The Most Rewarding Workout

These workouts are the most important ones throughout your entire fitness journey

The most rewarding workout is the one you don’t want to do.  We all have those days that we just don’t want to work out. These days aren’t because we don’t enjoy working out. Other factors such as fear, doubt, and fatigue play a factor. Some might call it being lazy but a lot of laziness is a result of fear.

There are days that we doubt our abilities to perform well because of fatigue or fear of the workout. If you were just doing wrist curls this wouldn’t be a problem. Since you’re someone who has the the fitness mindset , you enjoy challenging yourself every workout. As a result, you’ll naturally face some doubts and fears. I get these feelings of fear on my heavy lifting days. Even though I know I can do the workout,  there’s always that voice of doubt that creeps in.

Sometimes I feel tired either from a hectic day or because I didn’t sleep well the previous night. These days I hear the voice of doubt telling me that I don’t have the energy to do this workout. This voice will tell me that the weight is too heavy or that I’ll embarrass yourself if you try to work out. We all face these battles but it’s how you respond that matters.

When you hear that doubting voice, you have two options. You either let that fear crush you or you can use that fear as fuel.When your body feels like it’s in danger, it automatically tenses up and is able to create a ton of  force. This is very useful when lifting weights or doing a power sport. The fear you feel will make you respect your workout. It’ll make you prepare well for your workout due to the risk involved. When it’s time for your workout, you’ll be ready.

When you can move past these doubts and fears in order to do the workout anyways, you get a sense of victory. It feels satisfying because you beat your biggest obstacles, your fears and doubts. Every victory over these obstacles will help you realize your potential to do great things in life. You’ll also realize that things are a lot worse on your head than in realize.

As you continue your journey, you’ll learn that the voice of doubt isn’t really yours. That voice is actually the voice of others who doubt their own abilities to do what you plan on doing. You know what you’re capable of and you know how to listen to your body. I don’t recommend forcing yourself to work out everyday but it’s important to learn the difference between what you’re capable of and the voice of doubt that tries to limit you, based on what others think they’re capable of. These workouts that force you to move past doubts and fears will you become a better version of yourself!

 

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Pavel’s Philosophies

This post is about how I use Pavel Tsatsouline’s training philosophies in my fitness routine.

As a student of strength, I like to learn from different different strength coaches. One strength coach that has influenced me in recent years is Pavel Tsatsouline. I’ve dipped my toes in one of his programs.

Background

Pavel Tsatsouline is one of the most respected strength coaches. He’s the Chairman of Strongfirst Inc. and has trained athletes and military personnel. I first heard of him when I was listening to the Tim Ferriss Show. Since then I’ve been reading up in his training principles and implementing them in my workouts. I’ll be sharing some the training principles I’ve been using.

Grease The Groove

This principle is about training frequency. The more often you do a movement the better you’ll be at it. This is a big reason why I’m squatting or deadlifting every workout. The more often you do a movement, the better your nervous system will respond to it. A more efficient nervous system, the greater the strength potential.

In this philosophy, the weight you use doesn’t matter that much. The key is just doing the movement. You can use this next time you’re in the gym and resting in between sets. If you see an open power rack or bench, go in and do three light reps. Those three reps won’t strain you but after an hour in the gym, you’ll see that you got in an extra 30 reps of that movement.

Maximize Tension

Pavel also emphasizes maximizing muscle tension especially for the core muscles. He recommends tightening up your muscles even when lifting light weights. This is valuable because it teaches your body how to brace itself when lifting heavy. I take advantage of this training approach when doing my speed work. Not only do I focus on moving the weight as explosive as possible but I also squeeze my core muscles as if I was getting ready to max out. Doing this improves the mind- body connection when lifting.

Pavel also recommends squeezing the barbell or dumbbell you’re using as hard as possible in order to maximize tension. I’ve noticed that this helps engage my entire body during a lift. There’s something special about how you use your hands when lifting. It sends a message to the rest of your body that it’s time to do something serious.

Good Reps Only

This training principle goes around that idea that you should focus on getting quality reps only and avoid struggling with your lifts. Pavel’s philosophy is completely against training to failure when trying to gain strength. I wish I embraced this philosophy earlier in my fitness journey. I’ve failed on lifts before and it sucks.

