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Click here to see my 7 Point Plan To Fitness Success
Now the fun begins. You’ve looked at all your habits, saw places and way you could improve them, did a few reps of each exercise to see what you’re capable and you’ve started your journal. Now is the time for action. It’s time to put it all together and transform your life.
You are going to be on a three day cycle of workout. You can start with any day you’d like but for demonstration purposes we’ll start on Sunday. Each day you are going to do one of three different exercises. You can do them in any order but I prefer to do them in the order of push ups, sit ups and squats. In each seven day period you will do each exercise three days. Your schedule will look like this:
|Push ups||Sit up||Squats||Push ups||Sit ups||Squats||Push ups||Sit Ups||Squats|
So for example, your week of push ups goes from Sunday to Saturday, sit ups go from Monday to Sunday and Squats go from Tuesday to Monday.
When I first started this workout routine I had to find a way to form a habit. Simply saying that I would work out a little bit throughout the day wasn’t enough. I had tried that before and I would forget. So what I did was set up rooms as triggers. If I went in the kitchen I would drop down and do some push ups. You can decide for yourself whether or not you want to do your exercises in the kitchen or simply acknowledge that it’s time to do them once you go to the kitchen. You could really do them before or after going in the kitchen. And this is not to say you must set up the kitchen as your trigger.
In your trial phase you did a test to see how many of each exercise you could do. You are now going to do 70% of your total throughout the day. If you were able to do 10 push ups then do 7 every time you go in the kitchen. It is as simple as that. If you go in the kitchen 20 times then I would shoot for only four or five sets of seven when you’re starting out. Keep track in your journal and be sure to tell someone throughout the day. Keeping a journal and sharing your success socially are two of the most powerful things you can do. I dare to say that they’re as important, if not more important, that the physical act of exercising.
I work a full time job and shoot for doing the bulk of my exercising before work. I also try to get a set or two in during my eight hour shift and when I get home I try to do more. I find that spacing my workouts apart like that gives my muscles time to heal. Yes, they will be somewhat tired, but you will find you’re able to do more than if you did all your sets together.
If you have any questions at all please leave a comment below and I’ll help you out. Also, check out my Minimalist Workout Quick Start.
I didn’t realize it has been so long since I last wrote a blog post. I’ve been so busy with work lately. I’ve been working odd hours and not getting enough sleep. It’s been bad for my creativity and my writing. Sorry ’bout that! I plan to get back to it this weekend.
But let’s see what’s been going on in the life of Tim.
My shoulder is getting better daily. I’ve been doing a series of exercises three or four times a week. It’s helped a lot. I don’t feel any pain in my shoulder while doing routine movements. Once in a while I reach with my arm and push something and I can feel it but even then, the pain isn’t as bad as it once was. I haven’t tried doing any push ups but I don’t want to get back to it too soon.
How about that diet? It’s been going well. I’ve had some ups and downs and the boss ordered pizza for us one night. Being tired makes you want to eat more but I’ve tried to stick to good food that wouldn’t hurt me too badly. I ate a whole bag of almond slivers one night. I’ve gained about 1 pound so I’m not too broken up over it. It’ll be easy to drop again.
I was looking at my shoulders and they look small. I’m going to start doing some exercises that’ll pump up the deltoids a little. I think it’ll make my arms look good.
That is all for now. I’ll post more in the morning, and when I say morning, I mean probably early afternoon. Cuz that’s how I roll.
I’m kind of a hermit. I work, I sleep, I stay home. It isn’t a bad thing, I love my family and I love my job. I don’t really feel the need to get out a whole lot. Last year I was working mornings and would drive to work in the dark and work in a room where we could not see the outside. This year I work nights and sleep till noon. Not exactly good schedules for a person’s circadian rhythm. On top of that I keep the blinds closed all the time. I have the house locked down like Fort Knox. Yes, I’m a little strange in that regard.
