Archive for the 'Workouts' Category

Collective Fitness Wisdom

Collective Fitness Wisdom from people I have trained with who are in great shape naturally! zentofitness.com

Father and Son

Scott Ableman

This list of bullet points is compiled from tips and advice I have picked up over the years from people I have met at gym’s or while training who were in great shape without being obsessed with their training. It was a mind opening experience digging these up from my memory, hope you find a few things you can put to use.

-All the people I know who are in great shape, with athletic and muscular physiques do not pay much attention to eating regularly. They eat when they are hungry and usually have about 3 meals a day. Most even skip breakfast.

-They all do  heavy compound exercises like Squats, Bench Presses, and Military Presses

-Most go running or jogging

-Body weight exercises like dips, chins and pushups are staples of their training regimes

-Eating wholefoods is important to them. They may not know much about nutrition, but they know enough to stay away from McDonalds and other junk.

-Most don’t use any supplements except for a Multi-Vitamin and the occasional scoop of Whey

Coffee is pre-workout and morning fuel

-Bananas are good in their opinion, and most seemed to eat lots

-Nearly all participated in a sport regularly whether it be soccer, tennis or martial arts

-All the bigger guys did body part splits and demolished each body part once or twice a week

-The guys is the best shape trained for 4-5 hours a week in total

-None were vegetarians but most did not care about their intake of protein

-The bigger guys were all fairly strong but nothing extraordinary

-They all lived life with training thrown in, not training with life thrown in

-Most go out and drink/eat socially a few times a week

-At least 5 people have told me their best fat loss has come from jogging on an empty stomach with going to bed slightly hungry

While I know some people who look great may have good genetics to thank but I think they all have value worth taking out of what they do. Remeber this site has officially moved to:

http://zentofitness.com

Should we be doing Gym Workouts fasted?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a huge fan of short intense body weight and aerobic work on an empty stomach in the morning prolonging the fast for about an hour after the session is finished. I feel these sessions burn body fat and they are a great start to the day. The sessions I am talking about are either short runs or body weight based met-con circuits like I mentioned in my previous blog post.

As well as this working out first thing in the morning is the best time to get workouts out of the way leaving the day free to live our lives.

What about longer resistance gym based weights sessions?

Maybe I am odd but I have tried to do heavy lifting first thing in the morning fasted on several occasions and have found that I feel very lethargic and weak, my lifts on compounds do not get near to the maximum weight I could lift. As well as this the workouts seem to affect my mood for days to come especially if I push too hard doing a Power Law Based training session.

From reading around I have come to the conclusion most people feel the same and to me it comes down to a few things;

  1. firstly our bodies are in a detox mode in the morning and more geared towards the ridding of toxins and therefore primed for aerobic activity which would include trail running, walking and high rep body weight work.
  2. If you have already fasted from say 6PM the previous evening and had a dinner based on wholefoods (Meat, Vegetables, Good Fat and Fruit) it is likely your muscle glycogen is very low which will stop you performing at your maximum level by the time you get to your workout at 8-9AM.
  3. Resistance work fasted hits your CNS harder potentially effecting your mood for days to come. Especially when done at High Intensity.
Martin Berkhan from leangains.com has a great insight on workouts when Intermittent Fasting:
Morning workouts and IF      

I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how to structure meals in combination with morning workouts, without deviating from the plan; being that an 8 hour feeding phase is one of the fundamentals of the diet, morning workouts would have one starting the fast quite early, which for most people may feel a bit harder than fasting throughout the morning/lunch hours. Here’s what I’ve responded to a recent post, adressing my opinion on the subject matter:

Anyway, I am interested in your take on working out in the morning and how to fit that in w/ IF. I have been doing IF and feeling great but can only work out in the morning and, so take my post workout meal at that time. Is this ok, or what do you recommend?

“…for morning workouts, I usually recommend compromising a bit. The way I set this up, is to place a certain % of total calorie intake in an 8 hr feeding window pre-and post WO, and then “taper” calories towards the evening (high protein/low carb) in order to make a transition into the fasted phase (as low carb mimicks the effects from fasting to a certain degree). Thus, the feeding phase will be slightly longer than 8 hrs on workout days, but I consider this a good compromise in order to get proper PWO nutrition. Of course, one could go about this by initiating the fast in the afternoon/evening, but many consider this a bit daunting (and anecdtoally, fasting in the morning/lunch hours seems easier).”

