Saturday, June 27, 2009

The importance of your Lower Back for getting Ripped

This posting is going to be one that is more 'Do as I say, and not as I did.' Obviously in order to get six pack abs and to get ripped you need to eat correctly and exercise. BUT when you are exercising you have to make sure that you use the correct form and use a weight that will allow you to perform the exercise with correct form. Otherwise you can strain your lower back or other body parts.

I realize this is a woman's lower back. But would you rather look at this or a man's bottom??

So what did I do? I strained my lower back and most likely put myself out of commission for a week. I broke both of my rules above and while performing Good Mornings in a barbell circuit used too heavy of a weight and must have used horrible form.

I did this Wednesday and my lower back just felt a little tight that night. I than went to try and do my normal workout on Friday and felt a pain after finishing my squats.

My Plan Going Forward:

1. Rest. Since I was entering my last week of TT Hardcore Fat Loss I will take this week off to recover. However, I do not plan to just sit on the couch, so I still plan to keep on working even if it is very moderate. To start, I will be taking my son and dog on long walks each day since walking does not bother my back.

2. Body-Weight Exercises. Once my back starts feeling better (I'm hoping next Wed) than I hope to start doing light body weight exercises. I plan to progressively do more BW exercises until the week of July 6, as I strengthen the back again.

3. The Elliptical. Yes, I know this machine really sucks, but guess what? Its very low impact which will be perfect for my back. Although the intensity will not be the same, I can still do my HIIT on the Elliptical after my BW workouts.

4. Eat Right. I know I've been eating pretty well lately, but my goal for the next week will to have an almost perfect diet since I will not be working out as hard. I know a lot of people would see this as a huge setback and give up and head to Wendy's. Not me. I'm looking at this as a week of rest before heading into the last month of TT Transformation Contest 5. I will most likely do Eat-Stop-Eat twice this week.

Although I know I will most likely not make any progress towards my goal of getting ripped 6 pack abs, I do not want to go backwards either. I think this plan will allow me to accomplish this and start TT Buff Dudes - Hot Chicks workout for the week of July 6th.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sit-Ups are NOT Needed for 6 Pack Abs!! Part II

I wanted to keep on discussing exercises that I do to isolate my abs that DO NOT include sit-ups or crunches. Yesterday I discussed the Plank and Side Plank. Honestly, I think that if you did multi-compound exercises (ie. squats and dead lifts) and did these to exercises that you would be set. Of course you also need to have the right diet in order to get ripped and see your abs. Both of these exercises will require a stability ball.

Stability Ball Roll-Out

Kneeling (preferably on an exercise mat) in an upright position you want to place both hands on the equator of the stability ball. Keeping your abs braced you are going to roll out so that your abs are stretched (at the end of the stretch you should have moved most of your upper body weight onto the ball). Then you will slowly roll the ball back towards you and end up in the starting position. Once you get the hang of this exercise with a ball, then you could do the same exercise with an ab wheel, which will make this exercise a bit harder.

Stability Ball Jack-Knife

This exercise requires a stability ball and a bench. Put your elbows on the bench and your feet on the ball, almost like the position for a Plank. You want to brace your abs and roll the ball so that your knees come up to your chest. You would roll the ball back to the starting position to complete the repetition.


Below is a video of Craig Ballantyne, who is the creator of Turbulence Training. Craig shows how to do each of the exercises above properly. As an added bonus at the end of the video Craig shows an advanced version of the Plank. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sit-Ups are NOT Needed for 6 Pack Abs!!

I was at the gym during lunch today and I noticed one of the trainers going through his 'ab day' exercises. He was doing hundreds of sit-ups! I had to laugh because even I know that sit-ups/crunches are not the best way to work your abs. Considering this guy is a certified trainer who probably charges $40-50 an hour, I would think that he would know that too!

The best way to work your abs is through doing multi-compound exercises in which you need to stabilize your core. The 2 best are squats and deadlifts, but there are plenty others too. BUT if you are looking to isolate your abs try these exercises first:

The Plank

The plank is a great way to work your abs and is one of my favorites! Please see the video below to see how to properly do this exercise:

Once you can work your way to holding the Plank (using proper form) for 2 minutes than you can add a stability ball to make it harder. The only difference between the standard plank and the plank with the stabilty ball is that you have your elbows on the ball and not on the floor.