A couple of weeks ago I was researching circadian rhythm and found that mine was off quite a bit. My peaks and valley’s weren’t high and low enough and they seemed to be out of sync with where they should be. This was causing me to feel like I was dragging throughout the day. The website I used to track my circadian rhythm suggested I get a Philips Go Light. These lights are designed to simulate sunlight, which your body needs. Typically people use these lights during the winter months when clouds often block out the sun.
So I’ve started opening my blinds and letting the sun in when I wake up. I’ve noticed a real different in the past couple of weeks. My mood is elevated and I don’t drink so much coffee anymore. While my sleep schedule isn’t what my body and mind would prefer, I’ve taken steps to alleviate the problems.
If you think you’re not getting enough sun in the morning, I would recommend you change that. Get up and eat breakfast in front of a window. Open the blinds and let the light in. Maybe even take a walk. If you simply cannot do this because you get up too early and the sun isn’t up then look in to purchasing a Philips Go Light. I’ve heard great things about them.
I realize this is an odd post for a blog called Minimalist Workout but I like to write about my life and pass along good advice that I’ve used to make my life better.
This past weekend I wrote about how I had purchased a blood glucose meter. A lot of people I know were confused about my intentions since I don’t have diabetes. While it is good to know what your blood sugar levels are so you know if you have diabetes or are hypoglycemic, I had other intentions. I wanted to see first hand how glucose levels affected weight gain or weight loss. In my experience, this is the key to being healthy. Here is a little of what I found.
I woke up Thursday morning of last week and checked my glucose reading. It had been 10 hours since my last meal and my glucose level was at 96. From what I understand, the idea level is between 70 and 130. Not bad. So I made myself a breakfast of 2 pieces of turkey bacon, 4 eggs and two big mushrooms. After two hours I took my glucose levels and I was at 89. This sounded great to me since I was between the ideal levels yet my blood glucose level had gone down. This is a typical breakfast for me whether I lose weight the next day or binge and gain. Logic would say that 89 is a great level for burning fat.
Later that day I had a BBQ with a friend of mine who was in town. He made hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and potato salad. I eat some of all of this. Not idea food for a diet. After eating all this I checked my blood glucose level (after waiting 2 hours) and my blood glucose level was at 111. My friend’s wife is a nurse. She said she was surprised that my levels weren’t higher and that I must have a pretty healthy pancreas. The pancreas will release insulin in response to elevated glucose levels. Of course I gained weight the next day. I wanted to use Thursday as a test day. I didn’t want to track the full day. I had planned on doing these tests all weekend but I got busy and had a couple of social events planned. I’ve decided to run my full test later this week and check my blood glucose levels on a diet day and a cheat day.
My friends and family still think I’m a little crazy but the proof is in the pudding. Eating high protein, low carb meals will keep your blood glucose levels low and cause you to lose weight naturally. Eating foods like bread, corn and potato salad will spike your blood sugar levels and cause you to build fat. Also, by raising your glucose levels too high for an extended period of time you run the risk of developing diabetes. Choose foods that are low-glycemic, provide a good source of protein and cut out processed foods and unnatural sugar. Your pancreas will thank you!
Click here to see my 7 Point Plan To Fitness Success
This phase is one of the most subjective phases in my 7 Point Plan. In fact, I may not be able to list all the ways in which you can accomplish this phase but this is something that is very important for so many reasons.
When I started this blog in late May 2012 I did so with the intention of using it to track my workouts. I figured eventually people would read it so I made my posts narrative. This is mostly because I love writing. I like to share my experiences with other people. A blog may not be for everyone. Regardless of whether you start a blog or choose some other method of tracking your workouts you want to think about a couple of different things while you’re writing.
