Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Mike's Boulder Shoulder Workout

Today was a busy day and I missed the opportunity to train at the gym. I decided to head out to the garage and lift a few weights for half an hour or so. Well 80 minutes later I had just smashed my shoulders in a brutal session. I'm lucky to have a good collection of weights and some adjustable barbells and dumbells.

This workout could easily be completed at most gyms if you don't have enough equipment at home. At the moment I am really enjoying my triplesets or triple supersets. They are good for a "pump" and to also keep my heart rate high for some extra fat burning. Tonights workout was:

10 Triplesets of:

Standing BB Military Press (Pyramid - 40, 50, 60, 70, 75, 75, 70, 60, 60, 60/50/40 dropset)
Standing Front DB Raise (12.5kg each) x 10-12 reps
Standing Lateral DB Raise (12.5kg each) x 10-12 reps

10 Triplesets of:

Barbell Upright Row (Pyramid - 40, 50, 55, 60, 65, 65, 60, 55, 55, 50/40/30 dropset)
Reverse DB Flys (15kg each) x 10-12reps
Standing Alternating DB Shoulder Press (15kg each) x 8-14 reps

With the first exercise of each set I pushed out as many reps as I could until failure. My rep range was as high as 25 for the light weights and as low as 3 for the heaviest weight. I then took the other 2 exercises to almost failure or failure.

Please note:

1. All weight is in KG.
2. This is a combined total of 60 sets, which is fairly high. You could always half the sets and work up to 10 of each.
3. Rest was kept between 45-60 seconds to maintain high heart rate!
4. Good luck brushing your hair tomorrow.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Mike's 10 Minute Plank Challenge

Sit-ups, crunches and leg raises are popular abdominal exercises that I see people doing every day in the gym. They pump away rep after rep hoping that their 6 pack will show up in the mirror tomorrow! One of the best abdominal exercises that not enough people do is the plank or bridge. This exercise will strengthen your core muscles more than most other exercises.

I will admit, I am slack when it comes to training my core. My core gets a good workout with my squats, deadlifts and other heavy work, so I often skip any abdominal exercises. Today after my back session I decided to do some planks for a total of 10 minutes. I used my stop watch to start and stop for every set, until I reached a total of 10 minutes. I rested for about 30-40 seconds between each set, so the entire workout took less than 15 minutes. It took me 5 sets to get to the 10 minute mark and just 1 hour later my stomach is already in pain! I'm not looking forward to tomorrow.

Rules:
1. Start in a plank position and start the time.
2. Hold the position for as long as possible and make sure that your core muscles are doing all of the work. If your lower back starts to "sag" in then take a rest.
3. Stop the time when you drop to the floor. Start the time again when you start the next set.
4. Complete as many sets as required to reach 10 minutes in total.
5. Rest for as long as you need to between sets, but try to keep it to under 60 seconds.
6. If you are just a beginner then try for 5 minutes and gradually build up to 10 minutes.
7. Do not take a photo of yourself "planking" and post on Facebook. That is so 2011.
8. Try not to laugh or cough on the next day, because it's going to hurt!

Enjoy!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunday Squat Session

The squat is the king of all exercises! It is a compound exercise that when done correctly will work your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, lower back and abdominals. Basically every muscle from your waist down will get a hammering with squats. Here are just a few of the benefits:
  • Lean muscle mass is increased.
  • Basic metabolic rate will increase with extra muscle.
  • Your general physical fitness and work capacity are improved.
  • You will sleep better... Trust me they are exhausting!
  • Body fat can be lowered.
  • Endorphins will rush through your body!
  • The heavy load on your shoulders, back and legs helps to make your bones stronger by increasing their mineral density.
  • The connective tissues of your body adapt to the load and in turn become stronger.
Squats are a hard exercise and they may require correct coaching from a professional. There are lots of variations with squats and you can start with just your own body weight.

Whenever I train my legs, squats are always on the menu. Sometimes I will do back squats, sometimes I do front squats and other days, like today, I did both. Todays workout had me training in a German Volume Training (GVT) method. 10 sets of 10 reps with a weight I could normally do about 15 reps with. I keep my rest period short between 30-45 seconds. The first few sets feel quite easy, but towards the end my legs are on fire and my lungs are screaming! My weights aren't very heavy, but all of my reps are "full squats" with my ass almost touching the ground.

Leg Extension (warm up and pre-exhaust)
3 sets x 20 reps

Back Squats (80kg)
10 reps x 10 sets - 30-45 second rest.

