What Have I Been Up To?

Hi my loyal blog readers. I appreciate those that have kept me followed for the last few weeks as I’ve been pretty busy and I thought I’d write a blog post about what I’ve been up to.

Just to put things in perspective, I’m a pretty busy adult these days. I work full time as an IT tech at a school. I’m also a full time parent with my wife for two kids including a beautiful and cute 11 month old baby girl. Also we have our adopted nephew who’s 11 years old and just finishing 6th grade in his schooling. So probably the main reason I choose to wake up early to workout everyday is because the early morning is the most open time for me to use for myself. My whole day goes from working full time to being a parent and husband when I get home. It’s quite a balance, but long ago this is the life that I wanted to build for myself so I’m more then motivated to work hard at it everyday.

My Fitness Training

After finishing the The Work back last month, I started a new program known as Muscle Burns Fat (MBF). I’ve really been loving the work I’ve been doing the last 4 weeks on this program. I’m in month 8 of my fitness training with the Beachbody programs and with MBF I’m seriously seeing my results accelerate. This program focuses on doing a high amount of reps to the point where my arms, legs and abs are getting seriously sore in this program. Megan Davies, the creator of this program, has the right energy to bring you to pump you up every workout. I’m also enjoying the indoor jump rope known as the BOD ropes which allow you to work on your jump roping indoors. I’m currently in the Advanced round of MBF which extends the workouts by about 10 minutes and also adds some more difficulty. Check out this MBF page for more info about this program.

IG Live Workouts Weekly

So I’ve decided to go live at least once a week and show you my full workout so you guys can all see me die and get these reps in. Haha. So far I’ve been having them on Tuesdays and Mondays at 6AM PST. I will try to get some workouts in during more active hours, but for now this is what I can do. I hope everyone gets motivated by my work ethic. I talk during the workout and continue to pass on tips that I’m getting from the Beachbody Super trainers that I’m working with. Hope you guys enjoy and find these IG live workouts helpful.

What are my Goals for 2021?

I’ve been consistent with my fitness training and routine now since April 2020. I’ve successfully been working out at least 3 times a week for over a year now and I’m at my strongest I’ve ever been in my life. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to improve and the protection of having the vaccine allows things to get back to normal, I’m looking ahead on where to test my strength. I’ve joined two virtual 10K races with the Giant Race . In April, I came in 10th place out of 141 entries and in May I came in 9th place out of 181 entries. So I’m really happy with where I’m competing with others. I have a Spartan night time 10K trail run in September that I’m excited for. I’m considering joining the Spartan races with obstacles later this year and go for a Spartan Trifecta, which is a medal earned by completing three types of obstacle races in the Spartan races. In 2022, I plan to join my first Spartan Elite race which is a race only for the competitive that want to really test their skill in a Spartan race. This is what I’ve been training for the last year which is why 2021 is a key year to continue to grow strength in order to really compete effectively. This has been a long term goal of mine and I’m looking to achieve this goal and see how I do.

Thanks for following my blog. I’m sorry I’ve been absent and not as active lately. I will try to get back to adding more useful fitness and lifestyle entries. I wish everyone that follows and reads my blogs the best. I enjoy giving others inspiration. I strive to lift others up through life. Life is not easy for anyone and we all have our personal struggles and hardships that we have to deal with, but I strongly believe that whatever life throws at us is an opportunity to face it and become stronger. Stay well my fitness and running friends and have a great week.

Let’s Talk Stretching And Post Workout

How To Know If You Are Stretching Wrong?

You’re stretching, which is excellent, but are you doing it correctly? Peek below to learn how to do it and if you’re stretching wrong.

Common Ways You May Be Stretching Wrong

-You Might Be Only Stretching Post-Workout.

Many people stretch at the end of their workout but forget to do it at the beginning. You shouldn’t only limit stretching exercises to after weights or a run. Do it beforehand to loosen your muscles and increase your range of motion.

-You Don’t Warm Up First.

