Saturday, March 19, 2016

Day 5 of 90 Day Cut | Leg Day (Boosting T-Levels)

Hello readers!

I decided that all of my off days, I am not going to blog unless I have a topic that I would like to talk about. Tomorrow is going to be an off day, however I will be blogging about the importance of rest intervals and how it can really set the pace of your workout. 

Today was leg day! It's the day that most people dread and some people even tend to skip. That is probably the last thing you want to do, unless you don't mind looking like this:

Too many of these folks :(

I understand the dread of maybe the squat, certainly for a lot of tall folks but you gotta do it people! It's the largest muscle group of the body and with that being said, it can help facilitate growth by raising your T-Levels (testosterone). What's the benefits of testosterone? It can help reduce body fat, increase muscle growth, maintain bone density, increase strength and athletic performance, etc. SO basically, don't skip it folks!

Leg Day (60 - 90 Seconds rest)
5 x 10-12 Abductor Machine

5 x 10-12 Adductor Machine

5 x 8-12 Leg Extension (double drop set into single leg)
Superset w/ 4 x 10 Dumbbell Front Squat

5 x 10 Hack Squat (Single Drop Set) 

5 x 8-12 Seated Leg Curls (Double drop set into single leg)
Superset w/ 5 x 10 Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

3 x 15 Prone Leg Curls
Superset w/ 3 x 10 Dumbbell Front Squat

I started off on the treadmill for just ten minutes to get my heart rate elevated. I went straight to the two movements to help strengthen my hips. I start the weight fairly low to get the best full range of motion, but then increasing per set into about 75-85% of my body weight. The movements are really just ways for me to open up my hips, while also strengthen them. I think alot of guys tend to lack doing this movement, which isn't the smartest since guys tend to have really tight hip by nature.

If you noticed, no squats. Yes I need to do it, I know that. Like I stated in my other post, a lot of superset that I do incorporate movements involving my hips. I need to really open my hips flexibility up. They are also great movements to do to keep the workout rest periods to a minimum. The weights today was around 70%, really focusing on the contractions. I was getting a pretty sick pump into my 3rd set with the hack squats. I was sweating profusely at this point. Leg day is honestly a love/hate relationship. It's something I really hate doing, but at the same time I can see the major benefits of it especially in the burning fat department.

I was in and out within an hour. Leg days are a little bit longer then most days just because the rest periods tend to be longer since it's a large muscle group. Leg day is always a success when you can't even walk out of the gym right lol. Hope ya'll enjoy the read! Stay great my friends!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Day 3 (Shoulder Day)| Persistence and Consistency

Hello Readers!

After the last two days, my upper body is really starting to feel the DOMS (Delay Onset Muscle Soreness), but with all training programs, they key is staying persistent. No true success happens overnight, it is the actions we take daily that will determine the overall outcome. With that being said, your health and your desired physique does not all of a sudden change overnight. It's just the matter of being persistent with your goals and consistent with our actions.  Let's quote the little green man," do or do not, there is no try." (I find this highly appropriate since it's also St. Patty's Day lol)

Shoulders (60-90 Second Rest as Needed)
5 x 10-12 Seated Machine Lateral Raises (double drop set on last set)

5 x 10 Seated Cable Shoulder Press (double drop set into single arm shoulder press)
superset w/ 4 x 8-10 Seated Lateral Raises (slight forward lean, heavy rear-delts emphases)

5 x 8-10 Standing Single Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press (single drop set)
superset w/ 4 x 10 Front Raises with Plate (Push out at the top to target front delts)

2 x 10 Seated Behind the Neck Shoulder Press

3 x 10 Cable Rear Delt Flyes

3 x 10 Full Range-Of-Motion Cable Front Raises (Dual Cross Over)

Finisher (no rest)
3 x 20 Kneeling Cable Shoulder Press (Dual Cross Over)
superset w/ 3 x 10 Dumbbell Front Squats

Kinda funny looking back on what I actually did today. I felt like I was at the gym forever, but again, I was only there for 50-55 minutes. Looking at the list, it looks like I did only 6 work outs for my shoulders, but those supersets count! If you have ever done a superset, you know how tasking and exhausting it can be, especially supersetting with the same muscle group rather then hitting an antagonist muscle group. This allows more overall volume on the muscle, and less recovery. Like all upper body day, I did my upper mobility warm-up. I did alot of different variations of internal and external shoulder rotation (with cable machine, with bands, with dumbbells, etc) to really get the rotator cuffs going. I have a lot of stiffness in my left shoulder due to the last two days, but its been loosen up.