An example of this training philosophy is if you can 10 reps at a certain weight, do only three instead. I’m someone who enjoys lifting at heavier weights so I use this principle by doing a few less reps than I can. Instead of six reps, I do three. The key is using set and rep ranges you know you’ll be able to successfully complete.

Another benefit of this training principle is it’s good for your lifting longevity and confidence. The more you see yourself succeed in a lift, the more confident you’ll be when adding weight. The only times I deviate from this approach is when I do paused reps or maxing out. Paused squats are meant to be difficult. Even then, I try not to do more than I think I’m capable of.

Pavel Tsatsouline is one of many fitness icons I’ve learned from. For any fitness or life goal you have, I recommend studying the experts in that area.

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Winners Do Cardio

If you’re not doing some type of cardio, you’re missing out! It has several health benefits that go beyond burning fat . For me, cardio is also a great way to improve muscle recovery. Cardio gets blood flowing throughout your body. As someone who does a lot of heavy lifting, I can feel the relief in my body after a long cardio session. The blood flow from cardio reduces soreness and the stiffness caused by lifting. I also notice that I don’t recover as well from my workouts if I don’t get enough cardio in my workouts.

Everyone knows the typical ways of doing cardio such as high intensity interval training and jogging. If you’re not a fan of conventional cardio workouts, below are some other ways to get in a satisfying cardio workout.

Alternative Forms of Cardio

Sports: Playing sports is a great way to get in a get cardio workout. Assuming you like the sport, you’ll be having fun as well so it won’t feel like a workout. If you’re not physically ready to play competitive sports, you can do less intense sports activities like shooting some jumpshots or tossing a football with a friend.

Walking: Walking is a natural part of human movement. You can walk around around your neighborhood, walk to the grocery store, to the park, etc. You can treat walking like a means of transportation so it doesn’t feel like a workout.

Bag Work: If you’ve been following this blog, you’d know that I’m a big fan of bag work. It provides a good cardio workout and promotes mental health. Hitting the bag for five minutes won’t make your precious muscles disappear. It might actually support muscle growth since you’ll be generating force when throwing punches.

Random Activities: You treat random activities as cardio as well. Join a dance class, skateboard. Even doing yard work will have a cardiovascular effect on your body. Find an activity that keeps you moving and gets blood pumping in your body. You can treat these as activities rather than workouts.

I made this post to talk about cardio for recovery, so try to avoid any cardio activities that will sabotage your goals. If you have a knee injury, playing a sport probably won’t be the best option for you. Training a marathon won’t help you if your main goal is to build strength and muscle. Do activities that are appropriate to your body and support your goals.

There are several ways to get in a cardio workout that aren’t mentioned in this post. There’s no excuse not to get in some type of cardio. All it takes is some dedication and creativity. What are your favorite forms of cardio?

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The Fitness Mindset

The mindset you get from committng to fitness

The moment you commit yourself to a fitness journey your life will change. In order to get far in that journey, you’ll be forced to transform more than your body. Your mindset will change as well. I’ve experienced these changes during my fitness journey.

Growth

Growth seeking is part of the fitness mindset. Anyone that commits to fitness is trying to better themselves. When you try to better yourself in health and fitness, that mindset flows to other areas of your life. By committing to fitness, don’t be surprised if you become more ambitious in your overall life. If you want the best for your body, why wouldn’t you have the same attitude towards other parts of your life.

 

AN example would be deadlifting 500 pounds. This amount sounds like a lot but it’s possible with the right mentality. Any great physical feat is as much mental as it is physical. The growth mentality in fitness comes from setting goals. Fitness taught me the importance of setting goals.

Another element of growth is pain. Sometimes you have to experience pain to grow. Someone who’s committed to fitness is familiar with pushing past pain. That pain could be mental as a result of fearing what can happen or it could be physical as a result of fatigue or injury.

Resilience

The fitness mindset includes resiliency. Committing yourself to fitness will make you mentally resilient. It teaches you to move past adversity because you will face adversity in your fitness journey. Everyone that I’ve met who’s been physically active for a long time has had some type of bump or bruise. It takes a lot of resiliency to have your goals slowed down by an injury but keep pushing forward.