Front Squats (40-80kg)
5 sets x (15, 12, 10, 6, 3 reps) - 45-60 second rest

Alternating Lunges (40 - 70kg)
4 sets x (20, 20, 16, 14 reps) - 45-60 second rest

Leg Extension (3 sets with last being drop set - start with full stack and work my way up)
3 sets x (12, 12 + 10, 10, 10, 10, 12 reps)

Then I stumble out of the gym. I'm also expecting to be limping for the next 3 or 4 days!


Mike's 100 Burpee Challenge

If you have a spare 10 minutes and feel like getting sweaty, then why not complete 100 Burpees. A Burpee is a compound exercise and requires strength, balance, endurance, and flexibility. It increases your cardio endurance while working the entire body, including the core muscles. There are different variations of Burpees so you can choose one that suits your fitness level.

I was bored this afternoon so I decided to time myself to do 100 Burpees. I hate doing burpees and the most I had done in one go before was about 25. I found that once I got in to the rhythm they became quite easy, but towards the end my legs felt like jelly and I could hardly jump.

My time: 7:12

This was done after a heavy leg session in the morning. I will admit that I did not do a full push-up burpee, rather more of a squat thruster variation.

I should be able to beat that time quite easily next time. I look forward to it... NOT!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Super Saturday Sprint Session

I don't like to run. I am 6'4" and weigh about 90kg. I was not built to run.... That's always my excuse anyway. Once upon a time I was a runner. I was 10-15kg lighter and I would comfortably run 8-10km a few times a week. Since then, I have added muscle and my kilometres on the road have come to a halt.

More recently I have added running back in to my training program. By running I mean sprinting. Rather than jogging for an hour, whether it is outside or on a treadmill, I prefer to get my running done ASAP. The only way to do this is to do sprints or intervals. I alternate between very hard and very easy intervals, usually for about 20-30 minutes. I know that running outdoors has it's benefits, but I find treadmill sprints a better option for me. If the belt is ticking along at 18km/h then I have no option than to run at 18km/h. I find myself "holding back" a little bit if I run outside.

This morning I smashed out about 30 minutes of intervals on the treadmill. I set the incline to 2 and proceeded with fast runs starting at 500m and finishing at 100m sprints. By the end I was exhausted. I literally had nothing left in the tank and it took me a few minutes just to get my breath back! Todays session was:

2 x 500m (12km/h, incline 2)
4 x 400m (13km/h, 14/km/h, 15km/h, 16km/h, incline 2)
4 x 300m (17km/h, 17km/h, 18km/h, 18km/h, incline 2)
4 x 200m (19km/h, incline 2)
4 x 100m (20km/h, incline 2)

I ran a total of 5km of intervals. Between my sprints or sets, I jumped up on the side of the treadmill to get my breath back. This time ranged from 10 seconds recovery to about 25 seconds recovery, depending on how hard I had gone. As my intervals got shorter I increased the speed to keep the intensity high. Next time I will increase my speeds by 1/2 a km on each interval to make sure I am progressing.

I was finished in 30 minutes and I can expect a good 24-48 hours of increased metabolism and fat burning... WINNING!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Mike's Almond & Coconut Butter

Peanut Butter gets boring. Almond Butter tastes good. Almond and Coconut Butter tastes better! Almonds and coconut oil are two foods everyone should include in their diet. They both offer a range of health benefits. Why not combine the two and make a delicious and healthy spread. This is the easiest dish in the world to make. It only takes 30 seconds to prepare and 10 minutes to process!

300g Raw Almonds
2 Tbs Organic Coconut Oil



1 x Food Processor
7-10 minutes of your time (maybe you could do push-ups and squats while you wait)

Add the almonds to a food processor and process. In the first few minutes the almonds will become a fine crumble (almond meal). You may need to scrape the sides a few times.

After 5 mins the almonds will start to extract their oil and the mixture will become moist. Now I add the coconut oil and continue to process.

After 7-10 mins you are done! You should have a creamy and moist paste. Serve into a clean jar or container and lick the spoon!



You could use the almond and coconut butter as a replacement to peanut butter. It can be used in many cooking dishes or if you are like me it is enjoyed straight from the jar with a spoon!

Personally, I love the taste as it is. If you find it a little boring then try adding a small amount of salt.

Please note: May contain traces of nuts.

Enjoy!

Mike's Muscle Sweatfest

Back - Chest - Plyometrics

Some days I head to the gym and all I want to do is lift heavy weights. If I'm feeling really strong I will focus on big compound movements and pyramid up to a heavy weight doing only 1 or 2 reps. Other days I like to get in and pump out the weights, but also increase and maintain my cardiovascular fitness. There is nothing better than pushing yourself so much that you run out of puff and need to rest. But I hate doing cardio. So I've found an alternative!