With the front raises with the plate, I hold the plate actually at the bottom and almost like I am pushing it upright. At the very top, I also give it a little push and push my head through my arms, really incorporating the front deltoid. I made sure that I hit all of my delts and really get those pauses in. As I am typing up this blog, my shoulders are just burning it up.

The finisher was what really got to me today. Finishers are always suppose to be very achievable, but that doesn't mean that they don't suck. I almost threw up after doing them today. It doesn't seem like alot, but my abs are sore from yesterday and while I am kneeling and pressing, my abs are what keeps me stable. Same with the dumbbell front squat. Abs can honestly be incorporated in every movement, as long as you keep them tight along with your posture. Remember, your abs are what keeps you upright along with spine. It's basic function is to 'stabilize'. 

There is a little quote that goes, "If you are persistent you will get it, if you are consistent you will keep it." This is true in all aspect of life. If you are seeking an education, job opportunities, or just seeking a BIG dream, you'll eventually WIN BIG. Be persistent with your dreams and be consistent with your actions. It is the hustle within all of us that will ultimately determine not just where we might find ourselves later in life, but finding your self worth. We all have so much to offer, we just need to find our niche and OWN IT.

Stay great, my friends.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Day 2 of 90 Day Cut/Progression Check| High Volume Back Day

Today was back day! Back day of the course of the last 2-3 years has been a huge emphasize in my training. I was always a natural when it came down to the bench press, due to a lot of push ups done on late school nights while growing up (I had no idea what I was doing, but push ups, sit ups, and dumbbell curls where my best friend growing up in the lonely south). Today's training volume (Reps x Sets) was higher then usual, which is a good thing because the intensity (% Compare to 1 Rep Max) was around 70-85%. This is great because that means I am making progress in my 'gainz'. I still am ultimately training to lose weight/cut, so I made sure to either do a couple of drop sets perworkout and/or include supersets, making my overall training volume very high.

Back/Biceps (1 minute rest per set)
4 x 10-12 Lat Pull Down (not including 2 warm-up sets) (Double Drop Set last Set)
Superset w/ 4 x 10 Standing Cable Biceps Curl (Alternate Wide/Close Grip per set)

5 x 10-12 Machine Lat Pull Overs

5 x 10 Hammer-Strength High Row (Single Drop set last set)
superset w/ 4 x 10 Zottman Curl

4 x 10-12 Standing Dumbbell Bicep Curls
Superset w/ 4 x 10 Stiff Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

5 x 10 Hammer-Strength Row (Double Drop Set)

3 x 10 Standing Cable High Row
Superset w / 3 x 10-12 Single Arm Cable Bicep Curls

Finisher (Abs)
3 x 20 Seated Weighted Abdominal Curls
Superset w/ 3 x 10 Back Extension (No Rest)

I warmed up by doing a quick 5 minute jog on the treadmill while listening to one of my e-books. I immediately followed that with some upper body mobility to help loosen my joints. I was already fairly warm due to the weather outside being absurdly humid, plus driving in your car with no windows or AC on while wearing a hoodie will do the trick.

Whenever I start the actual workout, I always do a couple of warm-up sets before actually hitting the working sets. This is just another way of 'insurance', making sure I am definitely warm and my joints are in it for the long haul. You can never be too safe when it comes to your body. Plus when you are properly warmed up, you notice the mind-muscle connection is almost unreal. I felt all of the pauses at the contraction phase, which is a must if you are training to for hypertrophy.

One of the biggest things I have been doing is adding supersets that also focus on my hips. Stiff leg dumbbell deadlifts is an example. I always make sure I am leading with my glutes/ass, allowing my body to naturally sink through the hips while leaning forward. I HATE squats but its a must when it comes to leg day, so to help with that particular motion, you'll see a lot of supersets that either include stiff leg dumbbell deadlift or dumbbell front squats, if not both.

