstrings and glutes). I suggest to take a before workout picture of a side butt shot, and then one right after you complete this workout. You are sure to see a good pump!

I’m also going to include the weights I use just to give you an idea. BUT, keep in mind that you must cater to your own needs. Your weights are going to be different than mine. For example, in Full Squats the heaviest I can safely and with proper form, perform is around 80#, which is not a lot, but it’s a lot for me. Remember is not about EGO. It’s about doing ’em right! So be SMART and challenge yourself!!

Oh, oh, oh…do some dynamic stretching beforehand! Stretch out those hamstrings and quads really well!

Without further ado:

A.) Full Squats: 6-8 reps x 5-6 sets  (75# and may drop 5-10# throughout) 30 sec rest

B.) Hex-Bar Deadlift (my very favorite contraption ever!!)  4-6 reps x 5-6 sets (150-160#) 30sec rest

C.) Dumbbell High Step-Ups (I use this one) 12-15 per leg x 4-5 sets (10-12#) 30-45sec rest

D.) Weighted Hip Thrusts: 12-15reps x 5-6 sets (30-35 #) 30 sec rest

E.) Cable Single Legged Kick-Backs: 12-15 reps per leg x 5-6 sets (30-40#) 30 sec rest

F.) Weighted 45¬į Back Extension: 10-12 reps x 4-5 sets (25# plate) 30 sec rest

G.) Weighted Hip Bridges 8-10 reps x 4 sets (40-45#) 30sec rest

F.) Hip Abduction “Bad Girl Machine”: 12-15 reps x 3 sets (50#) 30sec rest

Now that you’ve successfully completed this awesome workout, go dip your lower body into some iced water! just kiddin’.. No, but, seriously you should, if you’re brave enough, you’re gonna need it!

Ice bath or not, you should definitely foam roll soon after and about 4-5 hours after that. Foam roll, foam roll, foam roll.

p.s. Please don’t hate if you can’t sit on the toilet for the next 3 days

Mirla’s past was, What?.. covered in chocolate, potatoe chips and diet coke??

Let me tell you why I decided to start this new¬† blogging project…

I started working out not too long ago. Waaaa? Really?? Yes, really, it’s true, this year marked my two year anniversary of ever¬†lifting a dumbbell in my life. My best friend from high school can testify that I WAS the laziest person ever. I was so lazy that we would hang out in the living room instead of her room because she was on the 2nd floor and that meant climbing stairs… I know, I know, pathetic! I will confess that now that I look back on that memory, I can’t seem match those past¬†images with who I am now. In my mind, I feel like I’ve always been the way I am now. Well, anyhow, what I am getting at is we all have it in us to be fit. No matter what stage you are in life.
We all need that ‘fire’ to spark up our reasons to workout. I know this too well. Two years ago, I was going through a really rough patch in life. I was, among other things that I won’t bore you with,¬†was¬†overweight for my size–I’m tiny 5’1”, in a new state,¬†knowing no one, job-less and away from my family. I was so depressed.¬†¬†I ate a lot of junk food. Loved chips, drank Diet Coke, ate candy like no one’s business and refused to eat normal food. I felt like shit. I tried to eat salads or whatever ‘healthy’ foods I saw in the store, but it tasted all too bland for my palate. I would eat 1 meal and just couldn’t make myself to eat more of the same type of foods. It’s a hole that you just can’t seem to get out of. I would look up information on diets and workouts in magazines and on TV, but honestly it didn’t matter because even though I had a gym membership, I was too self-conscious to get myself there. I knew¬†I had to do something asap!
That’s when I started to do some yoga. I started with a Monday class. Keep in mind I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect, I set my mat toward the very back of the studio and just copied what everyone else was doing. And guess what?? I loved it. So I went back the next day, and the next, and the next. I followed that pattern for about 6 months, unfortunately,¬†I didn’t lose much¬†weight (~2 pounds), I just got more flexible, started to sleep¬† better, but most importantly I started to feel more comfortable in he gym setting. After yoga, I would head over to the dumbbell racks and grab a 10 pounder and do some bicep curls. When I felt someone looking at me, I would turn bright red and put the dumbbells away and leave. I then decided to hire a trainer. Money well invested! I learned all about healthy¬†eating habits, vitamins/supplementation and¬†proper form when exercising.
After about two months of eating clean, weight lifting 3x/week and doing HIIT’s (high intensity interval training) 2x/week. I made huge improvements in body composition. I fell in love with the idea of having the ability to make such changes in my body.
Having had said that, I¬†know the challenges that people who are trying to lose weight face everyday, It’s hard work, but you’ve got to search deep in you to find your reasons to make the necessary changes. Maybe it’s just for you? for health? for boyfriend/husband? for family? for _____________?
What ever it may be, I promise it’s all worth it. A month from today, you’ll be glad you ever started.
Until then, train smart y’all!