Another form of adversity you might face in your fitness journey is self doubt. I’ve had times when I plateaued on my some lifts and doubted if I could make improvements. It takes a lot of resiliency to overcome self-doubt.

Embrace Discomfort

When you commit yourself to fitness, you have a stronger tolerance to discomfort. There’s a lot of discomfort involved with fitness. Having 400 pounds on your back isn’t comfortable. Running at max speed with your muscles pumping like crazy isn’t comfortable. This goes hand in hand with growth seeking because you’ll need to move past your comfort zone to grow.

Discipline

This one is pretty obvious. It takes a lot of discipline to be committed to fitness. It takes discipline to not skip a workout when you’re feeling tired. It takes discipline to stick to your diet when your office orders Ledos pizza. It takes discipline to sleep at a reasonable time when you get invited to a big party.

Get The Fitness Mindset!

When you invest in fitness, the rewards will trickle-down to the other areas of your life. You’ll approach life a different way and be mentally tougher than before.

To be able to develop these mindsets through fitness, you’ll have to do workouts that challenge and scare you a little . You’ll have to do workouts that cause some inner doubt. When that doubt appears, do the workout anyway. Do workouts that make you want to curse.These are the workouts that’ll strengthen your fitness mindset. Wrist curls and calf raises aren’t gonna cut it. If weight lifting is your avenue, you’ll have to go for compound lifts. If you’re into sports, compete with people who are as good or better than you.

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Find Peace By Getting Violent

This post offers a way to improve your mental and physical health. It has the potential to make the world a better place.

Fitness has always been an outlet for me to express myself. Different movements are forms of human expression. One of the most basic ways people express themselves is through anger. I believe connecting with your violent side will lead to greater joy in life. Fitness is the way to do that. One of the best ways to express yourself is to hit a punching bag. From my experience, I’ve felt so much at peace with myself after a few rounds hitting the bag. It’s a great feeling. You get to let your frustrations out on the bag.

A lot of problems nowadays come from people keeping in their emotions. Eventually those emotions can turn into something ugly. It can lead to you losing your cool over the smallest thing. It can lead to unnecessary road rage. By hitting the bag, you can let out those emotions in a productive way and you’ll be at peace with yourself. Staying angry about something that happened won’t change anything. All it’ll do is make you miserable. Hitting the bag is a productive way to face those feelings

Your girlfriend left you? Hit the bag

Family problems? Hit the bag

Your boss is a jerk? Hit the bag

Your neighbors dog bit you? Hit the bag

I usually do this at the end of my workout. I set a timer for five minutes and start hitting the bag. I punch at different levels of speed and  from different angles. I work on different combinations. This is a great workout finisher. You can also do this as a separate workout by doing multiple sets of five minute rounds. At the end of it, you’ll feel a sense of relaxation. You’ll feel like the shit that made you upset was meaningless. This is how I usually feel after my bag sessions.

Benefits

Aside from the therapeutic effects of this workout, you’ll also be getting in some great cardio. You can use as steady rate cardio by keeping the same pace throughout the round(s) or do a high intensity approach by switching speeds. This beats running on the treadmill any day.

You’ll also become a better athlete as a result of doing bag work. Bag work will help improve your punching abilities if you ever have to throw a punch in real life. It won’t make you a world class fighter but it’ll definitely help. At the very least, you’ll have more confidence in your ability to throw a punch. Bag work if done properly will teach you how to generate power from your lower body to your upper body. Most of the power from punches come from your glutes.

Warning

Before engaging in bag work, make sure you have proper technique. Wrecklessly punching a heavy bag can lead to wrist, elbow, or shoulder injuries. I’ve learned the hard way in the past. If you’re able to wrap your hands up before putting them in the glove, that’ll reduce the risk of wrist injuries.

Hit The Bag!

If you want towards inner peace while getting a good cardio workout, hit the bag ! A lot of unnecessary violence can be prevented if people have an outlet to express their emotions. Aggressive forms of fitness like hitting a punching bag can provide that outlet. I hope this article reaches the right person.

 

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Take It Outside

This post is about the benefits of adding outdoor workouts to your fitness routine.

As much as I love being in the gym and pushing myself with weights, I can’t forget about the outdoors. I’ve always felt a different type of energy when training outdoors. There’s something liberating about being out in open space and moving freely.