What I do is superset two muscle groups and combine it with a plyometric exercise as part of a triple superset. You could do this with any muscle groups, but I find it works best with Back and Chest exercises. I try to push each exercise to almost failure. I will choose a weight I can do 12 reps with and try to reach almost failure on every set. Adding the plyometics to the set will have you well on your way to running out of puff!

You can choose different exercises, but today my workout was:

5 Sets of:
Chin Ups (max) - Push Ups (max) - Jumping Squats (20+ reps)

5 Sets of:
Bent-over Barbell Row (10-12 reps) - Incline Bench Press (10-12 reps) - Box Jumps (20+ reps)

5 Sets of:
Lat Pull Down (10-12 reps) - Bench Press (10-12 reps) - Jumping Alternating Lunges (20+ reps)

5 Sets of:
Seated Row/Supported Row (10-12 reps) - Incline DB Bench Press (10-12 reps) - Burpees (10+ reps)

That will be a total of 20 triple supersets or 60 sets in total. You can reduce the number of sets according to your fitness level and how much time you have. This workout took me just over 60 minutes to complete.

I rest for 45 seconds between each set. Just enough time to have a drink, wipe off all the sweat and prepare for the next set. By keeping your heart rate high you will get a great cardio workout and not have to worry about jumping on the damn Treadmill!

Notes:
1. Choose compound exercises which are a lot more demanding on your body.
2. Try to take each exercise to almost failure, with a weight that is challenging for 10-12 reps
3. When finishing with the plyometric exercise, make it intense and stop when you are almost out of puff. For me this is around 20 reps.
4. Keep rest periods short, but long enough to be able to give it another good shot. For me 45 seconds is about enough.

If you're looking for a tough workout that will challenge your strength and cardio fitness combined then give this a shot!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Mike's Muscle Omelette

Perfect and Quick Muscle Meal

1/4 Small Red Onion
1 Asparagus Spear
1/4 Small Red Capsicum
1 Mushroom
1 Cup Egg whites
Handful of Baby Spinach (served separately)
Cracked Pepper

Tsp Olive Oil (or coconut oil)

On low heat, lightly fry chopped vegetables in a fry pan for about 2-3 minutes.
Add egg whites and pepper to pan, stir through mixture and let them set (cover with lid to reduce cooking time).
When egg is set flip one side of the omelette on top of the other.
Serve on a plate with spinach as a side dish.

Enjoy this guilt free high protein meal!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Mike's Muscle Mocha Chill

Perfect for a pre-workout refreshment!

2 Shots Espresso Coffee
1 Scoop Chocolate Whey Protein
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 Handfuls of Ice

Add ingredients to blender and blend for 23 seconds.
Serve in tall glass.
Sprinkle more ground cinnamon on top.

Enjoy!

Chilli Chicken Spaghetti - Without Pasta!

1 Tbs Extra Vgn Olive Oil (coconut oil would be nice)
3 Cloves Fresh Garlic
3 or 4 Fresh Chilli (finely chopped)
1 Medium Onion
500g Minced Chicken Breast
3 Large Mushrooms
3 Spears Asparagus
1 Small Head Broccoli
Cracked Pepper
1/2 Head Cabbage (shredded into long strings - like spaghetti)

Boil large pot of water and add cabbage. Cook until tender. Drain when ready to serve.
On medium heat add oil, garlic, chilli and chopped onion to a frypan and cook for 2 mins.
Add chicken mince and cook thoroughly (I covered pan with a lid to keep moisture in).
Add chopped vegetables and pepper and allow to cook through (cover with lid if required).
Serve cabbage onto plate with chicken mix on top.

Makes 3-4 servings or 2 x Mike Size servings.

Enjoy without feeling guilty!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Mike's X-Fit - 1000 Reps + More!

Are you bored and need a new workout? Try this for time!

1000m row
100 burpees
100 overhead lunges w KB (20kg)
100 split box jumps
100 decline pushups
100 left arm KB swing (24kg)
100 right arm KB swing (24kg)
100 KB crunch (24kg)
100 left KB shoulder press (16kg)
100 right KB shoulder press (16kg)
100 KB goblet squats (24kg)
200 skips
My Time - 54:25

Move between any exercise to complete a total of 100 reps of each. Sleep well!

Chai Protein Iced Tea

Mike's Protein Iced Chai Tea

1 x Organic Chai Tea Bag
1/2 Scoop Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
Large Scoop of Ice + Water
Natural Sweetener/Stevia (optional)

Brew tea bag (and stevia) in small amount of boiling water for 2 minutes.
Remove tea bag.
Add tea mix to protein shaker with protein powder, water and ice.

Shake 47 times.
Pour into serving cup and enjoy!