Monday, December 29, 2008
With the New Year fast approaching, many of us take this opportunity to make some household changes in our lives. Some of us do it by choice, some out of necessity.
Last week, just before Christmas, my hard drive crashed and my back-up failed.
I LOST EVERYTHING.
Some initially would think, big deal. What's a few family photos and some old school hip-hop mixes you downloaded off the web?
Well, it was actually a lot more than that...
-thousands of dollars worth of educational material (eBooks & on-line courses, etc)
-articles that I wrote or was working on for various publications
-my intellectual property bank of projects: new programs that I was writing, press releases, new workouts, my IDEA bank, my list of CONTACTS
I'm pretty much stuck as to what to do. I've taken my old drive to several Mac experts and they can't seem to do anything.
My last resort is to take it to a data retrieval company and pay an estimated $4100 to get everything back...in little disorganized pieces.
So here's what I'm doing...
Out of necessity, I'm hitting the RESET button.
I had a lot planned for January - projects, major announcements, a website redesign - and I'm still going to push forward.
The way I see it, I've got a new blank canvas to work with now.
I just created a new workout journal.
I simplified my accounting process into one logical spreadsheet that will keep track of everything.
I'm aiming at writing 1 NEW article/blog post/program per day to play catch-up on all the things that I had lost.
This'll be an uphill battle, but what better way to start climbing than at the turn of the year?
So, my question to you is...IS IT TIME FOR YOU TO HIT THE RESET BUTTON TOO?
Do you need to de-clutter the house to make room better things in 2009?
Do you need to shed that extra weight that you've always been meaning to?
Will '09 finally be the year that you pay off all the debt you've accumulated over the years so that you too can wipe the slate clean?
Whatever it is, make preparations now and don't wait (like I did) for you to be forced into RESET mode.
Make the decision NOW and make a promise to stick to it for the next 4 weeks (because after 4 weeks, it'll probably become a habit).
Like my buddy Brad Pilon says, "Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone".
Over the next few days leading into and through the New Year, I'll provide you with some tools and resources that you can use to make 2009 YOUR BEST YEAR EVER!
From goal setting programs, to online resources to track food and exercise, I'll give you some neat tricks to help you get on track with your life so that you're prepared for anything.
Have a great day!
P.S. CLICK HERE to get a head start on your New Year's fat loss goals.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Q: Chris, I don’t want to buy the blast straps and I want to do bodyweight exercises that I can perform anywhere, even at work. I am having a challenging time finding an exercise for the back. Can you provide me a few examples?
Michael from Illinois
A: Hi Michael. I've got a few favorites for "equipment-less" back exercises.
I like stick-ups a lot and I find them great for posture. You can view a video of them here...
==>Stick-Up Exercise Video (within a bodyweight circuit)
I also like doing YTWL's for posture and find that this sequence is great for your upper back. Here's a video for that sequence...
==>YTWL Postural Video
Unfortunately, if you want to pack some muscle on your back (a HUGE muscle group), then you can't do much better than chin-ups and various rows. If lack of equipment is an issue, my suggestion is to go to a playground and do your FitAndBusyDad workouts there (using the monkey bars as your chin-up apparatus). You could also do inverted rows if there was a low parallel bar around OR you could even use the swings for some suspended inverted rows.
I hope that helps. Good Luck!
Re-think Parallel Squats
Q: As an older trainer (60 next month), I have learned over the past several years that working with older clients (over 45) is a different animal. Going past parallel is something that, in most cases, will create problems in the knees. Even those seniors who have trained for years begin to complain about the knees. I can usually trace the problem back to deep squats and/or too heavy lifting. In my training, I spot everyone doing the squat so that they maintain at least a 90% angle opening behind the knee at all times. Please be aware that to recommend anything deeper will introduce a higher probability of knee issues. I see it time and time again.
Certified Personal Trainer from Georgia
A: Hi Rick, thanks for your comment. I find that issues related to the inability to squat below parallel actually result in poor upper back, hip and ankle mobility in older adults (actually in everyone - old or young) and that knee issues can be cleared up (somewhat) by addressing these restrictions in mobility. I also work with a fair amount of 45+ adults all of whom couldn't squat below parallel when we first started.
By using foam rolling/soft tissue techniques and increasing mobility in these areas using various drills/exercises, I can usually get them below parallel eventually (the time frame depends on the individual).
An important point to make is that I won't have them squat with load until they can get below parallel using their bodyweight and we won't touch load until they can do a PERFECT 20 reps.
Also, because of compression issues in their spine, I won't get older adults to do back squats (where the bar is resting on their back). I prefer to stick to front squats, dumbbell squats or kettlebell squats.
I guess the take home point is that people shouldn't be afraid to squat below parallel. Everyone's been scared into thinking that going lower will cause their knee caps to explode or something.
I agree that some people do in fact have structural limitations that won't allow them to squat below parallel, but for the bulk of us, old or young, I think going below parallel is definitely realistic if not necessary.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I got to the hostess about the same time as another guy. I knew who he was, but I wasn't sure if he knew me. Still being half awake and somewhat shy, I didn't introduce myself. We waited at the front of the almost empty restaurant for almost 5-minutes and were both visibly annoyed that we were ignored by the hostess.
While we were waiting, Vince Delmonte came down, who just happened to be a common friend (I think Vince knows everybody). He introduced us and we've been emailing each other every week ever since.
That guy, was Mike Roussell.
Mike just happens to be one of the top nutrition experts in the world and runs a very successful nutrition program over at NakedNutritionNetwork.com.
Mike is also one of the busiest dads that I have met.
Back in September when we first started talking, he was in the middle of studying for/writing his comprehensive exams for his PhD, working on his latest fat loss project called Warp-Speed Fat Loss (a collaboration w/fat loss expert Alwyn Cosgrove) and trying to be an exemplary parent (along with his wife Emily) to (then) 6-month-old twins.
Mike sent me this email that I thought you busy dads out there would appreciate...
Hey Chris. Glad you emailed me. There aren't a lot of guys like us - family man, fitness, blogging - we should stay in touch.
You would appreciate this... Classic 'dad' night last night - driving the kids around town at 1:30am to get them to stop screaming and sleep. Emily and I rate nights by what late night talk show host we will see before going to bed...
Jay Leno - great night (kids asleep before 12:30am)
Conan - average night (kids asleep by 1:30am)
Carson Daily - bad night (too late to remember)
Hope you're well, Mike
I'm not sure if you guys are anything like me, but I've always been hung up on how much sleep I get (or don't get these days). In fact, based on my 10-years of fatherhood, I've got a pretty reliable rating system as well...
#1 Rating - Bath & bed time story =
7-8hrs of sleep...A GREAT NIGHT!
#2 Rating - Bath & bed time story followed by a tantrum =
5-6hrs of sleep...BREAKFAST PREP WILL BE RUSHED, BUT CAN STILL GET DONE IF I DON'T SHOWER.
#3 Rating - Bath & bed time story followed by a tantrum, pee in the bed & late night laundry session washing soiled sheets =
4-5hrs...NO SHOWER, NO TIME TO PREPARE BREAKFAST FOR MYSELF THE NEXT MORNING, BUT I'LL STILL MAKE IT TO WORK.