The gym is great but there are rules. When you’re outdoors, you make your own rules as long as it’s not illegal. You don’t want to get arrested for the sake of working out. When you’re outdoors, you can move freely. You can do whatever you want

My Outdoor Workout:

Since the weather got nice, I’ve been going on walks from time to time. I think it’s time to pick up the intensity. Time to do sprints! I’ll still go to the gym a couple times a week cause I love lifting. I’m just ready to add some sprints to my routine.

For anyone that hasn’t ran sprints in a while or ever, the best way to get in the groove is by doing hill sprints. You’re less likely to get hurt with hill sprints since your body won’t be able to move as fast as it would during regular sprints . Once you can run hills, you can run anywhere. I used to run hills as a conditioning tool but I plan on using it for strength and power. Rather than doing high reps, low sets for conditioning, I’ll do low reps, high sets for power. When you train outside, you find creative ways to exercise.

From my experience, I’ve gotten the best results when I incorporated outdoor workouts.

Adding outdoor workouts will spice up your routine. Sometimes being in the gym all the time can get stagnant. I find myself more enthusiastic about my lifting routines when I’m mixing in outdoor workouts to my routine.

Training outside just makes you happier. Have you ever seen the joy kids have when they run outside for recess? Humans are meant to be outside. It’s in our nature. When you train outside, you reconnect with who your true self. You connect with nature. When you train outside, you’ll become a better athlete. You most likely won’t have any weights with you. It’s just you and your body.

When you train outside, you’ll gain a new level of mental toughness. The more intense your outdoor workout is, the better. Bringing that mental toughness to the gym, will put you at another level. I’m speaking from experience when I say this.

By training outdoors when it’s nice, don’t be surprised if you end up doing outdoor workouts in the winter. You won’t care whether it’s cold, warm, or hot. You probably won’t train outside as often during the winter but there will be days that nothing can stop you.

Closing Thoughts

Reignite your passion for fitness by training outdoors. I’m not saying to ditch the gym because beautiful things happen when you step in that building. You should definitely add outdoor workouts to your routine. I feel like the best way to use your workouts to maximize health and fitness is to do both indoor and outdoor workouts.

You can run hills, use the monkey bars at a playground, or go for a hike. Just find something that supports your goals and see the tremendous benefits of training outdoors.

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Do A Random Workout

Breaking out of your routine and doing a random workout can provide immense benefit to your training program.

Consistency and discipline are important in any training program but sometimes you can benefit from doing a random workout. It doesn’t have to be something scary. You’ll find great benefit in just going to the gym on a random day and doing something simple.

Last Thursday , I felt the itch to go to the gym even though I had an intense workout the day before. I felt good and just wanted to get something done. I felt great at the end of the workout and it made me think about the benefits of doing random workouts.

Benefits of Random Workouts

Greater Appreciation: You develop a greater appreciation for your workout routine. Sometimes I take my workouts for granted since I’m so used to the same routine. It becomes automatic. By doing a random workout, you actually have time to think about your workout routine.

Recovery: Doing a random workout will help you with muscle recovery. The fact that you’re moving your body means you’ll be promoting blood flow throughout your body.

Learning New Things: Random workouts can teach you a lot about your body and what it needs to progress. By doing a random workout, you’re getting out of your comfort zone and that’s when you’ll learn a lot about yourself. You can take what you learn use it to help you achieve your goals faster.

Happiness: If you’re someone who loves fitness, getting in any workout will bring you joy. Personally, I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I step in the gym. The endorphin boost you’ll get from the workout also helps with the happiness.

How To Select a Random Workout

When doing a random workout, I recommend choosing something that will contribute to your fitness goal. Even if the impact of the random workout isn’t as large as your normal workouts, at least you’ll move a step closer to your goals.

You can do an intense workout or a workout with moderate intensity. The best way to decide workout intensity depends on what day you’re doing the workout. If the random workout is at the start of your training week, go for higher intensity. If it’s in the middle or end of your training week, it’s best to go for moderate intensity workouts.

This goes hand in hand with my personal training philosophy. I always like doing my hardest workouts at the start of the week. This gives me momentum that I can carry into my following workouts. I’m also fresher at the start of my training weeks.

