Friday, February 12, 2016

HIIT It All

My legs and back are recovering from a heavy workout yesterday, so I took some time to put together a few more workouts for the coming weeks. Here's one that I think will offer a good challenge. 


I'm calling this one "HIIT It All", since it uses High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and it's aimed at hitting a little bit of every major muscle group. This one's a little less cardio-focused than some HIIT workouts, but I have a feeling it will still feel like cardio by the end.

HIIT It All uses Tabata-style training, with alternating sets of full-on effort and rest. The Tabata workout traditionally uses 20 seconds of active work followed by 10 seconds of rest. HIIT It All however uses the following sequence:

- 1 superset of "40 seconds on, 30 seconds off" for 2 exercises
- 2 supersets of "30 seconds on, 20 seconds off" for 2 exercises
- 3 supersets of "20 seconds on, 10 seconds off" for 6 exercises
- 2 supersets of "30 seconds on, 20 seconds off" for 2 exercises
- 1 superset of "40 seconds on, 30 seconds off" for 2 exercises
-after each group of supersets, take an extra minute of break time to setup for the next superset

Here's a table showing the overall setup. Of course, there are all kinds of exercises that could be used in a workout like this, but I threw some together that seemed to jive with the goal of doing a whole-body HIIT:

Total Supersets
Time
Exercise
Notes
Total Time (Cumulative)
1x
0:40
Push-ups + Knee Tucks
Follow each push-up with a knee tuck.
3:40
(3:40)
0:30
Rest

0:40
Pull-ups + Knee Raises
Follow each pull-up with 3 knee raises (add kipping only if needed)
0:30
Rest
 Add 1:00 to last set
2x
0:30
Plank w/ Arm Lifts
Alternating raises of arms in front
4:20
(8:00)
0:20
Rest

0:30
Sumo Deadlift
 Add calf-raises in the second set
0:20
Rest
 Add 1:00 to last set
3x
0:20
HSPU
Hands-stand pushups (add kipping only if needed)
10:00
(18:00)
0:10
Rest

0:20
Cross Crawl
a.k.a. Bicycle Crunches
0:10
Rest

0:20
Band Pulls
 Use heavy resistance band; pull down from above (a.k.a. band lat. pull-down)
0:10
Rest

0:20
Side-to-Side Hops with Knee Raises
Leap from left to right and then bring up left knee into a tuck and then alternate 
0:10
Rest

0:20
Dips + Kicks
Dips with knees bent; at the bottom of each dip do a front kick with one foot. 
0:10
Rest

0:20
Reverse Crunches
Legs as straight as possible
0:10
Rest
 Add 1:00 to last set
2x
0:30
Dumbbell Side Plank
Change sides on second set
4:20
(22:20)
0:20
Rest

0:30
Goblet Squats
 Add calf-raises in the second set
0:20
Rest
 Add 1:00 to last set
1x
0:40
Curl into Shoulder Press

2:40
(25:00)
0:30
Rest

0:40
Farmer's Carry

0:30
Deep Horse Stance Hold
Just to finish it out strong 

I think the weight load for a workout like this should be pretty low (since all of the breaks are short). I'll probably use 62 lb. kettlebells for the squats and farmer's carry, 10 or 15 pound dumbbells for the side planks, and 25 lb. dumbbells for the curling exercise.

Let me know what you think (or if you have questions). 

This is me today


Did a double workout day yesterday. 

We hit the gym in the morning for deadlifts and seated rows followed by a metcon with TRX inverted rows and medicine ball work. We finished it off with a 2 km row on the rowing machines. 

Then I decided it would be fun to follow a heavy deadlift day with an evening run with a friend. We only ran about 5 miles, but I still got some blisters on my feet (probably time for new running shoes).

Today my everything hurts. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

There's a lot of food in the U.S., but that doesn't mean we need to eat all the time


The United States of America is a nation where food is plentiful for most people. 

Although we waste a surprisingly large amount of food, and there are certainly Americans who know the pain of starvation (a USDA report on Household Food Security reported that 14% of American households were considered "food insecure" in 2014), most Americans have enough food around to not only eat but to overeat as well (roughly one-third of American adults were considered obese in 2011-2012). 

It's honestly saddening how often we take the abundance of food for granted and fill ourselves until we feel like garbage. Like Louis C.K. has said, "I don't eat until I'm full, I eat until I hate myself.



