Count Everything All The Time

29 08 2007

A few posts ago I was talking about the problem of keeping track of reps while doing exercise. The first thing I did was blog about it and see what people had to say. To be honest I was surprised with the suggestions. It was fascinating how different people do things and how most of the time they are unique to that person. Unfortunately, the suggestions I got were not working for me.

I spent a few weeks trying all sorts of things but nothing really worked. Accidentally, as most good inventions,  I started counting the reps in my warm up session. Most of the time I just switched when Shane did or when I felt that the area was ready and it had worked well for me. But when I started counting the reps of the easy part of the workout, it became easier and easier to count during the intense part of the workout.

Counting Out Loud vs. Counting in my Head

It is really important to count out loud when doing hard reps since it helps me keep focus motions and not the counting. Hearing myself say a number allows me to just remember the sound and not worry about the actual amount and what it represents. As I increased weight and had to spend more of my mental energy focusing on every part of the lifting, it became more important not having to think about anything else – specially counting.

On the other hand learning how to keep track of the number of reps without actually counting became easier when I counted everything. It was became more of a intuitive counting which lets me know when I am done.  It is like my brain just started keeping better track. The only issue with this one is that it is less reliable but it is nice when I am still learning a new routine.

Through Breathing Into the Mix

I also discovered that I have to consider my breathing for counting. Some motions are demanding and require more oxygen so I have to make sure to count a rep at a time when I would naturally breath out so I don’t loose the momentum.



Visiting Members

29 08 2007

The BrothersOver the busy summer we have had a few new developments which included the temporary visit of my younger brother. He was only in town for a few weeks but it was great to have another person to workout with.

It was amazing to see what 3 weeks could do for someone. Although there were some challenges at the beginning, especially with form, by the end, Kevin had completely adjusted to the motions and was quickly increasing his strength.

It was great fun to have you over Kevin and we are looking forward to seeing you next summer!

Week 18 (Aug. 13-19) Cycle 3

19 08 2007

As explained earlier this week in “Sprint Cycle”, we are switching it up a bit. This will be a 5 weeks cycle. And we will also be posting the workouts for Erika and Juliet. They are focusing on building a strong foundation for strength and cardio. As Chris and I did, they’ll be starting small and building up from there:)

DAY 1 (Strength)
c-WU-SJ + 2HSW (# 35 KB) x 20

WO- Dbl KB MilPr (#35’s) x 2 + Alternating ReRo x 2/arm, 5 rds, R 1min/rd

Dbl WM (#26 KB up top, #9 KB down low) x 2/side, 2 rds, R 1 min/rd

DL (#115) x 5 + Dbl KB SW (#35’s) x 3 5 rds, R 1 min/rd

s-WU-SJ + 2HSW (# 35 KB) x 20

WO- Dbl KB MilPr (#35’s) x 3 + Alternating ReRo x 3/arm, 5 rds, R 1min/rd

Dbl WM (#35 KB up top, #26 KB down low) x 2/side, 2 rds, R 1 min/rd

DL (#115) x 5 + Dbl KB SW (#35’s) x 5, 5 rds, R 1 min/rd

Kevin-WU-SJ + 2HSW (# 26 KB) x 10

WO – CL (#9 KB) x 5/arm, 3 rds, R1 min/rd

MilPr (#9 KB) x 3/arm, 3 rds, R 1min/rd

SQ x 10, 3 rds, R 1min/rd

Note: The #9 KB was actually pretty light for Kevin, but the #26 was too heavy. So for the sake of learning proper form, he used the #9.

DAY 2 (Rest)

DAY 3 (Strength)
c-WU-SJ + 2HSW (# 35 KB) x 20

WO- Dbl KB FlPr (#35’s) x 2 + Dbl BOR x 3, 5 rds, R 1min/rd

Dbl KB FSQ (#35’s) x 5 + KB SN (#26) x 3/side, 5 rds, R 1 min/rd

s-WU-SJ + 2HSW (# 35 KB) x 20

WO- Dbl KB FlPr (#35’s) x 3 + Dbl BOR x 5, 5 rds, R 1min/rd

Dbl KB FSQ (#35’s) x 3 + Dbl KB SN (#35’s) x 3, 5 rds, R 1 min/rd

Rowing Machine: c & s– 5 min WU, then pick up to a steady pace for 10 min, go for a walk around the block to cool down.

Note: Rowing done at another time during the day, ie before lunch or after work. I’m usually home for lunch, so I’m using our rower. Chris has a a gym near his work, so he’s using a NICE Concept 2 rower, 3 days a week 🙂

Note: Chris’s FSQ’s were just below parallel. We’re going to work on continuing to increase his range of motion.