The gym was packed but I didn't let that stop me. I hit all of my sets aggressively, with an abdominal finisher, which was a pain but well worth it. Felt my lower back doing work, which I was happy with. I was in and out of the gym within 55 minutes, not bad for going right before peak time, or the industry calls it 'prime time'. Overall, the workout was a success! Hope ya'll enjoy the read. :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Day 1 of 90 Day Cut/Progression Check| Actions over EVERYTHING

Hello fellow readers and bloggers,

Today was my first day on a 90 day challenge that I have committed to myself. Last year, I was very much on track with my progressions, going from a 200lb winter bulk to a 185lb cut. However, it was not the results I wanted. I fell off of a consistent 4-5 day per week sessions to just 3 days a week post-seizure due to not wanting to exert mental and physical stresses. I have been doing push/pull days along with leg day, a mere 3 day split. I will be doing just a 4 day split now, emphasizing on a Chest/Tri day, Back/Bi Day, Shoulder/Upper Mobility day (throw arms into it once in a while for those pumps), and a Leg/Mobility day. I will incorporate abs into every other workout, continuing to make profession in the mid-section. I am currently sitting anywhere from 184-187lb, going to slowly cut down to ideally 175lbs. When it comes to shredding, it is all an illusion guys.

Day 0 Ab Check

5 x 8-12 Barbell Bench Press (Including 2 Warm-up sets)

4 x 8 Hammer-Strength Incline Bench Press (Double Drop set on last set)

4 x 12 Seated Cable Chest Flyes

3 x 10 Kneeling Landmine Chest Press

3 x 12-15 Upward Cable Crossovers

4 x 10 Hammer-Strength Decline Chest Press (Double Drop set on last set)

2 x 10-12 Rope Triceps Extensions
supetset w/2 x 10-12 Single arm Triceps Extensions

I started off by doing a quick 5 minute warm-up on the treadmill just to get my heart rate to fall under the training zone, immediately following a 5 minute upper mobility warm-up. I usually do both dumbbell and cable internal and external rotations of the shoulder to help loosen my rotator cuffs along with the muscles around my shoulder girdle, due to my ROM (Range of motion) being rather tight due to many years of heavy pressing. This has helped tremendously due to large emphasize of this weak area for the last 6-9 months.I finished off with a quick cable abduction with some light weight shrugs from the front, side, and back.

I am not at my strongest due to lack of barbell benching the last 9 months. This is a huge mistake, due to it being a compound movement. I felt really weak doing the barbell press, however, I recognize this and will be incorporating alot more of this throughout my 90 days. All of the other lifts were rather easy, falling anywhere from 70-85% intensity. A lot of people think intensity is how we approach the weights and the amount of effort. This is somewhat true, but in terms of what a personal trainer is talking, it it the percentage compare to our one-rep max. Finished with some triceps movement due to the muscle already being activated throughout the session. No more than 1 minute of rest in between sets, with the workout only lasting 55ish minutes.

This is going to be a big year, I PROMISE not just myself but to all of you that are reading this. Too many people play the blame game not just in the gym, but in life in general. It is the actions that we take EVERYDAY that will determine the outcome of tomorrow. Don't look for excuses, look for the reasons why we must take our actions today, rather then tomorrow. How many successful people do you know just sit around and wait for 'greatness' or 'success' to fall into their laps? None. I know a lot of people that blame 'the government' for why they can't find a good paying job. These are the same people that are applying for WELFARE. You are blaming the government for your lack of job placement yet you are trying to receive money from them? This is a huge problem in our society now a days. Too many people blame others, instead of themselves. Those who take accountability for their actions are more likely to succeed then those who do not. So when it comes to achieving the body that you want, or the wealth that you dream about, take action today, rather then ask 'why' tomorrow. Stay persistent whether it be at the gym or at work. Success doesn't happen overnight.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Take Care of Yourself, 2015! (Mental Health)

Oh the irony. My last blog was almost exactly a year ago! I keep telling myself on New Years Day that I am going to start blogging. Why? It allows me to express myself and really jot down my thoughts. I tend to really get inspired after a successful workout due to the dopa-mine high I tend to get. Enough of me rambling and lets get to business!