What to do if you don’t feel your best working out with weights fasted?
If you must do your primary heavy resistance training first thing in the morning and yu are someone who does not tolerate fasted workouts well I can offer the following tips:
  • Have a piece of fruit before hand like a banana seems to do an amazing job at keeping our bodies in a negative energy balance whilst allowing you to perform well in the morning and burn fat. I have been experimenting with a banana and a shot of expresso pre workout (30 mins before) and it has been great, I suspect my insulin levels are kept low enough to encourage fat burning during the workout.
  • Try and do more light running/pushups/Pullups and squats first thing in the morning and fit in your gym based work in the evenings.
  • Experiment with Branched Chain Amino acids. I am not a huge fan of supplements like these but they will give you energy to get through workouts whilst keeping your body in a fasted state, 5-10 grams will do.
  • Eat dinner later at night. This is a tricky one as we want to go to bed with a somewhat empty stomach as to maximize growth Hormone release so be careful with this one, the main premise is to make the fast before the workout shorter but still be in a fasted state.
  • I will sometimes do fasted resistance work on mornings after cheat meals/dinners as I have normally eaten loads of high carb foods leaving me with plenty of muscle glycogen allowing me to steam roll through workouts, in spite of having fasted for several hours.
The take out point here is that everyone is different I know some people perform fine first thing in the morning whilst others suffer. If you are someone who does not fare well doing heavy resistance work while fasted then I suggest you experiment with some of the tips above and see what works for you or try and schedule your workouts to times you have some fuel in the system.

How to keep fit while Traveling/Working

How to keep fit while Traveling/Working

Fitness and Nutrition while on Holiday/Travelling harder than we come to expect, staying in shape during these times can be a test of will and dedication. I have picked up the following tips that helped me keep in shape during my busiest periods;

-Eat a light breakfast or fast if you do not exercise that morning. Usually I will get up and get going picking up a black coffee en route followed by some fresh fruit/nuts and cold water. This normally keeps me full until midday time if I haven’t exercised. Plus it keeps me mentally sharp and feeling light. If I do exercise that morning I will have a more substantial breakfast around 1 hour after the workout something along the lines of some eggs/bacon and fruit or a high fiber breakfast like yoghurt, nuts and berries.

-If I go out for a big dinner where I overeat I will normally skip breakfast and just drink water especially if I had substantial fats and red meat in the evening meal. Our bodies are very efficient at conserving proteins and therefore we are fine to cleanse in the morning. This depends of course on how you feel in the morning just listen to your hunger.

Drink Coffee this stuff is amazing it helps me keep focused whilst giving me a mood boost. Not to mention its health benefits and cleansing properties. Make it black and have it while your on an empty stomach. First thing in the morning is a great time as it will boost your metabolism and get you feeling good for the day.

Improvise with your workouts; Go for short runs with sprints and jumping squats mixed in, do pull-ups in playgrounds and do loads of pushups (Put some books in a backpack to add weight to these), Use your suitcase as a weight. Keep your workouts short and intense and play as much as you can.

Want a $10 (or less) gym? Buy a used backpack. Now do sets of 10 reps for 3 sets of pushups, pullups, lunges (up a hill), 1 legged squats and put weights/sand/water/books in the backpack. No excuse not to workout, adjust weights as needed….and if you really want some fun, hold the weighted backpack over your head while you lunge up a hill (disclaimer – my version of fun may be different from yours).

Try to explore by renting bike’s or going for Jog’s if your in a new city.

Don’t get too tied up with what you eat! often its out of control we need to socialize and that may mean eating pizza, ice cream, cake whatever. Just try to eat wholesome foods 80% of the time and eat what life throws at you for the other 20%. If you feel guilty about eating something DON’T just workout a little bit harder the next day, to burn off the extra glycogen stores you built up. I usually find after an evening of bad eating my will to eat well and exercise is far stronger.

Enjoy the Fresh Local things. I always find that when traveling the best foods are always things like the local fruits and vegetables or cheese’s so enjoy these things. They are great for you and are something you won’t be able to get again at home.

Eat when your hungry. I mean really hungry not at a small hunger pang. Stick to whole foods when possible, a great post about this is at the modern forager.

-Take a good Multi-vitamin and and Cod Liver Oil. Also keep Zinc Lozenges (Gluconate) at hand for times when your tired or starting to feel run down. These are essential supplements and are needed to bolster the immune system while traveling.

-If you have a big dinner with drinks (wine/beer) etc and over indulge go for a quick run fasted in the morning, this will help flush the toxins out of your body and burn up last nights food. This is a great time to exercise while traveling as it leaves you with the rest of the day to do what you want.

-Remember to keep your brain fit. When travelling you have less distractions and more time to read. Don’t let this oppurtunity slip, remember;

This time next year the only things that will change are the books you read and the people you meet 

Finally Enjoy the journey have fun, try new things and keep fit. At times it will seem hard to go for a workout or run but you will always feel better afterwards.

My Top Tips for Muscle gain without fat!

I have always struggled to gain mass and always felt that mass came with too much added fat when I ate 5 times a day. Recently though thanks to site’s like Art Devaney and the IF life I have developed simple methods for a gaining mass whilst staying lean. I am going to keep it very simple and will also stick in a sample workout.

