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This is a great demo on an exceptionally simple (but not EASY) movement. I love this exercise so much, I may be adding M-balls to my home gym sooner than later. Thanks for sharing, LJay!
~Aj

L-Jay Health

 

Wall Balls are a conditioning tool and can be a very effective workout that uses predominantly all of the leg muscles, core, and arms. Wall balls are performed alot in Crossfit workouts but anyone of any fitness level can perform these.  If you are looking to see some fitness results wall balls are the way to go. After performing about 6-10 wall balls you will begin to feel the burn and heart rate increase.

I usually do  4 rounds of 25 wall balls (100 total) with a 20lb ball for a really good workout.If you are a new to wall balls start off with a light ball around 5-10lbs and work your way up as you get stronger and more efficient.

Beginner= 4 rounds of 5 wall balls (1 minute rest) 

Intermediate=4 rounds of 10 wall balls (30-45 sec rest)

Advanced= 4 rounds of 25 (30 second rest) 

As…

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Forever Friday

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Hi, everyone. I hope this little update finds you healthy and happy.

As I said on Wednesday, my leave of absence from work began, officially, Wednesday evening. For the next couple weeks, every day is a Friday. Sweet!

Since publishing my first article here on Aj’s Focus on Fitness this past May, I’ve not missed a single scheduled post. That’s an achievement worth celebrating!

Writing brings me a great deal of satisfaction. Whether it’s fiction, history, training guides, or–of course–fitness and health, I love to write. This blog has been a very enjoyable outlet for that passion. And if even one reader benefits personally by something I’ve written, Focus shall be a huge success.

To all my friends and family: You all inspire me so very much. Thank you for reading and supporting this blog!

Today I rest, recharge and refocus. I hope you all get time to do so yourself soon. Until next week…

Warmest Regards,
~Aj


Six-Pack Abs, Anyone?

I work ’em all the time. So where are they?
Please pass the ketchup…

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According to Beachbody Coach, Bryan Akers, there are at least three fallacies regarding that sought after (and often elusive) washboard stomach. Here’s what he shared via Fitness.com last July:

Myth 1.You need to do a lot of ab exercises. The reason this is a myth is because you can get away with doing a relatively few ab exercises and still see massive results. My abdominal exercises at the most last 25 minutes (but most lasting around 15 minutes) and I see tremendous results.

Myth 2. You need to do ab exercises everyday. False. Abs do not need to be worked any more than any other part of the body. You don’t do chest and back exercises everyday do you? You don’t do quad and hamstring exercises everyday do you? Then you shouldn’t do ab exercises everyday either—it results in overtraining. Your muscles (even your abs) need time to recuperate and grow. The most I train my abs is three days a week after my strength training workouts.

Myth 3. The ab crunch is still the best ab exercise. The reason this is false is because there are so many other exercises out there that can do the job! I’ve done complete ab workouts that don’t include a single crunch—it’s all done either standing up or sitting on a mat—and it works your abs like crazy.

That’s great info and not, to my knowledge, incorrect. But here’s what bothers me about Bryan’s article. It’s missing two key statements:

1. What you eat matters.
2. How much bodyfat you carry matters.

In fact, those really are the most important factors, in my opinion. Take my 11 year-old son, for example. The kid rarely does abdominal or other core-centric exercises, yet he has a fairly well-defined six pack. Why? Because, in addition to Tae Kwon Do, his diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and water. Add to that, the kid eats slower than anyone I’ve ever known. Well…my grandad ate pretty slowly, but I always chalked that up to his living through the Great Depression and the Battle of the Bulge (such experiences tend to affect one’s appreciation for certain things, I suppose). Regardless, my son is lean; so his stomach muscles are visible. Simple.

To be fair, that info may be available in Bryan Akers’ Free 65 Page Report!, but I’m not inclined to search for it in order to find out. Half way through my 30s, I’m not sporting a six pack. Could I? You bet. Would I like to? Why not? Is it critical? Nope. Unless I decide to become an underwear model…but I won’t. All that really matters is that your core is strong, and you are in good health.

TODAY’S LESSON: New acquaintances can refresh stale thinking…

I met a gentlemen at work today named “Bob.” As almost all guys do when meeting another male for the first time, I sized him up (seriously–it’s natural. If a guy denies this, he’s denying his place in the animal kingdom). Bob seems pretty darned fit, and unless I’m up for a real challenge, I don’t think I’d ask him into the ring.

Thing is–like me, Bob’s no spring chicken. In fact, he’s a few years older than me. Come to find out, Bob is breaking into the health and fitness industry. He seems to really own the whole healthy living subject. So I listened to him. Man I’m glad I did!

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Bob shared some great ideas with me, but one was particularly great. It went like this:

If a person has a bit of unwanted fat, that’s not necessarily a big deal. What’s important is how they feel from day to day in contrast to how they want to feel from day to day. The rest is kind of inconsequential.