#4 Rating - Bath & bed time story, tantrum, late night pee in the bed and/or puke followed by another bath and a late night laundry session washing soiled sheets =
ZERO hrs of sleep...DON'T EVEN BOTHER GOING TO BED BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO GET UP IN AN HOUR ANYWAY!
1. Stop the coffee by 3pm. If I'm drinking espresso, I make sure that the last one I have is at 3pm. The 1/2-life of caffeine is about 3-4 hours in a healthy adult, so by having my last espresso at 3pm, I can ensure that most of the caffeine I consumed during the day is gone by around 9ish. That's just in time to...
2. Try to get to bed by 10pm. Your body wants to follow nature and the best possible sleep means that you're following sleep-wake cycles similar to that of the sun (darkness-daylight). If you're already going to bed too late, try to get up a little earlier each day, forcing you to hit the sack earlier, until your body adjusts.
3. Have your dinner earlier (or no later than 6/6:30pm). A lot of people use this trick for weight-loss, which I believe works, and it helps you with sleep quality because you'll make sure that your body's digestive processes are somewhat calm by the time bedtime rolls around (meaning that your heart won't be working as hard to feed all the muscles involved with digestion).
4. Calm your mind by using meditation or some form of relaxation. I just started using this technique and it's really worked out well. I'm the type who's always thinking...about what I need to do tomorrow, about ideas for my business, about whether or not my 3-year-old went to the bathroom prior to bed so I don't have a #3 or #4 kind of night. After reading the book "A New Earth", I learned that by just focusing on my breathing for 5-minutes, my mind stops racing and I'm able to really calm myself and relax right into a great sleep.
P.S. Getting up at 5am after a great night's sleep has been part of my morning routine for almost 10 years now. It enables me to get a lot done while my wife and kids (and the whole world pretty much) are still in bed. It also allows me to get my metabolism revved up with quick intense workouts that really take no time at all!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
About 3 weeks ago, my wife and I set out on a quest to try to stay under a grocery/food budget of $200 for our family of 6. It's the middle of the final week now, as November comes to a close, and it's been pretty friggin' hard.
As of today, we've spent $196 on our groceries/food. Not bad for 3 weeks. We've managed to use up almost all of the food in our freezer. We're more conscious of not letting things go bad in the fridge and making sure that we don't let anything go to waste.
But it's been a trying experience and to ask us to just spend $4 for the rest of the week on food for our growing family is, to put bluntly, NEGLECTFUL.
We've clipped coupons, shopped at local farmer's markets, used up all of the organic meat in our freezer and 90% of the canned beans in our pantry.
We've been invited, more often than usual, to my in-laws for dinner on Friday and/or Saturday nights. My father-in-law has bought dinner for the entire family AT LEAST 1 night per week after he picks-up the kids for us (bless his kind soul).
Rozanne and I have also followed a strict Eat-STOP-Eat Lifestyle, fasting every 5 days and we've both lost some weight. In fact, in keeping up with my workouts (using a Bod Pod measurement) I've manage to drop my body fat percentage to 10% while maintaining the same amount of lean mass that I started with.
"CAN A HEALTHY-EATING FAMILY OF 6 LIVE ON JUST A $200 FOOD/GROCERY MONTHLY BUDGET?"
The answer, for THIS family at least, is a big fat
Like I mentioned in my first blog post this month, our family theme for November, is GRATITUDE (that's what the symbol above means).
So believe me, we're thankful...
Thankful that we can afford more than $200/month for healthy (and in most cases organic) food.
Thankful that we have a supportive extended family that have our backs.
Thankful that we know where our next meal is coming from and that it's never a choice for us to either feed the kids or pay for an electricity bill.
I wouldn't call this past experiment "fun".
A better word would be enlightening.
It's made us realize (again) how lucky we are with what we have - not just us as a family, but as a society with electricity, indoor plumbing, running water and heated (or air conditioned) homes.
Would I try this all again? Probably not. I think I would try to cut out other excessive things in our life (not that there's a lot of them). But good quality food, as I have said before, I won't compromise.
That said, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my friends south of the border. I hope that you experience immense gratitude the same way my family and I have over this past month.
Now please excuse me while I hit the grocery store :-)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
With November being the month of GRATITUDE for the Lopez household, I thought it would only be fitting to interview one of the individuals responsible for our family's theme for giving thanks.
My wife and I have been following Leo Babauta for about a year now on his ZenHabits.net blog. Almost everyday Leo has a post about how to transform your life from a life of excess to a life of SIMPLICITY. Through Leo's posts and example, we've managed to strip away a lot of what we feel isn't necessary - donating and purging clothes, toys and other belongings that seem to be just taking up a lot of space and cluttering our home and our lives.
I should also mention that this guy has more kids that I do!
Look out for more from Leo as he'll be one of the experts on the FitAndBusyDad Transformation Team!
F&BD: Leo, please give us a little bit of background on you, your family and your first thoughts on being a father.
LEO: I'm a full-time blogger these days at Zen Habits (zenhabits.net), with a second blog for writers and bloggers called Write To Done (writetodone.com). I've been a writer for 18 years now. I write a lot about simplifying your life, finding happiness, creating positive new habits, getting fit and healthy, family and finance issues, productivity, organization and more.
I'm happily married with six kids (the oldest is 15 and the youngest is 2), and I live on Guam. I'm a runner, training for my third marathon, and I'm just getting into triathlons. I love reading, writing and fitness, and especially spending time with my family.
Being a father is amazing. Of course there are troubles that come with being a parent, but they are nothing in comparison with the amazing joys of fatherhood. My kids are my reason for being, the greatest joy in my life (along with my wife), the best thing I've done and the most
fun way for me to spend my time. We play soccer, go hiking, shoot each other with Nerf dart guns, play board games, watch movies, go running, and much more.
F&BD: Your outlook on life is very unique, especially for today's over-stimulated and over-indulgent world. First, what is this unique lifestyle that you espouse and how do you manage to maintain this life/teach it to your kids?
LEO: I advocate and live a lifestyle that's much simpler than most people live. It's about focusing on what's important in your life and trying to get rid of the non-essential. It's about clearing out the clutter in your home and office to make room for the things you love. It's about clearing space in your mind to make room for your thoughts. It's about doing one thing at a time so you can concentrate, be effective, and live in the moment. It's about being happy.
I try to teach these values -- of living a life full of what's really important -- to my kids simply by living the life myself. They see what I do for a living. They see how I make time for what I really enjoy doing. They see how I make time for them as much as possible. They know how much I enjoy myself doing these things. And they will learn from the example that I live, I hope.
F&BD: Since I do run a health & fitness blog, what do you do to stay in shape?
LEO: I try to get in a pretty good mix of exercise, and try to eat "clean" as much as possible -- eating real foods instead of processed foods.
My exercise includes a mixture of:
* Marathon training -- I do several tough runs a week, including a 16-miler today!
* Triathlon training -- I don't do much of that these days but hope to get back into it after my marathon in December.
* Weight training -- I do about 3 days of full-body strength workouts, mostly heavy barbell stuff including squats, bench, deadlifts, rows, presses, etc.
* Bodyweight exercises -- Sometimes I mix in a circuit of exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, planks, hanging leg raises, and the like.
* Yardwork workouts -- I do some swinging of heavy tools like axes, picks, machetes, and lift heavy objects like rocks, logs, etc.
* Interval and hill training -- lately I've been mixing intervals into my running, along with tough hill repeats. Great workouts!