Kevin-WU-SJ + 2HSW (# 26 KB) x 10

WO – SW (#26 KB) x 10, 3 rds, R1 min/rd

Jerk (#9 KB) x 5/arm, 3 rds, R 1min/rd

Sprint 25m, walk back to start line, 3 rds

e & j – WU-SJ + 2HSW (#9 KB) x 10

WO – CL (#9 KB) x 5, 3 rds (switch off with each other, each round)

SW (#9 KB) x 5, 3rds (switch off with each other, each round)

THU (#9 KB) x 5, 3rds (switch off with each other, each round)

End: Run 320m

Note: Today was Erika and Juliet’s first day with us. Just as Chris and I did, we’re going to start in slow. We’ll focus on laying a solid foundation of strength, form and cardio, incrementally increasing work capacity as we go.

DAY 4 (Power)
c & s WU-SJ + 2HSW (#35 KB) x 20c row

Rowing Machine: Start off with 1 min at a steady pace. Then:

30 sec sprint + 2 min at steady pace, 4rds Total time rowed: 11 min.

Note: On our day 4, we are rowing with our rower here.

DAY 5 (Strength, Circut-for Kevin)

c-WU-SJ + 2HSW (# 35 KB) x 20

WO- Seated MilPr (#26) x 2 + Alternating ReRo x 3, 5 rds, R 1min/rd

WM (Single) (#35 KB) x 2/side, 2 rds, R 1 min/rd

DL (#120) x 5 + Dbl KB HP (#35’s) x 3, 5 rds, R 1 min/rd

s -WU-SJ + 2HSW (# 35 KB) x 20

WO- Seated MilPr (#35) x 3 + Alternating ReRo x 3, 5 rds, R 1min/rd

WM (Single) (#35 KB) x 3/side, 2 rds, R 1 min/rd

DL (#120) x 5 + Dbl KB SW (#35’s) x 5, 5 rds, R 1 min/rd

Rowing Machine: c & s– 5 min WU, 30 sec Sprint, 30 sec , 4rds, cool down.

Kevin-WU-SJ + 2HSW (# 26 KB) x 10

WO – Run 400m + 5 PSU + 5 SU, 3 rds Time:

e & j – WU-SJ + 2HSW (#9 KB) x 10

WO – CL (#9 KB) x 5, 3 rds (switch off with each other, each round)

SW (#9 KB) x 10, 3rds (switch off with each other, each round)

WM (#9 KB) x 3, 3rds (switch off with each other, each round)

End: Run 320m

DAY 6 (Rest)

DAY 7 (Rest)

Sprint Cycle

17 08 2007

sprintAs I mentioned earlier, in “Re-Assessment”, we are switching it up a bit. For the next 5 weeks we will be doing a new cycle. We’ll call it a sprint cycle. We are going to be following a pretty standard program out there known as “5 x 5”. We are using the 5 x 5 as prescribed by Mike “Mahler’s Aggressive Strength: Kettlebell Solution for Size and Strength”. You can check it out here on his site: Mike Mahler (about 2/3rds down the page). We are making a few modifications to accommodate our goals. One, the program calls for doing Double Kettlebell Squats on all 3 days. We’re going to do the Double KB Squat on day 2, and replace the other 2 days with Deadlifts (to keep that progress going). We’re also going to throw in some extra rowing. On the 3 days we workout, we’ll be throwing in an extra 15min of rowing at another point in the day (either at lunch or after work). And we’ll have a 4th day dedicated solely to rowing. They’ll mostly consist of high intensity rowing. I’m usually home for lunch, so I’m using our rower. Chris has a gym near his work, so he’s using a NICE Concept 2 rower, 3 days a week 🙂

Now the idea of this sprint cycle was a break. You may be thinking to yourself “A break? You guys are throwing in an extra workout a day, how’s that a break?” When we re-assessed that our timeline for completing “300” was going to need extension, we decided we needed to move away from the training we were doing for “300” for a bit, for a mental break. Just to do something else, a shorter cycle with another goal in mind to complete (hence “sprint”). And then we’ll come back to “300”. I mean, what’s the rush? Completing “300” is not a matter of “if”, just a matter of “when”. And “when” doesn’t really matter. It’s not like we’re training for a “300” competition or something. It is merely the end goal of one of the journey’s we are currently on. And for us, the journey, and the learning and growth that come with it, are what’s important.

We decided we were in pretty decent shape and that, for a month (well, 5 weeks), we could crank it up a bit. The goal for this cycle, as Chris has mentioned, is “shed”. With the addition of the rowing and some refinement in our diets, we’re going to see if we can’t shed a few tenacious pounds of padding (and bring some of that armor to the surface;). No, we are absolutely NOT setting a goal for the number of pounds lost. We are just going to follow thru with this program and see if we can’t shed a few. Think of it as walking to your destination. Then at one point you sprint half a block and then get back to walking. Just gets you there a tad faster;)



16 08 2007

shAt the end of week 16, we had scheduled a re-assessment to see where things were at and our progress towards accomplishing “300”. Looking at our current fitness level, we saw that we were not yet there and that to be there in the next 3 weeks was unrealistic (for us). The main exercise we still needed to build our capacity in was the deadlift. To be able to pull 135 lbs 50 times is not quite within our reach. Personally, I think we could probably do it, we just wouldn’t be able to jump…….well, at all, in order to complete the Box Jumps afterward;). We talked about whether we needed to do the actual “300” test or whether we would just want to adjust certain weights to within barely reachable goals and make that our “300” test. That was very quickly squashed as we both knew neither of us wanted to compromise on the standard of this particular goal. It was something we set for ourselves and something we want to see thru to the end (although it is not the main focus. Our main focuses are the qualities we develop along the way. “300” just gives us a direction to move in).