Jumping (literally) into the pre-workout stretches without a proper warm-up can set you up for more pain than gain. Before you get into your mini stretch set, always include a warm-up.

-You’re doing the Wrong Type of Stretch

Doing the wrong stretch at the wrong time can result in injury during either your stretch or workout.

-You Hold Your Stretches Too Long (Or Not Long Enough).

Not holding a stretch long enough can render it ineffective, but too long can actually make you stiffer, putting you at risk of injury. The safest bet is 30 seconds per stretch, which will work to lengthen your tissue and muscle fibers.

Recap: Warm-up and do dynamic stretching before your workout, and prepare your mind and body for the exercise ahead. After you’ve finished and cooled down, implement some static or moving stretching to jump-start muscle recovery. Doing both will do you big favors by making you less stiff and prone to injury. Ready, set, stretch!

Afterburn effect

The afterburn effect is also known as the oxygen debt. Its scientific name is excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.  By definition, the afterburn effect is the amount of oxygen required to bring the body functions back to a resting state.

During intense exercises projected to burn body calories and keep the body fit, the metabolic rate increases. After the exercise, your metabolism rate doesn’t go back to resting phase immediately, however, it remains elevated for some time. This in turn causes an increase in calorie burn, even after you’ve done some stretching, showered and eaten post-workout snacks.

To be specific, the additional energy expenditure occurring after the workout is called afterburn effect.

Its important to be mindful of this and make sure you supplement yourself after a workout. Consuming too little will lead to cravings to overeat later in the day due to your body burning more calories then normal. 20 grams of protein with one serving of carbs is recommended after a workout.

When and how does the afterburn effect occur?

Increased physical activity makes the muscles increase demand for oxygen that oxidizes the carbohydrates and the fats, producing some significant energy required for movement.

Oxygen debt occurs during an intense exercise, the body will require more oxygen than breathing could provide. The gap in demand for oxygen by the muscles and the actual available oxygen delivered stimulates the afterburn effect.

The advantage of the afterburn effect is that this fascinating activity by the body burns extra calories in your body the right way. How to do this? Train hard and intensely (not forgetting proper technique obviously), and incorporate high intensity aerobic exercise and/or HIIT into your program.

30 Day Breakaway: A Must Do Program For Runners Of Any Level

Lets get one thing straight. I never liked running most of my life. I was the high school kid that walked instead of running during gym class. I was the fat kid in High School that faked an injury just to get myself out of running all baseball practice. You can read more about that story in this blog post. I was pretty bad though. It wasn’t till 2020 where I realized that running is actually something that can be super enjoyable and fulfilling. I wrote a blog about how running became an incredible outlet to deal with the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. You can read it here. Both of the previous blog posts I mentioned are lead in’s to what I’m about to talk about in this blog post. While 2020 made me realize how much I actually loved running, it wasn’t until I discovered this new running program called 30 Day Breakaway that I realized the extra mechanics that running is. After this blog post I hope you’ll understand just how amazing this program is and why its a must do if you’re a beginner runner or if you’re a competitive runner that wants to get stronger and faster.

This program literally came out at the right time for me last October. After gaining running strength for the last 6 months my focus was on gaining more muscle strength. So when I discovered that this program focused on running and strength training it was the perfect combo I was looking for in a workout program. I signed up for VIP access as soon as it was available. I couldn’t wait to get started on this program. It would be my first Beachbody program I’ve ever done. Meet Idalis Velazquez, the Beachbody Super Trainer that created this program. She would be my first impression of what doing a Beachbody program is like. Right from the start on Day 1, I already got a great vibe with her. Her workouts in this program are two parts. The First one is a 20-30 minute resistance/strength workout that either targets all your muscle groups, upper body, abs, and lower body. During these strength workouts she is there every step of the way from warm up to pushing you when the exercises she’s having you do get tough. All the exercise moves are timed based. These resistance workouts are focused on helping you get lean and build strength to become a stronger runner. After each workout she finishes off the last 5 minutes with getting you warmed up to go running. This leads us to the 2nd part of the workout which is the running part.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about doing audio runs since I’ve always ran while playing some motivational music to pump me through a run. I can honestly say after this program Idalis Velazquez has changed my perception of audio runs. The running portion of this workout is one of the most fun parts of the workout. Idalis is in your ear the whole time motivating and guiding you through how she wants you to run. She has you focus on this RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion) system that gets your mindset aware of how much effort you’re putting into each step of your run. In other words the runs she puts you through is her version of an interval run as she has you mix up your speed in these runs. In some of her runs she’ll have you work hard at 3 different speeds working your way from slow to faster and then back down to slower again. She also goes over form and cadence, which is the rate of how many steps you take per minute. The runs are all about 18-22 minutes long. Idalis makes all these runs fun and exciting by not only pushing you, but by educating you with useful info about running. I felt so good and accomplished after my runs. Some days I was super sore after the strength portion of the workout, but once you get outside for your run the body naturally gets moving and the running exhilaration kicks in.