* Other activities -- I like to stay active with the kids, playing soccer or going hiking or doing other things like that.
I should point out that I don't do all of these things each week. I try to mix it up. Lately I've been doing the marathon training mixed with intervals and hills, along with regular weight training and some yardwork and other activities once in a while.
F&BD: What's your advice on how a busy dad can stay focused, not only on his fitness goals, but on his goals in life as well?
LEO: I recommend focusing on one goal at a time if you really want to be effective. Focus on that goal completely and turn it into a habit. This usually takes about a month or so. Make that habit a part of your daily routine, or you'll forget about it. So if you want to exercise, focus on setting a particular time of day and a particular part of your daily routine just for exercise -- then stick with this for a month, and it will become a habit. Find motivators like positive public pressure and having a partner (like a workout partner) or a coach or being part of a group. Once you've created that habit, focus on your next goal.
F&BD: Please tell us about ZenHabits.net and why you decided to create this website/blog. (ie. What inspired/inspires you to continue writing)?
LEO: I started Zen Habits after more than a year of self-transformation. I quit smoking and took up running and ran my first marathon. I created a bunch of new habits (one at a time) including eating healthy, waking early (I usually get up at 4:30 a.m. to run), being organized and productive (see my ebook, Zen To Done), and so forth. And I wanted to share what I was learning with others in hopes that they might benefit.
It turned out that a lot of other people wanted to learn to do these things, and to live a simpler life. So I gained a lot of enthusiastic readers who have been incredibly encouraging, and this motivates me to keep writing each day. It's a lot of fun!
F&BD: Thanks for sharing, Leo.
Friday, November 7, 2008
-Rozanne went to Collingwood (actually 45 min north of Cwood) with some family. Aunt paid for lunch in exchange for the gas Rozanne used. She only spent $2 on a Tim Horton's coffee and a tea for her aunt.
-Chris spent $6 on a California Sandwich for AJ en route to her soccer practice...which she still can't participate in but just loves to watch and hang around her teammates.
-Farmers' Market Day: Kids have a ritual of munching on fresh market cinnamon buns while Rozanne shops for veggies at the market. Spent $4 on the buns and $12 on locally-grown organic peppers, cauliflower, and broccoli.
-Rozanne's dad is off work this week and offered to take the kids out for lunch (and also ended up buying dinner...even though we protested).
-Chris spent $0 but received a free espresso from a friend (fasting day).
-Rozanne spent $12 on 2 dozen free-run eggs and brownie ingredients (dairy-free desserts/recipes are hard to find).
-Grocery Visit: Rozanne spent $13 on organic bananas and a bulk box of chicken fingers (emergency lunch).
-Surprise visit from Rozanne's aunt and cousin (needed to hang out somewhere while waiting for Rozanne's uncle in surgery at the hospital close to our house). They bought lunch.
-Chris spent $0 (leftovers for lunch, dinner was lemon-sage chicken & steamed broccoli - all ingredients were on-hand including the sage which came FRESH AND FREE from a client's herb garden).
-Enjoyed the beautiful weather with the kids and packed snacks.
-Ate leftovers for lunch.
-Dinner bought by Roger (my father-in-law)
4 Day TOTAL - $49
Are we going to be able to do this? This weekend will be the TRUE test. I'll be doing my second fast of the week with Rozanne tomorrow (Saturday from Lunch to Lunch) because we've got a friend's birthday party to attend.
I'll have more to tell you about on Monday.
p.s. If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I got another FREE espresso from the barista at Lit Espresso Bar after I told him about our family's little experiment - I think he just felt sorry for me.
A couple of weeks ago, I did an interview for Jeremy Biser over at DiscoveringDad.net. I've done a few interviews in the past, but he asked me one of the best questions I've ever been asked...
In general, how do you think dads are perceived? Why?
I think you’ll get 2 types of dads…Guys with kids, and “Dads.”
I’m a DAD before anything else.
We get a bad rap sometimes and are really still considered secondary caregivers. I think there are still a lot of “traditional” thinkers out there who think that dads should be leaving at 6am and not coming home until 7pm while they “bring home the bacon,” that we have no business child rearing or keeping house.
I’m lucky in that I’ve managed to structure my business around how I want my life to be. I still leave quite early in the morning because that is my most productive time, but I come home at 3pm every day in time to pick-up my kids, make dinner, give them a bath and read them a bedtime story.
I got a lot of flack for that from my clients who were more of the “guys with kids” types. I even had one client suggest that I hire a driver to pick my kids up from school so that I could work an extra 2-3 hours in the afternoon to be his trainer!!!
Overall though, I think times are changing. You’ll see a lot more of us at PTA meetings, cheering on the sidelines of our kids’ soccer games and just being more involved. It’s refreshing to see and somewhat comforting to know that there are others like me out there.You can read the rest of the interview HERE.
I'll be contributing to DiscoveringDad.net on a regular basis so stay tuned for my column.
I've also been asked to be a regular contributor to Muscle Mondays on TheDadJam.net and to the new fitness series on TheFatheringLife.com so I'll be sure to let you know when those pieces come out as well.
I've turned to these 3 sites for advice and information on fatherhood and entertaining stories on what it means to be a MODERN DAY MAN and I highly reccomend adding them to your weekly readings.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Last weekend while at a kid's birthday party, Rozanne and I had a discussion with another couple (her cousin and his wife) about our monthly grocery bills. As expected, we spend almost twice as much on our groceries as their family of 3 does.
Being a family of 6, I'm sure it's no surprise that we spend a good portion of our combined income on food. Keeping our kids and ourselves properly nourished is, of course, my top priority being both a health nut and a parent.
But should it cost that much? I mean really, with proper planning, smart shopping and a little creativity could we just use a fraction of our usual monthly grocery/food budget? Could we cut our food bill by as much as 75% and still eat healthy (buying local, hormone & pesticide free and organic when available)?
Well, that's the challenge that my wife and I have come up with this month. We chose "GRATITUDE" as our family theme for November.
Thanks to my friend Leo and his inspirational/motivational posts over at ZenHabits.net, we've been trying to really simplify life by paring down to what we deem essential - purging the contents of a room every week, getting rid of clothes that we haven't worn in a year and being grateful of the what we DO have (a roof over our heads, a supportive family and each other).
So here's our strategy (and some fine print)...
-We will buy only from our local farmer's markets because buying local cuts the transportation and shipping costs of the food down to next to nothing.
-We will buy in bulk if possible (nuts, dried fruit, spices and some meats that will be frozen immediately)
-Rozanne and I will follow my friend Brad Pilon's EatStopEat Lifestyle
-We will NOT buy any of the grocery shelf snacks (healthy or not) for the kids. The kids will only snack on fresh or dried fruit and whatever else we have in the house (including the occasional Halloween candy if necessary)
-We will use all the stuff in our freezer (I still have quite a bit of organic meat left from last month's shipment, so we'll use all of that starting with tonight's pepper steak dinner).
-Rozanne and I will our weekly allowance of $20 that we can use on whatever we like (that will be my "espresso" money)
-If you're reading this and you're a family member, don't be surprised if you get a phone call from one of us sometime this month inviting ourselves over for dinner :-)
-We will save $$$ (and with the holiday season coming up, we'll need it).
-We'll really see how "excessively" we live (I don't think we do by any means, but you'd be surprised).