2015 was a year to remember. On my last post, I mentioned the status of my dad, Bau. He was having a lot of complications with his stomach due to having the cancerous polyps. He underwent his second surgery and viola! They were able to remove all three with no additional signs of potential cancer! It was a scary moment for all of us but sometimes we have to go through rough times to really understand and/or appreciate what we have in our lives. For that, I am forever grateful for everything my dad has done for our family. 

Dad on his Father's Day, Healthy and Cheerful!

Shortly afterwards, Ana and I went to California for my Aunt Christine's Wedding! We were so ready for a change of scenery, especially spending so much of our time at work, it was just nice to be around family and relax. Doug and Christine were so generous to let us stay at there home and a special shout-out to my cousin Thomas who was the real MVP! Thomas was a devoted host to both Ana and I. The last time Thomas and I really hung out was when we were small children. It's funny how much we had in common. Thomas also started lifting a couple months prior and he has made some amazing progress! The GAINS are too real.

Coffee in the morning in beautiful downtown Brea!
Eventually my mom arrived alongside with my Aunt Tam and soon commenced the wedding! My amazing wife stepped in the night before the wedding and became the MC for the night! I am truly proud of Ana and always simply amazed by her actions. She did such a great job with short notice, even with food poisoning at the wedding she managed to pull it all together.

With the lovely ladies!

Shenanigans at the rehearsal dinner :)
Such a beautiful ceremony.
We got to go to Disneyland after the wedding but in all honesty, Disneyland was not all that great. Maybe it was because we went during spring break with the crowd or the fact that all of the restaurants we planned to eat at were booked months in advance. However, we came for family and that was what we enjoyed the most. It was bittersweet leaving, but we all have to make a living somehow.

Leaving for the airport. (Coco watching me intently)

Our host, Christine and Doug dropping us off at the airport.

The trip was a nice change of pace. After leaving California, it was back to full grind mode. Work however, was not exactly my happy place. I was doing a lot more work then I should have and one night, July 17th, I had a life changing event that took place.

Look at that Heart Rate though!
On July 17th, at approximately 11:30PM, I had an undiagnosed seizure. One minute, I was on the couch watching TV with Ana. The next minute, I was in my bedroom fighting for my life just to catch a breath. It was a very traumatic event for both Ana and I. I wasn't able to go the to ER right away for work related reasons and that should NEVER be the case.

It's scary to say but apparently, everyone in their lifetime will experience at least one seizure. Mine had nothing to do with my physical health but I can honestly say it had to do a lot with my mental health. You don't ever truly understand what stresses could do to your body until it is too late. I was in the best physical shape of my life and for that I thought I was healthy. I was on a mental and physically grind everyday, trying to do everything at full speed. I was essentially doing the work of two people at my job and I'm not sorry to say that I was probably doing my bosses' job. Sometimes you have to just take a step back and really say, "Hey, is this really best for me?" I didn't do that. I was purely working to please someone that did not give two shits about what I was doing for them. And for that, I EVENTUALLY ended up in the ER. 

To this day, I take my time with everything. What I have really learned through NASM is all training methods could be effective, but you should do what is most optimal for you. I was averaging 21 gym sessions on a monthly passes. That is taking 2 days off a week. Now, I only train 3 times a week. Life throws curve balls at you all the time, so work with what you have. At the end of the day, its just about staying consistent. I was working too hard at work and pushing myself in the gym everyday when I should have been just relaxing.

Besides training, I also learned to appreciate the time I have with my wife and my family. I was on a very routine schedule before my seizure, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but I wasn't doing it for myself, I was doing it because I had to. I can proudly say that my mental health has been improved significantly and work has been great due to relocation. I got certified as a personal trainer in August, which is a small feat but one I am very proud of. I also will be receiving my associate degree that happened to take forever but it was what was best for me, taking school on at my own pace. I will continue to be one of the hardest workers but I will always ultimately put what is best for myself and my family.

Remember guys, if you don't build your dream, someone else will hire you to help build theirs.