I believe traveling is, hands down, the biggest obstacle to a healthy life. Staying fit while traveling takes discipline, planning, and hard work. Traveling takes you out of your routine and makes it extremely difficult to stick to a diet and get your workouts in. Hotel gyms suck, fast food is abundant and who doesn’t like a few drinks at the end of a long day? I typically spend 6-8 weeks a year on the road visiting customers, working trade shows and attending classes. Over the years, I have figured out what works for staying fit while enjoying the city I’m visiting. I am just returning from a long week in Las Vegas where I was working a trade show and I was able to lose weight and hit all my workouts. Not an easy task in Sin City.
We are now half way through the year so it is time for another New Year’s Resolution Update. My original goals are here and my first quarter progress is here. As always there have been some wins and loses but I’m learning and still pushing the ball forward. Without further introduction let us begin.
About 6 weeks ago, I finished my squat everyday and bench everyday program. Since then, I have spent some time focusing on my dips. I have been rotating them in and out with the bench press as one of my main lifts. Last week, I did 18 reps with a 35lb kettlebell and this week, I was determined to get 19 reps. I hopped up to the bar and started to grind them out. 17, 18, argh, crazy face, 19. They weren’t pretty but I got them. One rep better than last week and I felt good about my incremental progress. Then, as I was putting the kettlebell back, my brain started working and I realized I had just used the 53lb bell by mistake. What!? So I had just done 50% more weight for more reps than I did last week? How did I do that? The past few weeks I have struggled to add one rep. Was I just having a great day?
One of my new year’s resolutions was to drop some weight. This is one of the most common goals that people set out to achieve. In fact, over half of the people reading this have attempted to lose weight in the past year. Unfortunately, 95% of people fail to ever reach their weight loss goals. So how do you do it? How do you lose weight? Well, I’m here to tell you that every one of you reading this already knows how to lose weight. Your problem is probably that you are skipping the most important steps that will allow you to be successful.
Your life will be filled with all kinds of pain. The difference is in the intensity. Since we can’t avoid pain we must embrace pain.
“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces and regret weighs tons” – Jim Rohn Continue reading
For the past 12 weeks, my workouts have consisted of squatting to a max every day and benching to a max every day. This style of training is sometimes referred to as the “Bulgarian Method For Powerlifting”. The idea is that lifting heavy is a skill that needs to be practiced regularly. This is one of the more polarizing strength programs because it appears quite extreme on the surface. Some will tell you that it is a “ticket to the hospital” and others will tell you it is the ticket to world records. I, of course, found things to be a little more in the middle. Video below.
There is no better way to impress a girl than to show her your inhaler collection. Unless you are showing it to her because your face is purple and you aren’t breathing. I kid, I kid. I wanted to write about a personal topic today. Working out with asthma and just in general living with it. Hopefully, we can change some stereotypes and get some practical information.
Usually, when people hear the word addicted that have images of cigarettes and drugs pop into their head but in my opinion not all addictions are bad. You can be addicted to something that is good and beneficial for you. You can be addicted to meditating, increasing your net worth, fitness, learning, giving or really anything. This is a topic that is argued in the philosophical world as to whether any addiction can be positive and what makes something a habit vs an addiction vs a compulsion. If you do something repeatedly to change your current state, have with drawls if you are unable to do it and will do at the expense of other important things I say it is an addiction. If that word makes you uncomfortable then just think dedication or healthy habit from here on out. Continue reading
Just a few months ago I had to completely stop all pressing movements. This meant no more benching, no more dips, no more push ups and no more overhead presses. The pain had gotten so bad in my left shoulder that I couldn’t do one full range of motion push up. It felt like something was ripping in my shoulder. Specifically, the area at the top, front, of the shoulder where everything kind of comes together.
It was one of those things that started off slowly and I could just push through it. Anyone who has done any real training for anything knows that you are going to get some aches and pains along the way and it is just part of it. If we didn’t train or practice on days we didn’t feel 100% we would probably workout about 3 times a year. So I kept going with it thinking surely it will get better soon. After about 4 weeks from the time I had first noticed it I had gone from I can feel it to I can barely use my arm. Not a fun feeling. Looking back I clearly shouldn’t have let it get that bad. I especially made things worse by taking Advil before my workouts to try and ease some of the pain when the pain was my body telling me to “stop it you idiot!”