-We won't eat out so I'll have to methodically plan our meals even more than I already do.
-Our young kids will realize how lucky they really are.
-Rozanne may lose that "last 10lbs" that she's been dying to lose
-We'll have to minimize the treats
-We can't be very "spur of the moment" for the next month.
-I will ABSOLUTELY NOT compromise my values and purchase "cheap food products" for the sake of saving money - no Mac'n'cheese, no luncheon meat, no weiners made of hoof. That said, if after 3 weeks we only have $3.75 left in our budget, all bets are off and I will go grocery shopping for some REAL food.
-I may lose 10lbs that I desperately cannot afford to.
So there's the challenge. Stay tuned and I'll let you know how it goes with frequent updates.
P.S. One thing that will help me maintain my weight and hopefully help me put some muscle on and burn some fat are my daily workouts. I'll let you know how those go as well.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
...but I swear it wasn't on purpose.
A couple of weekends ago (on Canadian Thanksgiving) we went on a family nature walk...just the 6 of us. We came to a clearing so AJ suggested that we play catch. So we took out our baseball gloves and started tossing the ball around. One missed pop-up later and AJ is on the ground cupping under her nose while the blood is pouring out.
Well today, we got it fixed. I took her to the hospital and the surgeon froze her face and cracked it back in place.
She's a tough kid.
A few tears and a lot of surgical tape (to brace her now straight nose) later and she's back to normal. So now, it's 4 weeks until she gets to play sports again. That sucks for her because she's just beginning both the indoor soccer season and volleyball season.
So what does she ask me in the car ride home from the hospital?
"Dad, I can't play sports, but can I still do chin-ups and try to get stronger?"
So despite the broken nose, she wants to take the 4 weeks that she can't participate in soccer, volleyball or even gym class, to get stronger.
I don't know many adults who are ready to get back on the horse that quick!
My 10-year-old daughter just endured the freezing and numbing experience of her nose (with a big needle, I might add) and then witnessed a plastic surgeon "snap" her nose back in place and she's asking me if she can do chin-ups.
I'm damn proud of her.
And I think a lesson can be learned...
No matter what life throws you, you can always try to find a silver lining. Try to take every negatively perceived experience and find the positive in it...just like what AJ did.
Monday, October 6, 2008
While we were there, I managed to get up early Sunday morning to head out to the local YMCA for a workout. I didn't think there would be a lot of people there, but boy was I wrong. The cardio machines and weight machines were packed! What was odd to me, though, was that there were only 2 people in the weight area for a good chunk of time. More on that later, but for now, here's what I did...
1) Front Squat (5 x 185, 4 x 205, 3 x 225)
2a) DB Row (8 x 80, 85, 90)
2b) BB Reverse Lunges (3 x 10 x 135)
3a) Dips (3 x 15, 12, 8)
3b) DB Curls (3 x 8 x 35)
OK, so back to my story...With all the research out now provine that resistance training with free weights is more effective for fat burning than cardio and machine training, you'd think that there'd be more people lifting weights. That wasn't the case yesterday morning.
Here are some other observations that I found a little odd...
- A trainer came up to me and told me to stop squatting below parallel because (I'm paraphrasing) my knee caps would pop off and hit the mirror in front of the squat rack and there'd be shattered glass everywhere!
- Every guy that came to weight area...EVERY guy...started his workout by doing bicep curls. After that, they'd proceed to do some type of exercise for their chest.
- There were an alarming number of skinny teenage guys on elliptical machines or running on treadmills.
I'll elaborate on that in tomorrow's post...
P.S. Click HERE for the most effective fat burning system for Busy Dads.
Monday, September 29, 2008
First, it was empty. Just me and another guy who was doing some Olympic lifting...and he was really good at it. It's a rarity to find someone who knows how to clean and snatch with great form in a commercial gym. But this guy - he was about 5'6" and had an athletic build with legs twice size of mine - must have some formal training with the sport (Olympic lifts). It was good to see.
Second, they had great equipment. It wasn't overrun with machines. Lots of barbells, 3 squat racks, dumbbells that went up to 100lbs and a trap deadlift bar (it's a hexagonal bar that you can step into to do your deadlifts).
Here's what I did this morning...
1) Deadlift (135 x 5, 185 x 5, 225 x 5, 275 x 3, 295 x 3, 315 x 2)
2a) Blast Strap Push-Ups w/feet elevated (15, 15)
2b) DB Shrugs (8 @ 80, 8 @ 85)
3a) Pistols (8, 7)
3b) Face Pull (2x15 @ 60lbs)
Great workout. I got there at 6am and was home by 6:45. Downed a post-workout shake and an apple. Hit the shower and then made breakfast for everyone else with an early riser...
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
First, as part of a regular "Muscle Monday" article series, check out my friend Vincent Marra's blog - www.TheDadJam.com. There, I outline the same 5-step-process that I use to help my clients find the time to workout, lose weight and get back in shape. Click the link below to view Part 1...
==>The Dad Jam's Muscle Monday - Keeping Busy Dads In Shape
Next, a 2-Part article for my buddy Jeremy Biser's blog DiscoveringDad.net. In Part 1 of this piece I talk about the 2 "types" of dads that I seem to encounter the most and some strategies to help these guys out. In Part 2 (out next week) I talk about specific exercises and circuits that dads can use right away to help them get back in shape. You can check out Part 1 by clicking the link below...
==>DiscoveringDad.net - Fitness for Dads
I've got great YouTube stuff coming out in the next few days as well, so stay tuned!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Vince (he's a big boy) went off to do his own thing and I was more than happy to be the student and let CB conduct the workout. (I play the "teacher" role for a living, so having someone else lead today was refreshing).
Here's what went down...
1a) DB Military Press 3 x 8 @ 45, 50, 55
1b) Pull-Ups 3 x 13, 9, 7
2a) Barbell Bicep Curls 3 x 8 @ 85, 75, 75
2b) Lying DB Tricep Ext 3 x 8 @ 30, 35, 35
3) TT 3-minute arms (Seated Incline DB Curls & E-Z Bar Tricep Ext) 5 x 5
4a) Face Pull 2 x 15 @ 60, 80
4b) Ab Wheel 2 x 12
5) 135lb Deadlifts x 50 reps (just for fun...hahaha, I won't be walking tomorrow)
It was a great workout, a lot more volume than I'm used to. I've been doing only bodyweight stuff lately, so I'll definitely be sore tomorrow. My bad shoulder was bothering me a bit as well, so I went lighter on the military presses.
I'm glad I got a chance to train and talk to these guys. Both Craig and Vince are very successful trainers and I learned a lot from each one of them (that, and Craig paid for the cab rides and Vince paid for the post workout shakes).
I'll be back to my hotel room workouts on Sunday morning before I leave for the airport.
I just spoke to the kids on the phone - AJ had a soccer game today and has a tournament on the weekend that I'm going to miss; Joey told me about how she's bringing some yellow watermellon to school tomorrow for her friends tomorrow; Frankie isn't feeling well and threw-up; Mikey's had a couple of sleepless nights.
It's a tough thing being away from home feeling like you're missing out. I was speaking to my new friend, Mike Roussell from Warp Speed Fat Loss, and he was telling me that he's got 6-week-old twins at home with his wife. I can't even imagine how he feels
But like many of us, it's something that we have to do sometimes. It's tough leaving them at home.