I loved this running & strength program so much that I went for 2 rounds which was a total of 60 days of 30 Day Breakaway. This program helped me reduce my 5K time by 2 minutes and 45 seconds. Yes you heard that right. That’s a lot of time in the running world and I felt so good about being able to run a 5K in 21 minutes and 27 seconds. I also dropped 13lbs in the 2 rounds of utting myself through this program. This program helped prove to me how possible it really is to work towards gaining strength and seeing results. Idalis Velazquez is a vibrant and motivating trainer and I hope you will enjoy her instruction as much as I did. Whether you are just a beginner runner or a seasoned one, this program is a “must do.” If you put in the work that this program puts you through, you are just about guaranteed to come out of the 30 days a stronger and faster runner. I’ll be sure to put myself through a 3rd round of this program in the future.

For more information on this program click this link: 30 Day Breakaway

My Advice To Those Beginning Or Want to Continue Their Fitness

My page is all about bringing you no B.S. content. So I’m going to give it to you straight. Getting started in your fitness journey and getting into a routine is the toughest part of the journey.  Your confidence in your ability to start and continue a fitness program probably is swaying a bit right from the start.  Your mind is probably even telling you the negatives of keeping up with working out or exercising. There is probably lots of doubt that you can’t even lose weight, especially if you’ve tried before and didn’t see results. I know these feelings well because I’ve been there. I’ve restarted my fitness journey a lot in the last 17 years since I started working out and losing weight from being over 300lbs. Like I mentioned in my other blog, I used to get tired just from climbing a flight of stairs or walking 5 blocks on a flat street being a high school student. Getting started is hard and then once you do start and actually get on a roll in working out consistently you then need to maintain that consistency. So how do I maintain my consistency in working out?  The simple answer is I’ve found my ‘why’ and I haven’t just found one ‘why’. I’ve found many reasons at this point now to workout and keep up my fitness long term.

First off Its okay to be scared. It’s okay to be intimidated to get started in fitness.  You’re not a weak person for feeling like this.  Fitness is not easy and is really intimidating if you are not sure of what to do. Trust me. We are wired to want to put effort into something and get results. No one likes to waste their time. I still get intimidated before I go running some days despite running now for years.  It’s a mental battle pushing yourself to go workout whether you have been working out like me for 17 years or whether you’re just thinking about to get started. This is why its important to figure out your ‘why.’ Its important to figure out the reason you’re going to exert so much physical and mental effort in fitness before you do it. Making a list of goals is helpful, but could also have a backwards effect. The goals you set may not be something realistic and if you don’t reach these goals you will beat yourself up about it later on. This will result in you losing motivation to keep working out and staying on your fitness. I can’t tell you how many times I did this in my 20’s. Too many times to even remember. So while goal setting is one tactic, its not as sustainable as figuring out your primary reasons and ‘why’s.’