Eat when you are hungry. I mean genuine hunger not at the slightest hunger pang, make sure you eat good whole food; Prepare a huge salad with things like avocado, olives and good oils. Have eggs and fruit for breakfast. One of the most important things I have relaised in recent months is tat muscle gain is a hormonal occurrence all you can do is trigger it by working out and feeding your body good wholesome foods.

I normally eat 3 times a day but graze on berries, nuts and vegetables throughout the day. I will make a post on a sample menu soon. The basic premise is good wholesome food, when hungry and eat well.

Optimize your Growth Hormone output. My main tips for achieving this are to go to bed slightly hungry (no food for 2-3 hours before) Also do not eat anything for 1-2 hours after GH releasing activities (Sprints, weights etc)

Supplements. This one is simple take a high quality Cod Liver Oil which gives you roughly 10,00iu of Vitamin A per day (usually 1 tbsp). Also take a good quality Zinc and Magnesium supplement (before bed). Also consider taking kelp and a B complex.

Enjoy Life. Have a glass of wine or a beer with dinner, Socialize with good people and practice being zen and calm. If you are not relaxed your body will not be keen to build muscle. Also do not worry about eating bad food once in a while, treat yourself to that slice of cake once a week, or have a pizza. Just add an extra 10 minutes cardio next time you workout if you feel bad about it.

Sample workout– Thsis is a simple plan for working out for muscle gain, it is based on power law training so it is to be done in the 15-8-4 format with little/no rest.

  • 4-5 20 second sprints on a stationary bike with 1 minute slow pace in between each one.
  • Front Squats or Thrusters (Alternate)
  • Dumbbell Pullover
  • Bent Over Row
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Dips (Weighted if you can)
  • Standing Barbell bicep curls
  • Weighted Ab crunches
  • Nice walk as a cool down

Thats is each excersise 15-8-4 reps shouldnt take longer than 20-30 minutes if your working out ferosiously. Just do this 2-3 times a week. Eat food 1-2 hours later. Also try to increase the weight you are pushing with each week.

Quick morning jog

This mornings workout was done after a cup of coffee (Black) I went out planning to have fun during a short jog. I ended up doing some downhill sprints, these are very refreshing and energizing and almost feel like a tonic for the body. They are simple just walk up a small hill and sprint down as fast as you can and repeat a few times.

I also threw in some pushups during the run not too many just enough to warm up and gain a slight pump. I threw some sidestepping into the jog as well. The workout took about 25 minutes and left me feeling refreshed. Breakfast was about 1 hour after the workout ended.

I picked up the tip on downhill sprints from Arthur De Vaney’s website while browsing through his archives. They are extremely enjoyable and seem to give the body a rush of excitement and provoke rejuvenation to some extent. Well worth throwing into days when you play.

Breakfast was;

-1 egg

-Some Pastrami

-Berries and an apple

Lean hunt

Recently with the nice weather I have been doing a lot of fasted AM workouts. They feel great and allow me to feel peaceful throughout the day, I try to look at them like they are lean hunts as if I am earning my food for the coming day/days. Its a nice feeling to have, makes stuff taste better and life slow down.

-4 sets of bike sprints lasting 20-30 seconds

-Leg Press

-Leg Extension

-Stiff legged DB deadlift

-DB flat bench press

-Bent over row and some pullups

-Standing shoulder press

-Seated Row (Wide Grip)

-Finished off with some ab work and bicep curls

This workout took around 40 minutes and all the exercises were done using power law principles. I think I pushed myself too far felt pretty tired after. On the way home I picked up some food and had my PW meal about 90 minutes after finishing the workout, tasted amazing;

-Raw Honey, canned pumpkin, raw egg, Natural organic Yoghurt all mixed together

-Platter of melon and pineapple

-Coffee

Lean hunts are great but don’t overdo them, if your doing High intensity training I would do about 2 a week maximum. Other mornings go for a light jog or go play around in the park (running, sprinting, jumping jacks, run backwards, burpees, grab a ball throw it and run after it, just play)

EF Workout Power Law Training- FASTED

Went to the gym fasted yesterday morning to promote Growth Hormone release. I arrived at around 8AM and did a workout lasting just over 30 minutes that was as follows:

  • 4 twenty second stationary bike sprints with 1 minute low intensity rests in between. This got a good burn going on in my legs.
  • Squats using the 40kg for 15 Reps then 80kg x 8 Reps followed by 120kg x 3reps
  • Standing Shoulder press with DB’s 12-8-4-3 Reps
  • Leg Extension and Leg Curls super sets 12-8-4 Reps
  • Incline BB bench Press 5-3-5 Reps
  • One Arm DB Row 5-5-5 Reps
  • Rope Bicep Curls 15-8-4 Reps
  • Cable Crunch 15-8-4 Reps
  • Finished the workout with some stretching and deep breathing
It was a very stimulating workout and felt refreshing, working up a good sweat. Afterwards I walked home and fasted for a further two hours. At this point I ate some Fresh fruit, with eggs and some raw nuts.