So, when I'm on the road on these business trips I try to make it feel like home as best I can.
First, I make sure that I talk to or Skype the girls to say goodnight and I have this picture on my desktop so that I have a I can wake-up with my family smiling at me...
Second, I try to keep my nutrition in check by eating as much fresh fruit and vegetables as I can. I avoid all fried food and dessert. And at each meal I make sure to have a lean source of protein.
For example, for dinner tonight I just had generous Arctic Char fillet over steamed greens with a little bit of soy sauce.
Third, I don't deviate from my workouts. I brought my ab wheel and my LifeLine Jungle Gym, so I got a great workout in this morning before my shower...
1) Bodyweight Warm-Up of Squats, Push-ups, Lunges & Stick-Ups
2a) Chin-ups - 15, 10, 7
2b) Bulgarian Split Squats* - 15, 15, 10 per leg
2c) Ab Wheel - 3 x 15
3) Ab Circuit - Plank x 2mins, Side Plank x 45s/side, Hip Brindge x 3min, Prone Cobra x 3min
*(The Bulgarian Split Squats were especially helpful for stretching my already tight hip flexors. Because we were sitting all day, my hips can use all the help they can get.)
Finally (and this trick helps out a huge amount while I'm away), I go to the local convenience store and I buy a case of water. It's amazing how dehydrated I get when I'm out of town (I don't know if it's because I just don't think to drink water or I'm drinking too much coffee). I bought 3 x 1 gallon jugs of water last night and am already through 2 of them!
So even though I'm out of town, I can stay on track and keep my energy levels high and my body fat levels low by implementing some easy-to-follow strategies.
Bless my wife for being at home taking care of our 4 kids.
I can't wait to get back and see everyone's smiling faces when they pick me up from the airport.
P.S. Use The FitAndBusyDad System and don't let yourself deviate from your daily, healthy everyday routine.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
OK, so I think today was the last straw for me and commercial gyms. I took AJ to soccer practice and had some time to kill so I hopped over to the local "big box chain" gym down the street.
I pull into the first parking spot I see and walk toward the entrance. On my way up, right before the handicapped spaces I see 2 guys arguing. The closer I get I realize that they're arguing about a friggin' parking spot and who got there first. Seriously.
I just walked on by nodding my head with a disgusting look.
That wasn't the kicker though!
The kicker was, after I finished my workout, one of the guys who was arguing was WALKING on a treadmill!!!
Are you kidding me? You're arguing about a parking spot which may as well have been a handicapped spot and then you get on a treadmill? What is this world coming to?
See, this is why I usually train at home.
P.S. These are the home workouts I'm doing from now on. Click HERE for the FitAndBusyDad System.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Today, both AJ and Joey started at a NEW school. So after breakfast, I did a little dance and made them laugh (I like being the goof-ball dad) and helped clear a little bit of the nervous energy in the air.
Today, for my kids, was a NEW BEGINNING. A new chapter in their lives.
Each September, it feels like a new beginning for all of us. This September, it was especially for me.
See, I've gotten to the point where I realized that I wasn't changing. I wasn't evolving - both from a business & personal standpoint. So, when you realize that whatever you're doing isn't working, then it's time to make some major household changes.
I've decided to make a few changes in my off-line business model.
I'm starting a new training regimen for myself.
And I'm putting my focus on helping you and other Busy Dads lose fat and gain muscle in less time than ever with my FitAndBusyDad Lifestyle System.
What about you?
Are you evolving?
Are you making positive changes in your life to make yourself better?
Are you feeling stagnant in your FAT LOSS efforts?
Why don't you use this September to make those changes as well? To make a new beginning for yourself.
Start doing something positive that you've been putting off and STOP doing something that is just wasting your time.
Because life is too short to be doing things that just don't matter all that much.
To New Beginnings,
P.S. Why not start off fresh with your fat loss efforts using the FitAndBusyDad System? Click HERE to start your NEW BEGINNING.
Friday, August 29, 2008
You can now follow me on Twitter by clicking HERE!
Coffee shops are a funny thing.
Barristas pulling magic from giant industrial espresso machines.
People working diligently (or so it appears) on their laptops.
Others having business meetings.
Some reading the paper.
Moms pushing SUV strollers trying to get through the double doors (yes, I try and help them because I know what it's like).
I came to Dark Horse this morning with the intention on getting some work done. But, while sitting having a double espresso, my good friend Anthony walked in to have his "usual" double as well.
He takes the seat beside mine and we end up chatting...
-about upcoming projects...his & mine
-about personal productivity and tricks to help with being more productive (I'm reading a book called "Focal Point" by Brian Tracy right now)
-about courses that we're both taking or are interested in taking
-about our families (he and his wife just recently had a baby boy)
-about how our training is going (he's the strength coach for a professional hockey team)
An hour or so flies by and I don't have any work done, but that's alright because...
-we both are getting our online businesses set-up so we set-up a weekly brainstorming meeting
-we exchanged a list of books and websites that each of us figured would be of use to one another
-we strengthened a friendship
So even though I wasn't as productive as I would like to have been from a work standpoint, I was productive from a learning standpoint. Our conversation gave me a few training tricks to try, a few new books to add to my current book list and some good conversation.
As Busy Dads our days get so unpredictable that you have no choice but to roll with the punches. I work from a list everyday and always try to get as much done as possible. But some days (most days) that doesn't happen for one reason or another.
Running into a friend who I haven't seen in a while who has the same interests (both personally and professionally) was a welcome interruption.
That, and I got free double espresso out of it because he's in good with the owners.
P.S. Have you seen who the winner is in the 2nd Turbulence Training Transformation Contest? Check it out HERE!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
FitAndBusyDads are ruling the world! Thanks to everyone for the great feedback on the program and your inspirational stories. I've gotten emails from as far as Thailand, Australia and the Philippines!
Here's a great photo from Jeff in Edmonton showing everyone how Busy Dads do it in the Canadian Prairies!
Who needs to drag a sled when you have a lawn mower and a 3-year-old!
Thanks for the picture Jeff! I'm sending you a complimentary copy of the FitAndBusyDad System for your originality!
I had great workout yesterday. It was nice to get back to lifting some weight after just doing bodyweight stuff while I was on vacation. Here's how it went down yesterday...
1) Bodyweight Warm-Up
2a) 2-Arm KB Squat-Press (16kg x 10 x 2)
2b) KB Renegade Rows (16kg x 20 x 2)
3) Chin-up knee raise combo (14, 12, 10)
4) 100KB Swings @ 24kg
Done in 23-minutes!
P.S. Click HERE to get your FAT LOSS workouts done in 23-minutes or less!
P.S.S. Don't forget to vote for your favorite finalist in the Turbulence Training Transformation Contest. Click HERE and cast your vote today!
Monday, August 25, 2008
It was a great vacation, but it was time to come home. So we packed up the mini-van, bought some healthy snacks (apples, red peppers, a variety of raw nuts and I even found some organic beef jerky!) and hit the road back to Toronto.
The overnight drive was relaxing and the kids slept the whole way (they were exhausted). Rozanne and I got to reconnect a bit on the 9 hour drive. All-in-all, it was a great trip.
So now we're home with a new perspective on life. It's funny, but when you pack to go away - especially packing for yourself and 4 kids - you seem to only bring what's necessary.