Just as Aristotle espoused that there is virtue in finding a happy medium between extremes in lifestyle (don't be too active, but don't be too lazy; don't be too proud of yourself, but don't entirely debase yourself; etc.), there is certainly a state of moderation in our caloric intake that is good for us. We need a certain amount of calories to stay alive, but sometimes it's fun to eat more than that in a day. However, it seems like we should be balancing out the heavy eating days with some light eating days. It was thinking about that in the first place that led me to intermittent fasting a few years ago.


Intermittent fasting is a form of fasting where you cycle between periods of fasting and non-fasting. You can still go high calorie on a day of an intermittent fast, but I've personally found it harder to overeat while intermittently fasting.

I've been trying different forms of intermittent fasting, to see what works well for me. I've enjoyed the "6 on, 18 off" approach (eating all of my meals in a 6 hour period and then fasting for 18 hours), though now I'm trying trying 24 hour fasts once each week. I'm doing a total fast (water only) once each month, and then the other three weeks I just stay low calorie during a 24 hour period.

I've heard people who claim that fasting is bad for you or who ask "why would you want to do that", but there are some potentially great health benefits to fasting. For instance, Kris Gunnars wrote a post for Authority Nutrition entitled "10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting" where he reports the take-home points for almost 4 dozen peer-reviewed research articles showing potential benefits of fasting in various ways.

However, the main reason I'm using intermittent fasting has more to do with having control over myself. It's a fun mental challenge to push your body into a state of fasting and to have control over the process. I've found it to be a stimulating exercise, as well as a good way to control my caloric intake. Living in a land of plenty, it's refreshing to abstain, just a bit. As I mentioned above, there's lots of food in the U.S. and most people do not have to worry about getting their calories for the day. However, I think if more of us were conscious of how much we eat and when we eat, we might be better at controlling what we eat. Just some food for thought.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Goodbye, Edgar Mitchell

Edgar Mitchell, a navy pilot and Apollo 14 astronaut, passed away this week at the age of 85. Mitchell was the 6th human being to walk on the surface of the Moon, spending more than nine hours in the Fra Mauro Highlands region. 

Mitchell spent much of his later life claiming that alien visitation was a real thing and that the governments of the world were testing on alien crafts and biology. Although his views became questionable, it's still important to look back on the life of one of the small group of people who have walked on another planetary surface beyond Earth. Also, in this time of remembrance of Mitchell, I think all of us still get a good laugh out of what is likely the most remembered thing he ever said. In considering the view of Earth from space, specifically looking at the world as a whole from the Moon, Edgar made this globally-conscious and humorous suggestion:


Thursday, February 4, 2016

"The Present", a short film by Jacob Frey

This short, animated film has been popping around the interwebs. It was directed and animated by Jacob Frey and developed with several others as a thesis project at the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg in Ludwigsburg, Germany. 

When we first started watching it we were pretty angry at the kid who gets this new present. The child in question, who appears entranced in his video game, at first treats his present poorly due to something missing. Then, we find out why. A well done animation with an awesome point.

Check it out:


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

See You Speak Toastmasters - Balance



Tonight's meeting of See You Speak Toastmasters will focus on the theme of "Balance". I'll be talking about using exercises to find physical balance as well as using meditation to find mental balance, but, most importantly for public speaking, I'll also be talking about finding balance in our speaking.

For instance, some filler words (like 'ah' and 'um') will not destroy your message, but too many of them most certainly will. Also, variations in intonation and pitch in your voice, gives your speech a balanced dynamic. Just the same goes for using variations in the tempo (or timing) of your delivery. There's a lot of balance to be found in our speaking.

For tonight's meeting, I'll share this quote from a great speaker:

“What is joy without sorrow? 
What is success without failure? 
What is a win without a loss? 
What is health without illness? 
You have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. There is always going to be suffering. 
It’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, 
That will define you.” 

Mark Twain


Monday, January 25, 2016

Do It Today!

...But also do it tomorrow.


There's a pretty famous quote that goes, "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today". There are plenty of variations of that quote, and an internet search will reveal lots of possible authors (including Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, though Philip Stanhope appears to be the oldest possible source).

I'm feeling pretty motivated today. Definitely a good day to get things done. However, tomorrow's going to have to be a day for getting things done as well. And, probably the day after that...

My motivation for today is to remember to get things done every day but to also reward myself after those accomplishments with some down time. After I read a research article today, I'll reward myself with a chapter from a Harry Potter book. After I revise the current draft of my research article for the day, I will reward myself with a television show.

How do you manage to keep yourself motivated?