The first thing you want to do is write down how many reps you did and how many sets of each rep. A rep, or repetition, is you doing the exercise one time. So for example, one push up, one sit up or one squat. A set is a group of reps. So if you drop down and do 5 push ups before getting up, that is one set of 5 reps. Throughout the day you may do 4 or 5 (or more) sets of 5 reps. Track them all and write the total at the end. If you do 4 sets of 5 reps then write your total (20) at the end of your journal entry.
The journal phase will continue for the duration of your journey. It will overlap with the action phase and will drive the success phase. You will refer back to your previous entries in order to see how far you’ve come. Most people have fitness goals that seem so far away. Using a journal to track your short term successes is one of the best ways, I’ve found, to stay motivated to keep going. Celebrating your short term successes also makes you feel good about what you’re doing and moves you closer to self-efficacy.
Here is a quick list of ways you can use to journal:
- Start a blog! Some good places are WordPress, Blogger or LiveJournal
- Pen and a notebook!
- Excel or Google Docs Spreadsheet.
- Just write it on your calendar.
- Make up your own method!
This phase is really up to you but you should be doing it daily (even if you write in that you did a rest day) and should include what you did and how many of it. Whatever way works best for you is the way you should do it.
Sometimes I wonder if I should still be writing about my Minimalist Workout. I suppose I touch on it from time to time but most of my posts are about my own health experiments that do not have to do with push ups, sit ups and squats.
When I first started I didn’t have a lot of readers. In fact, I didn’t post my blog posts anywhere for the first week despite the WordPress community picking up on my posts and reblogging. It wasn’t until this happened that I decided to start putting my posts out there.
I now have 70 followers and a lot more visitors each day and I feel like I should go back and talk about how I got to where I am today.
I started with an idea in late May. An idea that I could do a minimal amount of workouts and gain strength and be in better shape as a result. The plan was simple, I could do 9 or 10 push ups, about the same amount of sit ups and squats so I would do 5 reps of each, multiple times per day and add a little bit each week. I quickly discovered that I was adding a lot each week. In fact, I went from 20 push ups to 200 in a day in under two months. If that isn’t proof that my concept worked then I don’t know what is.
My point here isn’t to brag. My point is to prove something that I have said numerous times in past posts. No matter what you do, no matter how little you feel it is, if you get up off the couch and do something, you will always benefit.
Too many people out there feel that you cannot benefit from a workout program unless you’re killing yourself for an hour each day. This simply is not true. In fact, you do not have to fully exhaust a muscle to see a benefit from it. Also, whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up to you, but I did not bulk up from this. I simply got stronger in so many ways. I see muscles and definition but not bulk.
Never let anyone tell you that you’re not doing enough. Get up and do something, anything and do a little more next week. Eventually you’ll feel strange when you’re not doing anything. It’s a great feeling.
Something I’ve been wanting to do for a while is get a blood glucose meter and see first hand how different foods affect blood glucose levels. Well I finally got one, or rather my wife was nice enough to buy one while she was out, much to my delight! I’ve got 25 test strips and plan on poking myself this weekend after eating certain foods. I also plan to drink water with lemon in it to see how glucose levels are affected as well as eat cinnamon.
Many people who I’ve told about this test have asked me why blood glucose levels matter if I’m not diabetic. Many people do not understand the relationship between blood glucose levels and weight gain or weight loss.
Glucose is a carbohydrate that enters your blood stream after foods are broken down in the intestines. It provides energy to cells. A certain amount of glucose is needed but too much can cause fat production, a sugar high and too much insulin secretion. Eating poor foods can lead to diabetes. I have long followed the rule that if you control your glucose and insulin secretion then you in turn control your body.
Now I want to chart my blood glucose levels. I want to see if cinnamon has a big effect on them. I want to see if different foods cause my blood sugar levels to react in different ways. I am doing this because I’m writing a book about health and fitness. Self experimentation is the key to this book and now I’m embarking on a new experiment.