It got me thinking - WHY DON'T WE JUST LIVE WITH WHAT'S NECESSARY?
Why don't we just live with the basics of life instead of having an abundant amount of "stuff" that we don't need or choose to hold on to for "sentimental" reasons. This trip, was about the basics - in everything. (Which sounds weird because we were in NYC, which is a place of abundance).
We really didn't go "shopping". We chose high quality foods and didn't over indulge on what was available to us. We lived with our basic clothing needs.
Even our workouts were done with basic movements either in our hotel room or outside with no equipment whatsoever. In fact, my workouts over the past 10 days consisted of 2 exercises...a pistol and a 1-arm push-up. I practiced both movements every-other-day.
Our lives, were simpler...and it was great. It was a refreshing change to the over-stimulated, over-indulged western lifestyle that a lot of us live.
So we've made a family pact to take this week before school to PURGE, PURGE, PURGE. I read somewhere that the more clutter in your life you get rid of, the more room you make for positive things to come in to your life.
Books that no longer apply...Gone.
Clothes that we haven't worn in a year...See ya.
Toys that nobody plays with...Buh-bye.
We've done a little bit already and it feels amazing. It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.
I STRONGLY suggest you try and do the same. Because once school starts next week, you know that the overall mentality will probably change and we'll get "caught up" again in the everyday of everyday.
P.S. Click HERE to simplify your workouts and get quick results with The FitAndBusyDad System!
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
We're still in New York having a great time. The vacation is winding down though and we're heading home soon.
Our days have been filled with catching up with family and train rides into the city. A couple of days ago we walked over 70 blocks! With the kids! From Penn Station to the Central Park Zoo and back with stops in between. It's been great. And I'm proud of our kids for keeping up and not complaining (at least not too much).
Most nights we rush back to the hotel, order some Japanese (I'm a big sashimi guy), and watch the Olympics. By far, my daughters' favorite event has to be gymnastics. They're mesmerized by how these gymnasts can leap, flip and control their bodies in the air.
So in both the New York and Olympic spirit, I've got a guest blog post from Jason Ferruggia, a world renowned strength coach from New Jersey. If you don't know Jason, get to know him. He's one of the foremost experts in the world in packing on serious muscle. He's also the author of Muscle Gaining Secrets, an eBook muscle building program that focuses on helping skinny guys get HUGE.
In this post, Jay talks about how male gymnasts get so jacked, but don't lift a single weight, dumbbell or barbell. They just use their bodyweight.
If you take a look at the exercises, you should notice that each and every one is a staple in the FitAndBusyDad System...
How to Build Muscle- Olympic Style
August 12, 2008
While watching the summer Olympics the last few days you would be hard pressed not to notice the great physiques possessed by many of the athletes. But by far and away the most muscular bodies always belong to the gymnasts and the sprinters. These guys certainly know how to build muscle more effectively than most average gym rats.
For years now I have been extolling the virtues of moving your body through space when you train, as opposed to simply moving your limbs around a fixed object. When you move your body through space, as the Olympic gymnasts do, you stimulate a much higher level of neuromuscular activation. In simple terms this means that you call more muscle fibers into play on any one exercise. And the more muscle fibers you activate, the more you will grow.
So if you want to develop an incredible physique, take a lesson from the Olympic gymnasts on how to build muscle, and start moving your body through space as much as possible while you train. Following is a list of exercises to start you on the path to getting huge.
- Instead of triceps pushdowns do parallel bar dips.
Have you noticed how many dips and how much work the Olympians do on the parallel bars? And have you noticed the size of their triceps? Need I say more?
- Instead of barbell curls do close grip chin ups.
Ditto what I said about the dips. Not only do you get incredible biceps development from close grip chins but you also get the added bonus of massive lat and forearm development.
- Instead of bench presses do chain or strap suspended pushups.
While the bench press can be an effective mass building exercise it can also be one of the worst for your shoulders. If you want to be safer and build a chest and pair of shoulders like you see on the Olympic gymnasts I would highly recommend some type of chain or strap suspended pushup. This movement will call far more muscle fibers into play and challenge the smaller stabilizers muscles as well. Not only that but you will get an outstanding ab workout from this movement as well; something that can’t be said for the bench press.
- Instead of leg presses, leg extensions or leg curls do double and single leg squats.
When you sit in a fixed machine and move weight with your limbs as opposed to moving your body the level of neuromuscular activation is quite low; no matter how much weight you use. And it is very unnatural. A leg press allows you to build strength in your lower body without additional gains in lower back and core strength. This is not normal and creates an imbalance that will lead to future problems. When you do squats you incorporate nearly every muscle from head to toe and will not only build tree trunk sized legs but will stimulate growth throughout your entire body.
- Instead of crunches and sit ups do all of the exercises listed above.
Isolation abdominal exercises like crunches and sit ups are not real life type movements. In real life your abdominals contract isometrically to protect your spine; they do not contract the way they do in a crunch or sit up. Not only that, but by continually flexing your spine for hundreds of reps per week, you will surely be setting yourself up for long term back problems.
If you follow a steady diet of chins, dips, suspended pushups and squats you will build an incredible set of abs. When you watch the Olympic gymnasts you immediately notice their rock solid abs popping right through their spandex and they never do crunches or sit ups. You simply can’t hide abs like that. That kind of six pack is built with full body movements like the ones listed above.
But if you still want to do a little extra ab work you can add in exercises like planks and ab wheel rollouts; just skip the sit ups and crunches.
Now you know how to build muscle, Olympic style. Stick with these time tested exercises and all of the others listed in my Muscle Gaining Secrets course for the next eight weeks and be prepared add some massive slabs of beef to your physique.****************************
Friday, August 15, 2008
We got to New York at about 10am on Wednesday. We left Toronto around 1:30am (we wanted the kids to sleep the whole way through) and went straight to the hotel for an early check-in. The drive was nice, especially during sunrise as the light was starting to hit the tree line in the mountains.
We spent the day in the city yesterday. So, in the spirit of Letterman, here are THE TOP 10 THINGS THAT I LEARNED THE FIRST 2 DAYS IN NYC...
10. Traffic's not THAT bad going in...coming out is another story (it took us an hour and a half to get back to the hotel yesterday - through the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.)
9. In a city of plenty where you can buy everything under the sun, I learned that I already have everything I need.
8. Make sure to charge your camera batteries before you leave the hotel. We made that mistake and took a total of 4 pictures before our screen went blank.
7. Waking up 20-minutes earlier to train is really easy when you get 8 hours of sleep!
6. Our new TomTom GPS is a marriage saver. If you're traveling to unfamiliar places, you MUST pick one up. It will save you a lot of strife.
5. Following an EatStopEat lifestyle saves me a lot of money and a lot of unwanted junk consumption. I fasted yesterday and then enjoyed a delicious Thai dinner with my family after the wedding rehearsal. I spent a total of $2.25 on myself yesterday. Not bad for a day in Midtown Manhattan.
4. Oren's Daily Roast on 58th & Madison has really good espresso. I'm going downtown on Monday to grab a my usual double-long shot at Joe The Art of Coffee while we check out Ground Zero - Thanks to Brian and Belz of the recommendation!
3. After Disney World, FAO Schwartz (the toy store) must be the happiest place on earth.
2. No matter how long it's been since you've seen them or spoken to them, you'll always have family.
And the NUMBER 1 thing I learned the first 2 days in NYC...