It all starts with taking a leap of faith. You have to choose to believe you can do it. You have to tell yourself with full confidence that you are a bad ass and you can do anything you start. There honestly is no room to doubt yourself when you start or continue your fitness because once you do start doubting, your motivation works against you from that point on.  Even the smallest shred of doubt will result in you burning out in whatever workout plan you are doing for yourself.  You need to be a warrior of positivity and slash through all the negativity or procrastinating thoughts that are pushing back on your fitness and you. Fitness is a mental battle pitting you vs. you. Its a game of facing your fears and figuring out a way to push past them. So lets go over some of my reasons why you should start your fitness today and work towards making it a lifestyle.

  1. Working out and staying fit allows you to live life with more energy and feeling happy about how you feel.
  2. Feeling stronger and the way your body looks gives you so much mental confidence for everyday life.
  3. As a parent I know I’m not getting younger and that my kids are getting older and more energetic at the ages they’re at. I want to keep up with my kids energy levels while also having the energy to take on adulting in life. We all know adulting alone takes a lot of energy out of us.
  4. Living a healthy and fit lifestyle increases your chances of living a longer life and warding off health complications later on in life.
  5. Working on fitness every week gives you the opportunity to get stronger physically and mentally so that you can take on everything life throws at you. Having an outlet keeps us grounded mentally so why not do an outlet that makes you the best version of yourself.

I advise you to think hard on your own whys and write them down on a piece of paper. On days that you’re struggling to stay confident about your fitness, I want you to go back and read your list of ‘whys’ to help you remember the reasons you are working hard. Hope this blog entry inspires you to start or continue your fitness.

Happy Saturday!