The Side Plank

The Side Plank is an alternate version of the plank that works the abs and obliques. Please see the video below to see how to correctly perform the exercise.

Once you can do a Side Plank for 60-90 seconds you can make this exercise a little more advanced too. First you can try to do leg raises with your top leg while you are in the plank. You can also take a dumb-bell (use a very light weight) and do lateral shoulder raises.

There are many other ab exercises you can do that are not sit-ups/crunches that I will go into in later posts. Please let me know if you have any questions on the Planks. Enjoy!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Hi all,

I just wanted wish everyone a Happy Father's Day! I also have one great health tip for the day too!

If your father is like mine, he loves to golf. Take him our for 18 holes, but be sure to leave the cart behind! Not only will walking be great exercise for the both of you, but think of all the awesome conversations you can have with him while you walk. I'm willing to bet that you can find out some cool stories and learn something new about your dad while burning a few calories.

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Music & 6 Pack Abs

From the title of this post, you are probably thinking; "What does music have to do with finally getting 6 Pack Abs?" Well it may have nothing to do with your journey, but it plays a very big role in my journey to getting lean and finally seeing my 6 pack.

I committed one of the biggest workout sins today!! I went to the gym today and forgot my IPod!

My IPod is like my lifeline when I workout for a couple of reasons:

1. The music my gym plays over their speakers stinks!

2. If people come up to talk to me when I am exercising, I 'pretend' that I do not hear them because of my headphones. I know this sounds mean, but in order for my Turbulence Training workouts to be effective, I need to keep my rest period short. I can not do that if I am talking to others between sets. This also works the opposite way too. If you are done with your workout and want to know what the fools doing hours of boring cardio are talking about then shut your IPod off, but leave your headphones on. They will think you're consumed in music and continue their conversation!

3. It helps my tempo when lifting weights. I love to listen to hard rock when I lift (AC/DC, Guns N'Roses, etc.) and the drum beats are very easy to count and use the tempo to lower the weights.

4. Ever get to the set or exercise in your workout when you are just too tired to go on or maybe only feel like doing half the set? Well this is the point where you can really change your body if you push through and complete that final set or exercise.

I have a 'go to' song on my IPod that really gets me pumped up and gives me the energy I need to complete that last set or exercise. I've used this song since high school baseball to get pumped up. My team used to take the field to it at our home games and years later, my wife and I walked out to it playing at our wedding reception introduction! Check it out:

5. Concentrating on the music while doing the high intensity part of my intervals makes it go by a lot faster!

6. Stress can greatly slow your fat loss efforts! So to try and bring my stress levels down after a hard day of work, I take my dog and son out for a walk around the neighborhood. Of course the IPod comes with us and I like to listen to jazz, blues and acoustic guitar.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

1 Month into TC#5, 1 Month Closer to 6 Pack Abs

This Monday marked 1 month into Turbulence Training's Transformation Contest #5 for me. I am proud to say that my weight is down 6lbs from the start of the contest and I now weigh 188lbs.

With the arrival of our new baby, I have not had time to do any measurements (I have barely had time to sleep, lol!), but I can see the results in the mirror so I know a majority, if not all, of my weight loss is a reduction in fat and not muscle.

The beginning of this week also marked a new Turbulence Training program for me. I started the TT Hardcore Fatloss program and think I am really going to like it! I change workouts every 4 weeks to keep my body guessing. I think this workout will have my body asking mercy after the 4 weeks!

Don't get me wrong TT for Reformed Meatheads was an awesome workout program. The super-sets really melted the fat away but I was also able to use heavy weights too! But it's always nice to change it up and surprise the body with a new workout!

TT Hardcore Fatloss is very different from any other TT program that I have done before. The program calls for 5 or 6 days of working out (1 day of HIIT is optional), where a normal Turbulence Training program has 3 workouts and leaves the other days of the week as optional 30 minutes of fun activity.

TT Hardcore Fatloss also varies the HIIT which is always nice. Craig has me doing intervals on the bike, treadmill and body weight circuits. I love the variety and the resistance part of the workout should allow me to still use heavy weights.