1. Do not go to American Girl unless you are willing to take out a second mortgage on your home. I learned this lesson the hard way yesterday. (It, however, wasn't as bad as the guy in front of me in line who spent - no joke - just over $1200 on various dolls, doll outfits and paraphernalia. I thought he was going to pass out when he got the bill)
I'll give you more updates as the days go by and will let you know what I've been doing for my workouts as well. (Just as I expected, the "exercise room" in the hotel has a treadmill, a universal gym and a slant board. It's the size of my closet back home, so I've been doing my workouts in my room).
P.S. I'll be filming some videos next week here while we're back in the city. Stay tuned.
P.P.S. Don't forget to pick-up your copy of The FitAndBusyDad System before you leave to go out of town so you can get your workouts done in 20-minutes or less!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
I AM NOT A BODYBUILDER.
Never was, don't think I ever will be.
Even growing up in the booming bodybuilding culture of the mid to late 90s, it never interested me.
In fact, I always envisioned having the physique of an athlete - Michael Jordan, Jerry Rice, Karch Kiraly (volleyball player? pink hat? No?) - these are the guys who I idolized growing up.
But it wasn't so much what they looked like that impressed me, it was WHAT THEY COULD DO. My goal was to be able to jump like Mike, run routes like Jerry and put a ball hard into the sand like Karch (Still doesn't ring a bell?).
Because I grew up that way - training for performance as opposed to aesthetics - that influenced the way I train myself, train my clients and write my programs today. That interest in performance was why I went to school to study Human Kinetics.
It was always about what I could do to make myself or others perform better.
Training was about supporting my active lifestyle NOT a means of giving me one.
Having 6-Pack Abs, a well defined torso and what some referred to as "horse legs" was just a bi-product of training to be a better athlete.
Therefore, I will never write a bodybuilding based program. I don't even think I know how.
The FitAndBusyDad Lifestyle isn't about bodybuliding or getting massive guns and delts the size of bowling balls.
It's about being able to hold your own with the 20-year-olds at a pick-up game.
It's about loading 5 more rocks onto that wheel barrow that you need cart out of the backyard.
It's about still being able to throw your 10-year-old into the air and catch her without breaking your back.
It's about being able to carry your wife over the threshold even after 5, 10 or 25 years.
I build athletes that can perform...
...and if you push a lawn mower
or carry your kids from the car into bed after a late night
or put them on your shoulders while you're going from Merry-Go-Round to roller coaster at Six Flags...
...Then you're an athlete too! And you should be training like an athlete.
As busy dads involved in our kids lives, we have NO CHOICE but to be ATHLETIC. We have to be able to keep up with our kids. We want to be the STRONGEST dad on the block.
So stop doing bicep curls and do chin-ups instead.
Stop doing seated calf raises and do Siff squats.
Stop doing crunches and do some dead lifts.
Because as much as we won't admit it, we want to hear our kid say to his best friend, "My dad can kick your dad's a$$!"Chris Lopez
P.S. Click HERE to train like an ATHLETE without having to set foot in a gym.
Monday, August 11, 2008
The summer's been incredibly busy and the weather in Toronto this weekend was resemblant to that of late October...it was pretty damn cold for August up here.
So we're packing the kids up and driving to NYC. My cousin's getting married this weekend so we're there give him some moral support.
We're taking the kids to FAO Schwartz to play on the BIG piano. Going to swing by American Doll (although if they think that I'm dropping $100 a piece on a doll they've got another thing coming). We'll go to Niketown and do the whole 5th Avenue and Soho thing. Rozanne and I are going to MOMA to check out the prefab exhibit (it's a dream of ours to build a modern prefab home in the country) and I'm trying to convince her to try to get in on a pick-up soccer game at Central Park. Maybe over to Canal Street for some "Hucci" purses or some "Frada" shoes. I think AJ even wants to find out what the big deal is with a Coney Island Hot Dog too.
The hotel where we're staying at doesn't have a very good gym. After speaking to them on the phone I think they have a universal gym and a slant board to do some "abs". So I'm packing my Lifeline Jungle Gym and maybe my 24kg kettlebell. There's a park close by, so if I wake up early enough I'll be able to get my workouts in. I better be able to , they only last 20-minutes.
I don't want to waste time spending an hour and half to 2 hours going to a gym and doing a "traditional" workout. I want to spend time with the family. Plus, Rozanne won't be cool with me taking off for a huge block of time and leaving her with the kids in an unfamiliar city.
There'll be a lot to do what with the wedding and all the site seeing. So my plan is to use my FitAndBusyDad workouts and follow Brad Pilon's EatStopEat lifestyle 2 or 3 days while we're gone. I'll be filming an updated Vacation Program video and a TOP SECRET video that's still in the works (it'll be pretty cool if I can get away with it).
We're all set to have some fun just being a family without the "distractions" of our regular everyday Toronto life. I'm looking forward to it.
P.S. Does anyone know where the best (organic) espresso is in NYC?
P.P.S. Remember, you don't need a gym to get LEAN & STRONG. Click HERE to get your best FitAndBusyDad body while you're on the road.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I went to pick-up our girls from camp and got backed up in traffic about a mile away because they were shooting a movie by the waterfront.
This created a bottleneck so the whole way through was gridlock…not uncommon for downtown Toronto.
Now if you’re a parent, then you’ll understand our stress. See, at daycare or day camp, you MUST be on time to pick-up your kids. If not, then the camp will take their stopwatch out and charge you $36/minute for EACH MINUTE YOU’RE LATE!
I don’t consider myself to be a cheap guy, but paying out the ear because I’m a couple of minutes late just isn’t acceptable.
So, I put the car in PARK (it was gridlocked anyway) unbuckled my seatbelt, told Rozanne to take the wheel, opened the door and RAN to day camp about a mile away…I had to get there in about 8-minutes before I started getting charged.
I bolted down the waterfront like a man on fire, weaving through tourists and pedestrians! I got there and made it with time to spare – 6 minutes, 24 seconds (or something like that).
Some of you may not think that this is a big deal, but if you’ve read my newsletters and blog posts you’ll know that I HATE running. I come from a background where 400m is long distance!
So how was it then that I was able to run all out for about a mile in just over 6 minutes and NOT train like a runner or run distances longer than 100m?
Well, I’m not sure, but it could be the insane amount of kettlebell swings that I’ve been doing lately that really work my abs, low back, butt and hamstrings.
It could be the limited rest periods that I take between sets in my workouts.
It could be the hills that I sprint up in Toronto’s Riverdale Park once or twice a week…but that usually only takes me 25-30 seconds.
Who knows? All I know is I got there in time and didn’t have to break the bank for being late…NOW THAT’S FUNCTIONAL TRAINING!
P.S. Oh, yeah. Rozanne showed up in the parking lot 30-minutes later while the kids were playing in the playground and I was talking to the other parents by the monkey bars about how insane the traffic in the city was.
P.P.S. Click HERE to become a better runner without having to run!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I was a young athlete growing up in Markham, Ontario, and witnessed my high school PE teacher/volleyball coach, John Spicer do push-ups. John is not a big guy. But, man, was this guy was an athlete! He was about 5'8" and probably 155lbs at the time, but boasted a vertical jump of about 40"!!!