How Fitness Apps Have Changed My Way Of Fitness

    The story of my transformation from 16 to 34 gave you an idea of how far I’ve come over a span of 18 years. However I’m in the best shape of my life at 34 for a reason. I was never in this great of shape in my 20’s. In my 20’s I developed weekly workout habits and made it to the gym 3-4 times a week which helped me maintain my weight throughout my 20’s. However my workout routine was all over the place. I was the typical guy that went to the gym and thought that doing cardio for 30 to 60 minutes a session was actually helping me get stronger.  I did this for years and years in my 20’s.  I maybe added some ab work here and there. Also I gave lifting weights a shot too at times, but if I’m being honest with myself I was intimidated to go do weight lifting. I was insecure about weight lifting in front of others since I didn’t have much guidance or knowledge on the subject then. So as a result I stuck with what was easy and comfortable for me; Putting on my headphones and auto piloting my workouts with cardio. I had spurts where I got in great shape running on the treadmill, but whenever it got harder for me I eventually shied away from it and went back to doing something easier like the elliptical or bike. Make no mistake that I’m not saying cardio is a bad way to workout. It’s very effective on burning fat and keeping your weight maintained if that is your goal. As I mentioned in my (Fat at 16 to Passionate at 34 post) I knew I wanted to improve my way of fitness, but I lacked passion to seek knowledge and info on how to workout better. I would not find this inspiration to learn more about fitness till my 30’s where I decided to finally seek more knowledge and a better way to workout.
    At the end of 2019 I discovered this really cool app called FitPlan which was revolutionary for me because it was an app that completely walked you through workout programs.  You simply search through a library of workout programs on an app. They detail how long the workouts will be and how many days a week you’ll be active. I started with a program created by Damien Patrick who to me looked super motivating with how big his muscles were. The program is called “Bodybuilding 101” where it was a 56 day (8 Weeks) that focused on building muscle in every part of the body. It was an enlightening body building program that really taught me a lot of what exercises target what part of the body. This program taught me why fitness folks focused on working certain muscles on some days.  By the end of the program I felt very strong and accomplished.  I was no longer insecure about going to the weights area of a gym and getting a solid weight training session in. The next program I went on to do was Corey Calliet’s 8 Week program called “The Calliet Way.”  I had heard from seeing a commercial for Khloe Kardasian’sRevenge Body” show and I quickly discovered this dude is a Celebrity Fitness Trainer.  So if he can be a trainer to get all those perfect looking celebrities in shape then he’s gotta be the real deal. His 8 week program put me through a grueling 8 weeks as I learned about even more exercises and targeting the biceps, triceps, quadriceps, calf muscles, and much more. I had created some great results for myself in the 4 months of working hard off of the Fitplan app. I now had a renewed outlook in fitness that breathed confidence into pushing myself more to get results.
    The Beachbody On Demand app is the fitness app I’ve been primarily using as of late. I signed up as a Coach last September for Beachbody and started my fitness journey using this app on October 5th, 2020. Since I spent a whole summer in 2020 running while mixing in strength workouts, I decided to go for the 30 Day Breakaway program which is Beachbody’s first running program. I loved how the program focused on strength workouts and then followed it up with an audio run. Idalis Velaquez brings the energy for both types of workouts. The Strength workouts were efficient 20-25 minute workouts that had separate days where the focus is on upper body, abs, and lower body.  She gave me a renewed sense of how effective and fun audio runs can be too as she’s in your ear on those runs. Her audio runs took me out of my normal running routine too where most of the summer when I went to go run, I typically only ran at the same speed that I felt able to do. Idalis Velaquez taught me about RPE’s which stand for rate of perceived exertion. This concept made me super aware of my speed while I run and how you can actually run at different speeds. This concept of RPE’s is super important because she uses this speed metric to push you to do interval runs. I loved this program so much that I did it two times.  The 2nd program I did is called Liift4 by Joel Freeman. This program was super awesome. I was worried at first switching to this program initially because I thought it was just strictly going to be a lifting program, but that is far from the truth. I want to maintain my running strength I’ve gained in 2020 and Liift4 not only did that for me, but it also helped build more running strength.  The program is a mix of both lifting and HIIT workouts with some workouts mixing in both lifting and HIIT. Joel Freeman is all about training efficiently in a short amount of time which I strongly appreciate due to being a full time Dad and working full time. All 8 weeks of this program feature 32 unique different workouts so there is absolutely no getting bored with Mr. Freeman here. I really appreciated his energy for all the workouts and also the effectiveness of his workouts. Also the abs are not forgotten as he finishes off just about every workout with some ab moves just to leave you with a lasting burn. Another program that my wife really likes is called Muscle Burns Fat which is a fat burning program that is 6 weeks of fat burning workouts that target all areas of your body. Feel free to check out more info on this one. I plan to get this program in sometime in 2021 myself. These Beachbody workouts have really been effective for me though. I’ve never looked so fit and tone in my life. I have visible muscle growth happening in my upper body and my quads are popping out every week I keep getting my leg days in.  I’m currently doing ‘The Prep’ which is exactly what its name is, a prep for getting you ready for the real intense program “The Work.” Keep following my Instagram for everyday coverage of my Beachbody workout sessions.
    Thanks to the power of technology and the ability to access an app from anywhere on any device I’ve been training so much more efficiently now the last few years.  I mentioned I primarily use the Beachbody On Demand app now for most of my workouts, but I also still use Fitplan to supplement my workouts and change things up sometimes.  The main difference between these apps is that the Beachbody On Demand workouts train you on screen in real time with a trainer that’s working out with other people and also talking to you throughout the whole workout.  Fitplan allows you to get your workout in, but puts you more in control of your rest times and leaves it up to you to stay accountable on the exercise moves you’re doing.  However the Fitplan app is effective to use either at home or at the gym while Beachbody On Demand is mostly geared toward working out at home or outside.  All and all I’m loving the innovative ways these fitness apps can help train you now. Hope you found this blog helpful in trusting Fitness apps and allowing them to help you work towards your fitness goals.
*For all those that are interested in signing up for the Beachbody programs, feel free to use the links in this article for 30 Day Breakaway , Muscle Burns FatLiift4, and The Work.
For those that want to try the Fitplan app for free for 30 days, here is my referral link: https://fitplan.gsc.im/J57xTOeSs5