Of course Bob’s statements are true and nothing I didn’t already know, but it sure was refreshing to hear another fitness enthusiast say all that with such conviction. When I hit my 40s, I want to be in the best shape of my life. When I hit my 50s, I want to surprise people when I tell them my age. When I hit my 60s, I want to inspire people young and old. When I hit my 70s and (God willing) beyond, I want my doctor asking me for lifestyle advice.

So where are you in the fitness spectrum?

– Are you extremely overweight or underweight (both are equally problematic)?
– Are you in good health or excellent health?
– Are you that guy or gal that inspires others to get fit?

Where ever you fall within that admittedly narrow spectrum, what is your plan to improve or maintain your health profile? Mine begins with that much-needed vacation I mentioned in Monday’s post. I’m sticking to my P90X challenge throughout, but I’ll delay no further. My holiday begins in T minus….

Warmest Regards,
~Aj

Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Friday Wrap-Up No. 5

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Not much of a wrap-up this week, folks. I only have a few points to cover plus one kickin’ hockey movie recommendation (no kids for this movie…unless they’re Minnesotan like me).

So this week we discussed stress and juicing. Not that kind of juicing. The real and healthy kind involving pressed veggies and fruits. Do it! That is…juice the heck out of those fruits and veggies at least once a day for a power-packed workout. Too easy (and cheap!). Seriously. Try it for a week, and see if you still need those caffein-packed pre-workouts. I am hooked!

Resetting the Baseline…

I started P90X this week with my daughter. I’m a pretty athletic individual, as is my princess. Sometimes, though, she and I suffer from the inability to stand still. Yoga falls into that category. P90-YogaX, however, turned out to be different…way different. I’m using the P90 system to, as my friend Rick put it, reset my baseline. Well said!

Cost of my relationship with her: priceless! Cost of P90X: whatever…

Thanks to some inspiration from another friend, Mike B., I killed all 90 minutes of YogaX last night. Here’s the thing. I don’t need a program like P90X to get in shape. I’m already doing pretty well next to most average Americans (Mr. Horton…you are not average). What I’ve gained from the past week, though (beyond physical gains), is something very personal: a closer connection to myself and to my daughter.

In reading another fit dad’s blog this week, I reflected on the importance of inspiration and learning from others as we learn, ourselves, to lead the way. Scott…you are an inspiration. Do not give up on your goals, sir.

Movie Time…

Goon with Sean Michael Scott and Liev Schreiber (available on Netflix), is a terrible movie…to watch with your kids or without a close friend who is either from Canada or from Southern Canada –a.k.a. Minnesota.

The movie was chalk full of four-letter tirades, but the underlying theme was awesome. Bottom line: perseverance and indomitable spirit always win the day. If you’ve served a day or more in the military and/or grew up playing hockey, this movie will resonate with you. Think Slap Shot with heart.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Warmest Regards,
~Aj

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


New Week – New Goals

Well, folks, it’s a brand new week, and I’m ready to take on some new challenges. If you read the wrap-up last Friday, you know that the focus this week is on setting a couple mid-term fitness and nutrition goals.

When we set mid-term goals, the idea is to take on some of those goals that take a little longer than a couple weeks, but that are not quite on the three months or more scale (long-term goals).

Of course, just because the name has changed, the rules for goal setting haven’t changed a bit. Let’s recap:

Any goals you set should be realistic, attainable, and (pay attention) measurable.

Gut check!

Think back on your seven goals for last week. Did you attain any of them? If so, how did you measure your achievements? If it was weight loss, that might have been pretty easy to figure out. Just set a number, do some homework, and do what it takes to reach that number. If it was to drop inches, though, that might have been a bit more tricky, since the timeline was so short (tougher to measure in the short-term).

This week is an opportunity to get a good snapshot of your long-term progress before you even get to those end goals. If you want to grow your chest a few inches by September, for example, you’ll have trouble measuring significant progress after just a week or two. Give yourself three weeks, though, and you should see some real, measurable changes. Perhaps that would be the goal:

I want to record a positive change in my chest measurement by 16 July. Any measurable growth will do!

Don’t overdo it!

Be careful not to set more than two or three of these mid-term goals. Setting more than that may overwhelm and then discourage you where the intent is to encourage you.

So, in keeping with the goals we set last week, we want these mid-term goals to link back to our long-term goals. Here’s what I shared:

The Bigger Picture:

  1. I want my current 27 min 5K to be an easy 24 min by September
  2. I want my bench, squat and dead lift sets to go up by 20 lbs each in the next 30 days
  3. I want to get back on a regular sleep schedule by the end of the month
  4. I want to reduce stress for the long-term
  5. I want to drop my BMI by at 5% by September
  6. I want to improve my flexibility and reduce potential for injury
  7. I want to be working in the fitness industry full-time within the next 5-10 years

Obviously it will be tough to measure progress toward no. 7 on that list given just a few weeks. The others, though…sure!