I am really motivated to try and become a finalist for this contest. I think that will allow me to prove that you can get your 'dream body' even if you have a busy lifestyle. I believe that if I can lose 8 more pounds of fat that I will have body fat at or below 10% which should allow everyone to see my 6 pack!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thursday's Off-Day Workout and Meals to help get 6 pack abs

We all know that your body adjusts to your workouts pretty quickly (if you didn't know that, you do now!). So although I do my Turbulence Training workout programs for 4 weeks, I always try to either increase my weight or do more repetitions.

I also try to keep my off-day workouts (lighter workouts than my TT workouts) different from week to week (off day workouts are Tues, Thurs and Sat or Sun depending on what day of the weekend I take).

Yesterday I tried a workout I never tried before!! I jogged down the block to the community pool and swam laps!! Since I have not done any swimming in a long time I treated my laps like intervals. I would swim 2 laps (1 freestyle, 1 breast stroke) and then rest for 1 minute (my watch is waterproof thankfully). I did 7 intervals total and then dried off and jogged back home.

Man was I sore this morning!! My lats and abs felt like they were on fire! Now that is a sign that my body was not expecting that workout!

I also tried something different for my meal plan too. I didn't eat anything! Yep, I tried 2 days of Eat Stop Eat this week. I had no problems and actually feel great today. Lets hope the scale gives me a good # on Sunday. I know the mirror is already showing encouraging signs!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

6 Pack Abs and Great Arms!!

My primary goal is to get lean so I can see my abs, but with summer approaching fast, it would be great to have a nice set of guns to go with the abs to, right?

I don't care if you are a guy or a girl, walking around in a bathing suit with toned arms is always nice. I believe it give confidence to both sexes, it boosts a guys ego to know he can walk around the beach and flex (hate to tell you guys, but they surveyed women and they notice your 'V' shape first, not your arms. But if great arms make you feel better, go for it!!). It makes a woman feel good that she doesn't have flab bouncing around the back of her arms.

Like I said, my primary focus is getting lean so I can see my 6 pack abs. BUT getting lean will also bring out the definition in my arms!! Since my Turbulence Training workouts concentrate on whole body workouts, I really do not hit my arms in isolation during the week, but I manage to fit in 2 super-sets a week that hit my biceps and triceps.

My "Reformed Meathead Fatloss" program has me do an arms super set on Workout A. For Workout C Craig gives you the 'option' of doing his 3 minute arms or a arm workout of your own. Of course there is no option of doing arms and looking good, its a necessity.
Here are 2 supersets I alternate with Craig's 3 minutes arm program to keep my arms guessing (Please note, I only do 1 of these supersets a workout):

Dropset - Superset

Use a weighted cable pulley and move the adjustments so you can do triceps pull downs (with a rope attachment) and then quickly switch to cable curls.

1A) Triceps Pull downs - Start with 100lbs, do 10 reps and than quickly drop to 80lbs and do 10 reps and continue lowering the weight and doing 10 reps with no rest until you reach 20lbs.

IMMEDIATELY Followed by (no rest):

1B ) Cable Curls - Start with 100lbs, do 10 reps and than quickly drop to 80lbs and do 10 reps and continue lowering the weight and doing 10 reps with no rest until you reach 20lbs.

Do 2 - 3 sets of this superset and call it a day!

Preacher Curl - Skull Crushers Superset

Using a EZ Curl bar find a weight that you can do 8 reps of preacher curls and 8 reps of Skull Crushers (ie. Tricep extensions lying down on a bench). Do the preacher curls and immediately jump to a bench and without rest do the skull crushers.

1A) Preacher Curls 8 reps

1B) Skull Crushers 8 reps

Do 2 - 3 sets of this superset and call it a day!

Combine these supersets with your total body workouts and you'll see nice results and some strength increases in your arms. I know we are all busy people, so this should allow you to hit your arms without spending a whole workout just devoted to arms (how would you get lean and get 6 pack abs by doing that??).

Guys, please don't expect to get huge arms from this. Remember 80% of everything is diet. If you eating for a calorie deficit because you are trying to get cut or lean, then you can't expect to pack on size to your arms. In order to do that you would have to consume more calories.

What this will do is keep your arms looking great and increase your strength. You'll be surprised how big your arms look when you body fat drops!