That means we’re going to need to extend our projected goal. And coming to that realization, did result in a tinge of feeling daunted. It can be tough when you shoot towards something and you can’t quite seem to get there. And when it feels like it keeps getting farther away from you, it begins to get difficult to find the motivation to follow thru and attain it. This, in and of itself, is a small test, but a test on two different levels. On one level it’s a test of the goal itself and the level of importance it plays in your life. Because there are times when the goals we are working towards are in fact not that important to our overall wellbeing and forward progress. And then of course there are those times when they are. Then it becomes a test of the strength of our character and our ability to draw on those reserves deep within us, to persevere and to accomplish the goal. Recognizing the difference between the two? Well wonderfully, although we can always bounce ideas off of and get insight from others, that is only something we can each, in the end, answer for ourselves individually.

So we are going to step away for about a month (different type of workout with different goals), before returning to a more focused effort in accomplishing “300”.

Stay tuned……🙂


Evolution of a Gym…..and a Family:)

15 08 2007

chr supWith the ladies joining us, it is an evolutionary step in Gym Jane. We could have had 10 other people exercising with us and it would not have taken us to the new stage that this will. Why you ask? Not just because we’ve got kids….but because we’re all part of the same family! Erika and Juliet get up with the kids on our workout mornings, so we never had to worry about that. Of course, by virtue of short exercise duration, Chris and I get our workouts in and can still help get the kids ready for their day beforeerka we’re off to work. But now with all four of us getting our workouts done in the morning, because realistically it’s the only time we all have energy, we are going to have to adjust and as a family to ensure that the kids are taken care of and nothing throws them off their regular routines, as we isaalso take care of our needs and the resulting growth that comes from that. Now grant it, we’ve had Olee (my son) and Isabella (Chris’s daughter) joining us most mornings, watching and hanging out while we workout, but they’ve always had the flexibility to go in when they wanted. So now we’ll be doing it in two segments, Chris and I a little earlier in the morning and then the ladies. That way we can switch off with the kids.bubba

And what’s really neat about all this is that Chris and I started all this, as PARTS of our families, to ensure that we were able to take care of our physical, mental and spiritual fitness, which then resulted in our ability to put greater energy into our families. Like we say in our little description to the right there:
“Gym Jane: A place for people with families to find space for physical, mental and spiritual fitness”.

huliWhere the evolution comes in is now rather than, as PARTS of the family, “a place for ‘people with families’” to find that balanced fitness, we are “a place for ‘Families’ (as in the WHOLE family) to find space for physical, mental and spiritual fitness”. Quick note here; I’m not saying that by taking part in Gym Jane, Erika and Juliet will now gain physical, mental and spiritual fitness. As a family, we all have been moving together on the mental and spiritual fitnesssh and ol path, Juliet and Erika being miles ahead of us in those departments;) But now they’ll get to bring about that balance by addressing their physical fitness, as well. And the result and greatest benefit of all of us, as parents of children, treading this balanced path, will be the unconscious, but strong, foundation being laid for our kids. And this will hopefully put them light years ahead of us as they become contributing members of this global society.


Expanding Our Vocabulary

15 08 2007

So this morning was the first morning that Chris, Erika, Juliet and I all worked out. Chris’s younger brother Kevin also joined us. And of course some visiting by the kids:) Get all these people together and the “Moments” come in droves.

I was teaching Kevin the proper form and execution of the jerk. I said “this one’s called a Jerk”. Kevin, in his best defensive, South Park voice, responded with….”You’re a Jerk…”:)

Chris and Kevin were heading in after we were done our workouts and Olee came out as Erika and Juliet were getting ready to start their workout. He saw Kevin heading upstairs and said “Kewin…exercise…” The boy’s just a year and 3/4’s old.

Also during the transition between the two workouts, Diego came charging out the door (this was the first time he’s been out with us during the workouts). He was so excited, laughing and screaming. He immediately ran over to the two 35 lbs kettlebells and (with perfect squat form, little kids are amazing that way) tried to lift them. As he did that he said “Ooooooo……hewy” (translation: heavy). This boy is just a year and a half:)

I told the ladies we were going to start with Super Joints (the joint mobility warm-up we do) and Olee, without hesitation and smiling up at his mom and aunt, started doing arm circles and rotating his hips….

As Juliet was doing a Turkish Half-Up, Olee squealed with delight “Mama…….. kededubedubell”! (translation: kettllebell:)