Fitness Check In: Week 2 of ‘The Prep’ Got Harder And I Loved It

    After getting my ass kicked in Week 1 of this program it doesn’t come as a surprise too much that week 2 would be any easier. If anything it got harder and more intense. If anything that is exactly why I continue to come back to these Beachbody programs. Simply because they keep things interesting and you\’re never stuck in a repetitive way of doing things. You are doing a different set of exercises in a different way every week. The first two Beachbody programs I did were “30 Day Breakaway” and “Liift4” and they both followed the same format as well. The programs focus on getting you out of your comfort zone in order to maximize your results. Amoila Cesar brought the intensity up in week 2 of ‘The Prep’ and the last workout of the week named “The Crucible” was the hardest workout I’ve done in this program. So without further delay, lets dive in and see what I took on in week 2.
Total Body Push/Pull
        This workout combined push and pull exercises in one workout which is a switch up from week 1 where the program focused on ‘push’ and ‘pull’ on different days. I did 4 rounds of moves in this one which targeted the shoulders and back primarily. There were some hammer curls to work the biceps in this one as well, but in the same move he had you do thrusters after the hammer curls. So the theme of working multiple muscle groups in one exercise move continued in this workout. The last move is a push up on top of your dumbbells and then you pop up like a burpee and execute a bicep curl. All and all this was a fun start to week 2. Check out my Instagram post on this workout here.
Strength & Power
    Last week on day 2 Amoila Cesar had gave me an ass kicking in the form of a leg day. This week he gives you a leg day and an upper body day. This workout pretty much can be called a full body workout where every muscle group was just about worked.  He had had you start off with goblet squats and then has you lunge back and perform a bicep curl.  Other moves involved doing side lunges while holding the dumbbells at your chest level. He has you do a cool curtsy move while dipping a single dumbbell downward to work your arm and legs at the same time. He finishes off by having you burn up your abs with a slider downward dog move. He even challenges you to do a push up after doing that downward dog. The focus on doing multiple moves in one exercise move is really making week 2 interesting. Check out Instagram reel covering these moves for this powerful workout.
Cardio and Core
    No weights required for this workout. All you needed was yourself and the will to push hard in this bodyweight workout. Amoila doesn’t let up on you. The first half of this workout is a nice round of agility moves that has me looking like I’m dancing in one move. He has you switch from one high knee to the other on his command in one move while making it fun with the ‘Simon says’ format and tricking you up. The 2nd half of the workout I was so heated from the agility and cardio work that I took off my shirt to focus on the ab work.  He has you do a set of moves that target your abs and burns them up in the process. This was his first workout that he really focused on burning up the abs in the program as the other workouts he incorporates 1 or 2 ab moves, but this workout focused several effective moves. I decided to make an Instagram TV video for this workout so that you can get a look at all the moves and follow along if you want to give the workout a shot. Watch it here now. The next two workouts almost killed me as they were the hardest workouts of ‘The Prep’ that I’ve encountered.
Isometrics
    I was not expecting how hard this workout is going to be. I’ve read about Isometric moves in my ISSA CPT book that I’m studying, but Amoila showed me first hand how effective and difficult Isometric exercises can be. The timing of getting some dumbbell gloves was impeccable. This workout targeted the upper body primarily with a mix of moves such as a half bicep lift & hold while lifting up one leg for high knee in the same movement. One Tricep move got thrown in. The abs and obliques were worked hard in order to keep your balance for some moves. My hands were shaking by the end of this workout as the endurance needed to hold onto these moves while handling the dumbbells was heavily tested for me. I’m looking forward circling back to this one again for another round. The next workout below was still the hardest one out of them all, but this one is the 2nd hardest workout in my book. Check out my cool Instagram reel here.
 