I have one other experiment that is waiting in the wings. I’ll run it by you and we’ll put it to a vote to see if you think I should do it. I’ve experimented with ice therapy but I want to really see it in action. I was considering cutting myself in two places. Somewhere where I wont hurt myself too bad, maybe my knee caps. One side I would ice and the other I would let heal on it’s own. I would be interested to see which heals faster. Is this even a possibility? I’ve used ice to recover from a hard workout but not a physical laceration. I’ve only read about people who claim ice heals wounds.
Big I digress. This weekend it’s all about the blood glucose levels and I’ll report them back to you when I have some data.
Click here to see my 7 Point Plan To Fitness Success
The core of the Minimalist Workout by Tim revolves around three different exercises that will be done on three separate days. My 7 Point Plan To Fitness Success does not require you to follow this plan but I will be writing as if you are. If you are following a different workout plan and need help finding a way to tailor it to what I’ve said here then please leave me a comment in the comment box below.
This is a fast and easy phase. The point of this trial is to see what you’re capable of as well as give you a starting point for tracking your progress and success. While the point of this test isn’t to start building muscle it will start your muscle building. My belief is that anything you do, as long as you’re getting up and doing something, makes you successful.
Push Ups are tricky. Everyone is at a different place as far as push ups are concerned. I know people who are in fairly good shape but are unable to do a push up. If this is true in your case, there are ways to make push ups easier. I would ask first, do you think you can do push ups on your knees? It is important to note that although you are not doing them on your toes, you do need to keep your body straight during the exercise. If you start with good habit, even if they cause you to do less of an exercise, you’ll be better off in the long run. If you do not think you can do a proper knee push up then you should do wall push ups.
Whatever your level, now is the time to test yourself and see how many you can do. I don’t want you to do them only until you start to doubt you can do more. Challenge yourself. It’ll hurt only for a minute, 90 seconds tops, I promise. Complete the set until you’ve fully exhausted your muscles. On my first push ups test I was able to do 7 push ups on my knees. This became my starting point.
There are different schools of thought on sit ups. Some people believe you should put your feet under something like a chair or have someone stand on your feet while you do them. There are others, with research to back their claim, that you should have someone hold your legs from below. The train of though on that is that you’re pushing down with your legs which puts your body in the proper position to work your muscles in more correct ways.
I didn’t have anyone to hold my calf muscles for me so I wedge my feet under my couch or recliner. You should strive to keep your back as straight as possible and do not pull your head with your hands. If fact, I hold my arms to the side and clench my fists when I do sit ups.
Now you will see how many sit ups you can do. I did 5 on my first attempt. I know of people who started with 1. Don’t worry, you’ll increase this number over time. Make sure you exhaust your muscles. Once you feel the burn you’re done.
Squats gave me the biggest challenge when I first started. Click here for a great video on how to do a proper squat. I’ll also include that if you have trouble with squats you should place a chair behind you and sit on it briefly before standing back up.
I was able to do 5 squats my first attempt. I am quite animated when I do squats. I try to keep myself in the proper alignment but I swing my arms forward for balance when I go down and then clench my fists, abs and glutes as I come back up. It gives me a very powerful squat in the end.
You may find that your legs are burning pretty quickly. You do not want to push yourself too hard on squats. Do your set until your legs start to burn but do not go any further than that. You don’t want to risk injury.
Take A Couple Days To Rest
Now that you’ve pushed yourself to the limits you want to take a couple of days to let your muscles rest up. Drink plenty of water and stretch after your trial session. You do not want to wake up sore tomorrow. Write down how many reps you did of each set and set it aside. I’m going to explain in the Action Phase that you should shoot for 70% of your total reps in each set you do during that phase. Don’t worry if you only did 1 or 2 reps in a set. I’ll cover all that later. For now, take two days to let your muscles rest. Why two days? Because my minimalist workout plan builds two rest days between days of each workout. This goes against most traditional wisdom of one day of rest between workouts but there are a lot of people who have proven that it is more effective to leave yourself two days of rest.