This would be the time to go see a physical therapist if you know of a good one. I have not had the best of luck with physical therapists as most of them don’t get weight lifting. They want me to throw a 2-pound medicine ball against a trampoline, workout on balance balls and don’t squat with my knees going over my toes. Listen I get that there is some injury risk associated with lifting heavy but it is what I enjoy doing so I need a physical therapist who gets that and will help me keep doing that. Telling me not to lift heavy is like telling the injured football player to just stop playing football. Yes, you might fix the injury problem but you took away the thing I love thus creating a new problem. Anyway, if you got a good PT go to them if not you can try what I did.
I searched around the interwebs and found lots and lots of shoulder articles related to weight lifting. The shoulder area is extremely vulnerable because of the extreme range of motion and all of the muscles and tendons that are all connecting in the same area. This makes diagnosing the problem very difficult. We might both have shoulder pain but it could be two totally different injuries. So if you try what I did just know that this is what worked for me but it very well could make things worse for you.
What I did:
- Stop freaking pressing anything. Yes, I know you love to bench but stop it! I didn’t follow this advice until I didn’t have a choice. Please listen to your body better than me. If the pain is progressively getting worse with each upper body workout then back it off. Stop trying to just push through it when you are getting worse.
- Start working your rear delts and rotator cuff. I tried a bunch of different exercises but I ended up coming up with a circuit that I did almost every day. I would do about 20 band pull aparts, 20 internal and external rotations with a band, 20 band face pulls and 20 dumbbell lateral raises with thumbs up. I would do these exercises one right after the another with no rest. I would push the sets to the point where I felt any form start to slip.
- After about two weeks start adding some push ups from your knees to the end of the circuit. Just do as many as you can do with perfect form and zero pain. Once you feel the slightest twinge of pain just stop and move on. Move to regular push ups after you can do 20 from your knees with zero pain. Then work up to 20 regular push ups with zero pain.
- Start easing back into your benching, dipping and pressing overhead. Work up very slowly on all of your weights and be prepared to stop instantly if you feel pain.
- Continue to do your shoulder circuit. I still do it almost every time I work out but I kind of just superset the exercises in between other sets now.
- If you aren’t already doing so, be sure your program has you doing as much pulling as you are pushing. So if you do 6 sets of bench a week you better be doing 6 sets of rows or pull ups.
Below is my timeline of how everything went from the first time I recorded anything about my shoulder pain to the point where I was pain-free. In total it was about 5 months of recovery from the first mention of pain until where I am today. This would have been dramatically reduced had I not pushed a bad shoulder for almost a month. However, 5 months might seem like a long time but when looking at the big picture it’s nothing.
- First time that I see any mention of shoulder pain in my workout log was 10/12/16 towards the end of my workout during incline dumbbell flyes
- Constant bitching about shoulder through the next few weeks until 11/7/16 I stopped all pressing
- Tested shoulder on 11/18/16 after 2-week break with dumbbell pressing with no success
- 11/21/16 started above shoulder circuit mentioned above
- Started trying push ups from knees on 11/28/16 and was able to do 10 with minimal pain
- Got 3 x 20 regular push ups on 12/8/16
- Started working in light weight benching and overhead presses 12/12/16
- Last mention of any shoulder pain was 1/14/17
- 2/13/17 it looks like my strength is about 90% of my max with no mention of pain
- 3/17/17 handling near all time max weight on bench with zero pain
I know it can be horribly frustrating to be injured but don’t let it get you down. Instead just find ways to work around it. I did a lot of extra leg work and hit some of those forgotten muscles a little bit like traps and calves. Once you start seeing any signs of improvement you will get your full motivation back. Just be persistent and you will get better.
A deload is a temporary break from your current workout program that comes after a period of overreaching. There are no set rules on what a deload should look like. The most common is to take a week either completely off or to cut your volume and intensity by about half for a week. The idea behind a deload is that it allows your body to completely recover from your previous workouts and will allow you to come back stronger. The question is how often should you be taking these planned breaks from your intense training.