But which goals do I focus on?

Whichever is most important to you and for which progress toward it can be sufficiently measured. For me, given the long-term goals listed above, I’m going to focus on running my 5K a couple minutes faster by 16 July, and dropping 5 lbs in the same amount of time.

That’s it. Too easy.

In closing:

Get going on your goals. Share them with someone you trust and who tends to have a positive outlook on life. We’ll check in with one another on Wednesday. Until then…

Warmest Regards,
~Aj


Friday Wrap-Up No. 3

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Happy Friday, folks. I hope you’re still tracking and making progress toward those seven goals for the week!

As for me, it never ceases to amaze me just how successful we can be when our minds are focused on specific goals. My progress this week has been astounding! And I’m not just trying to motivate myself to keep it up over the weekend ahead.

One of my goals for this week was to find a new gym routine and stick with it. I’ve been weight training in earnest for over two years now. The routines I’ve followed have mostly been my own.

Remember, over the course of nearly 20 years, I’ve built up my fitness experience and knowledge base. But that doesn’t always translate to best practices.

So after making good on my goal to grab a new routine (that 5-day split discussed on Wednesday), I was admittedly a bit reluctant to take it all the way.

But I did take it all the way, and I’ve got to say, it’s been a real eye opener!

Less is more…

As it turns out, less really can be more.

My typical workout takes me about 45-60 minutes, though I’ve been known to spend upwards of 90 min in there if I throw in a 3 mi run on top of it all.

The touted success behind this routine hinges on the concept of focused output in three ranges: power, muscle, and burn. Here are my notes from yesterday’s workout:

Quads and Calves
Start: 15:50
Finish: 16:20

Quads
Exercise
Squat – Power Sets: 2-4 Reps: 3-5
(180×5) 1 min rest
(180×5) 1 min rest
(180×5) 1 min rest
(180×5) 2 min rest
* Smith machine- 90 lbs per side

Leg Press – Muscle Sets: 2-3 Reps: 6 to 12
(270×12) 2.5 min
(360×8) 1.5 min
(360×8)
* Solid set at 360 (4 plates/side)

Front Squat – Muscle Sets: 2-3 Reps: 6-12
(90×5) 1.5 min
(90×6) 1 min
(90×6)
* smith- 45lb per side

Leg Press – Burn Sets: 1 Reps: 40
(210×12 — 190x8x8x4x4x4) = 40 reps

Calves
Exercise
Seated Calf Raise – Muscle Sets: 2 Reps: 10-15
(50×14) 1 min
(50×14)

45 Degree Calf Raise – Burn Sets: 1 Reps: 40
(90x24x3x3x4x3x1) = 40 reps
* mega burn!

So you can see how it works. I probably could (perhaps should) have given closer to 2 minutes between sets…at least for those heavier, power sets. In all, it took me just 30 minutes to complete the entire workout.

What happened to my legs?!

I awoke this morning with LLS, or lead legs syndrome, with yesterday’s quick but intense leg workout nearly lost from my short-term memory bank (doesn’t take much). Obviously there is something to be said for this 5-day split. I am very grateful that I made good on this specific goal. It’s just what my body needed!

Next week…

We’ll set some more goals on Monday. This time, though, let’s narrow it down to just two or three objectives that may take more than a week (but no more than two) to reach. I thrive on shared goal setting, so please start thinking about your goals now. Until then…

Warmest Regards,
~Aj

Photos courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Friday Fitness Wrap-up No. 2

Happy Friday once again, everyone. I hope you’ve got plenty of positive, enjoyable activities planned for the weekend. If you’re like me, here’s to the thrill of surprise (I rarely plan out my weekends).

So, this week we covered a lot regarding workout nutrition, but I really don’t feel I went deeply enough into why certain foods are good for pre- and post-workout energy sources. So I’ve promised myself to cover more of that in the coming weeks. And on that note…

HOT! Publication Schedule Change

Now that my new blog is almost a month old, and I’ve now posted 22 articles on fitness and nutrition, I think it would be appropriate to change up the publication schedule a bit.

Starting next week, I will only put out 3 posts per week. Here’s what I’ve got in mind:

Monday: Introduce the primary focus and offer challenges for folks to undertake over the course of the week.

Wednesday: Review of the challenges, where I’m at with them (it’s a team effort after all), and any helpful articles or resources I may be able to share.

Friday: I really like the Fitness Friday Wrap-up meme, so I’m going to stick with it. It’s a great opportunity to discuss successes, failures, and to offer up some motivation for the weekend.

So, that’s it for this wrap-up, and I hope that, if you enjoy this blog, you’ll spread the word; especially if you find it at all helpful in motivating you to pursue and achieve your own fitness and healthy living goals.

Until Monday

~Aj