One day after class, "Spice" as he liked to be called, was working out. While all the football guys were taking over the weight room, Spice was off in a corner doing some bodyweight stuff...push-ups, chin-ups off the basketball rim and some squat jumps. Pound for pound, I bet he was the strongest guy in my high school.
Watching him do all that stuff, I think, was an "A-HA" moment for me because it sparked my interest not only in bodyweight training, but TRAINING for PERFORMANCE.
So today's EOTW is dedicated to Mr. John Spicer, my old PE teacher and the man responsible for me taking an interest (and eventually a career) in STRENGTH and CONDITIONING.
The Pistol (or 1-Leg Squat)
The Pistol is one of the hardest exercises to master. It incorporates balance, strength & flexibility all into one exercise. It has a high carryover to sport performance because of the demands that it places on your single working leg (how many sports do you know that are played while 2 feet are on the ground at the same time?)
• Standing on your right leg, brace your abdominals and in a controlled manner, descend into a squat bringing your butt to your calves
• Push your right heel into the ground and maintain your balance as you bring yourself back up to the standing position
• If you are a beginner or If flexibility or strength is an issue, try the ASSISTED VERSION….
o Stand inside a door frame with your right toe right against one side of the frame. With both hands, grab the edges of the frame in front of you. Brace your abs and push your hips back as you descend into a squat
o Push your right heel into the ground and maintain your balance as you bring yourself back up to the standing position using your grip on the door frame for assistance
o *You can also use BLAST STRAPS™ to help assist you with this movement (see picture)
-CL, The FitAndBusyDad
P.S. Become a better athlete and burn fat while doing it...Click HERE to find out how!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
1. My wife Rozanne. She turned 30 a couple of weeks ago, so last Wednesday, we spent THE PERFECT DAY together.
I do what I do and do it well because of her and all the things that the 2 of us were able to create...together.
2. The other "little ladies" in my life. There's no better feeling walking through the door after a long day at the office and seeing these 4 faces running/crawling to the door to say "hello".
3. Kettlebells. I haven't been able to get ANY gym sessions in for the past 3 weeks. First, because my friends at the studio I train out of sold their squat rack for a better one and it doesn't arrive for another 3 weeks. Second, I haven't had the time to do a "traditional" training session for myself so I've been using the KBs to help me keep both my strength and conditioning levels up.
4. The FINAL PRODUCT.
After countless visits to the hospital for mystery infections...
After leaks in the basement, plumbing jobs and fumigations...
After my boys (you know who you are!) getting on my back for not getting sh-t done...
It's finally here...The OFFICIAL FitAndBusyDad E-Book is NOW AVAILABLE!!!
Click HERE now to get your copy!
Friday, August 1, 2008
No, it's not what you think.
Every Friday for the next little while I'm going to be doing a KETTLEBELL SNATCH workout routine. I'd like to eventually do my Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) Certification and one of the prerequisites is for me to do 56 KB snatches in a row with a 24kg kettlebell.
So, I'm going to try to increase my numbers as the weeks go by. I'll be doing a Charles Staley EDT style workout to start where I'll do as many snatches I can within a 15-minute period in sets of 1 to 5 reps switching arms after each set.
So since today's my first day (and I'm recovering from a dirt biking injury - more on that in a future post), here's what went down:
1) Bodyweight Warm-Up followed by 2-Arm KB Swings x 25 reps
2) EDT Style 1-Arm KB Snatches (sets per arm): 3 x 5, 4 x 4, 3 x 2, 1 x 5 = 88 Total Reps (w/ 6 x 1-minute rest periods interspersed between sets)
Not very good, that's about 1 rep every 45s when you break it down. Lots of rest as well because of the shoulder, so I was really trying to keep strict form.
So next Friday morning, I'll try to beat those 88 reps.
This'll be a tough battle each Friday, but it'll be a great way to start off my weekend and kickstart some fat burning before I hit all the weekend BBQs and weddings that are coming up.
Have a great weekend!
P.S. Make sure to check back on Monday for some BIG NEWS!!!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
A little bit of background on my wife's and my relationship...She's my high school sweetheart. We've been together for a very long time and have pretty much grown up together. I'd like to think that I know her pretty well. So for her birthday, I lined up a list of her favorite things to do around the city (of Toronto)...with a few surprises.
I'm pretty lucky living in one of the most beautiful, culturally diverse and friendliest cities in the world. Anyone that tells you otherwise probably hasn't experienced Toronto like I have (having lived here all my life).
We started off the day with a Yoga Class at the Yoga Sanctuary on College Street. We did some Hatha yoga, mainly because Hatha emphasizes breathing, relaxation and meditation (unlike Ashtanga or "power" yoga which is more intense). Our lives are pretty hectic and very "on-the-go", and my workouts are already pretty intense, so to gain an hour or so to relax and meditate was important to starting our day off on the right foot.
I strongly recommend that anyone who finds that things are just too much sometimes to try some meditation, yoga, tai chi or Qi Gong. All of those arts have been practiced for thousands of years, so I figure if it's been around for that long something's gotta be right about them.
***A word of advice about these arts: Don't approach them as a traditional "workout". You'll get much more out of them if you approach it as an exercise for your mind rather than wanting to burn a few extra calories.
After that it was off to brunch at Brassaii on King Street West. Peter & Gus (the owners) are 2 really down-to-earth guys who run a great place with amazing service, an unbelievable atmosphere and the space itself is beautiful. We especially like to take the kids there for brunch on Sunday mornings every now and then. They always make us feel welcome and when you have 4 kids, finding a nice place for Sunday brunch is hard to come about. I highly recommend Brassaii if you're ever in Toronto or the King West neighborhood.
It was off to the Gardiner Museum after that for an exhibition called Object Factory: The Art Of Industrial Ceramics. A few years ago, I would gone to one of these exhibitions (full of everyday ceramic objects) and not really understood the point. "Oooohh, look a plate. Oh wait, look there's another plate with a tea cup". But because my wife is a creative type, she's taught me how to appreciate the detail of things a lot more. So this exhibition was a lot more than a bunch of flat ware and table settings sitting in glass cases that we couldn't touch.
I guess a girl's day couldn't be complete without a little shopping. Off to the Distillery District we went to a store called Lileo. Luckily everything at Lileo was on sale (Note to self: 50-70% off everything in the store = GOOD) so we bought a few things that we would normally NEVER buy at regular price.
The highlight of shopping (I'm a guy, so I hate shopping), Rozanne fit into a pair of Size 24 jeans...thank you EatStopEat!
We stayed in the area and went to Soma, a chocolate shop where they serve gelato, espresso and various artisan made chocolates (they actually make them on-site). I think she had 4 different truffles and I had my usual double espresso and we enjoyed some nice, lite but meaningful conversation.
To end the day we met up with the kids and my father-in-law Roger at Paul's Spaghetti in East York. This is a "Ma & Pa" place that has the best pasta I have ever tasted! AJ, Frankie and I had the penne a la vodka. Rozanne, Joey & Roger had the spaghetti with meat sauce. Pasta's a once-in-a-while treat for us. Funny, but years ago we used to feel guilty about eating it. Now, because we follow my 8 Simple Rules, it's never a problem.
And that was it. Put the kids to bed. Had some blueberries & walnuts. Brushed and flossed. Hit the sack.
Unbelievable day. The Perfect Day.
Happy 30th Birthday.