My Workout

The random workout I did followed the moderate intensity approach since it was near the end of my training week . During my random workout, I did a lot of movements I was familiar with but the format was completely different.

Deadlifts: I did  five sets of three at 225 pounds. These were regular deadlifts at a steady speed.  My rest periods were four minutes, which is pretty long for this level of training intensity. The purpose of this was to get in some extra reps. I learned from Strength Coach Pavel Tsatsouline that you can get stronger by increasing the amount of times you do an exercise. By getting in more quality reps of a movement, I’m making my nervous system more efficient at that movement that movement. A more efficient nervous system means greater strength potential.

Weighted Dead-Bugs: I did dead-bugs while holding two 12 pound dumbbells. The added weight forced my core muscles to work harder. I want my core to be as strong as possible so I can generate more power and be safe during my heavy lifts. I did 10 reps of these in between my deadlift sets.

Iso-Lunge: I did one minute isometric lunges on each leg. The purpose of this was to improve muscle endurance, strengthen my joints, and to work my glutes.

Bag Work: I finished the workout with bag work. I did three rounds of hitting the bag. Each round was two minutes long. It was a good way to get in some cardio.

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The Body is The Temple

( Short Read) This article is about the importance of taking care of your body.

The Body is the temple. You only have one body so you should treat it well.  We often take our bodies for granted If you care about your ultimate well being, you’ll take good care of your body. Taking care of your body is the ultimate act of self-love . You can take of your body without being obsessed. Don’t stress out about every tiny detail of your health and fitness routine. You still have to enjoy your life. The to anything is balance and moderation. Do things that make your boy feel good in the short and long-term. Your body follows you everywhere you go so you might as well have a good relationship with it.

To maximize the health of your body,  you must:

Lift weights so your body can handle external forces

Do yoga so your body can be mobile and less likely to get injured

Eat healthy and nutritious foods so you have the energy to do activities

Sleep well so your body can perform at it’s best

Do cardio so your most important muscle ( your heart ) gets worked

Meditate so you can conquer illness causing stress

Have fun so your body can produce health boosting hormones

Rest so your body doesn’t break down from all the activities you do

 

Closing Thoughts

When you have a strong and healthy body you’re ahead of the game. You have more energy, toughness, and confidence. You’re also happier because you just feel good. When you combine a strong, healthy body with a powerful midset, you can take over the world!

 

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The # 1 Reason To Exercise

I’m sharing the top reason to exercise. This might change how you view fitness.

I think exercise gets a bad rap sometimes. People often associate exercise with pain and misery. They think they need to exercise because they hate their bodies. Instead of looking at it that way, why don’t you exercise because you love your body? Exercise because you love yourself.

When you love your body, you want it to be healthy and full of vitality. You’ll want the best for your body. I know there’s a body positivity movement that encourages you to love your body no matter how it looks. I understand that idea but you can love your body and still want to make the most of it. You don’t have to be a ripped supermodel but you can aim to be the fittest and healthiest version of yourself.

Even if you’re training for looks. Who doesn’t want to look good? The problem is when you start comparing yourself to others. Someone will always be leaner, more muscular, or in better shape than you. When you exercise because you love your body, you’re only focused on your self-improvement. You’re only competing with yourself.

By changing how you view exercise, your entire approach changes. Instead of seeing every workout as a grueling experience, you’ll see them as a step closer to being a stronger version of yourself . When you exercise because you love your body, you’ll learn to love your body in other ways like getting more sleep and eating healthier foods. When you exercise because you love your body, you’ll see dumbbells and barbells as a chance to show how strong you are. When you exercise because you love your body, you’ll want to develop the strength to defend yourself or run away if you run into trouble.Exercising because you love your body will help you achieve your fitness goals a lot faster.

Who doesn’t want to be stronger and healthier? Who doesn’t want to look in the mirror and be happy with what they see? Exercise has been associated with lower stress levels and lower risk of diseases. It’s also been associated with better mood and higher energy levels. I support loving yourself but you can always strive for better. Lifting weights and doing athletic movements are my personal preferences but you choose any form of exercise that works for you. Something as simple as changing your why will make a huge difference. This applies to fitness and other areas of your life. Instead of exercising because you hate your body, exercise because you love your body and want the best for it.

 

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