 
The Crucible
    If this workout program was a video game, this workout would be the boss to defeat to beat the game. The Crucible stands for: A situation of severe trial. In which different elements interact, leading to the creation of something new. This workout is just that. It took all my muscles and strength to power my way through this workout. The severe trial consisted of 8 different workout moves where I did 25 reps each. After each move, I did what Amoila called “Army Crawls” where I got in the crawling position, positioned my feet on sliders and crawled back and forth for another 25 reps. By the end of this workout I had done 200 reps of “Army Crawls. My chest and shoulders felt it afterwards. What a tough, but exciting way to test your strength in this program. I’m looking forward to getting back to this workout again to finish up ‘The Prep.’ Check out my ‘The Crucible’ workout post here.
Final Thoughts
    All and all I like the direction this program is headed.  The workouts this week were unlike anything I\’ve ever done in my fitness.  The Isometrics workout really put me out of breath at one point while ‘The Crucible’ challenged me to draw out all my power and endurance to finish up the week strong. The last two weeks of ‘The Prep’ is going to be a repeated of week 1 and week 2. I’m looking forward to round 2 of week 1 which is actually week 3 of this program. Currently I’ve already completed day 1 and day 2 of week 3 already. There is nothing that feels repetitive about repeating this workouts again as they were fun and exciting to take on again. The leg day this morning kicked my ass. Literally. I’m just looking forward to finishing up the next two weeks of training so I can finally get my ass going on the real program, “The Work.

Fitness Check In: How The Prep Kicked My Ass In A Good Way

It’s time to talk to you about the new Fitness Program I just started last week. So if you don’t know by now, I’m a Beachbody Coach and have access to bunch of effective fitness programs for a whole year.  I’ve crushed two of them so far since October.  The 30 Day Breakaway, by Idalis Valdez, is an effective running program that mixes in strength training and running intervals to help build you up to be a stronger runner. I did this program for two rounds in 60 days and lowered my 5K time by 2 minutes and 45 seconds. The latest program I finished 10 days ago is called Liift4 which at first glance makes you think it’s just a lifting program, but the Super trainer that heads this program Joel Freeman mixes things up well. He has you focus on lifting and building strength in your arms, abs, and legs, but he adds in his flavor of HIIT training and really challenges you. Here are my results from that program if you want to check it out. Now the newest program I’m doing is called the ‘The Prep’ which is a 4 week prep program to get you ready for the challenging program called “The Work.” Amolia Cesar caught my eye while I was in the middle of doing Liift4. I really enjoyed his energy and passion for fitness and knew I had to give his program a try next. So here I am powered up by my first two Beach Body programs ready to take on 10 weeks of ‘The Prep’ and the ‘The Work.
Push
Week 1 begins with a push which is fitting name to start a program because it’s always nice to get a push to start new things. However Amolia Cesar’s version of ‘Push’ is focusing on a lot of dumbbell and body weight movements that target your chest and shoulder muscles. He has you go through several rounds of dumbbell thrusters, push ups, burpees, and planks. It was a solid workout to get things going. I felt like I had Superman chest after this one no doubt.
Check out my Instagram reel that covers this workout.
Legs
They always say don’t skip leg day. Why would you? Training the legs is essential to building strength throughout your whole body. You kind of need your legs to do just about every exercise. Even when you’re sitting and doing arm curls on a bench, you are still using your legs for stability. Amoila’s leg day kicked my ass. I’m not going to lie. My glutes were on fire and really feeling it after. He mixes up different squat variations with some band movements while getting you to do some skaters to further punish your glutes and effectively work those leg muscles. As Amoila says in his explicit version, “We’re going to $%&# up those legs.” He wasn’t wrong. My next reel covers the work I did last Monday morning.
Endurance & Agility
This is where the program started challenging me. I’ve done a lot of the exercise movements from “Push” and “Leg” day, but this workout had me do some new moves that required some coordination focus on my part. The workout focuses on targeting your arm, ab, and leg muscles as he has you do a back lunge and has you follow up with a bicep curl while holding your lunge. This effectively is working multiple muscle groups at once. How nice of Amolia to make my fitness sessions efficient. The first half of this workout is lifting and then the 2nd half he burns you out with some agility moves. Thankfully for me my first two Beachbody programs have trained me in agility and HITT training so it wasn’t too bad, but it still made for a challenging end. There is reason Amoila recommends a rest day before this one. Check out my reel and get a look at this unique workout.
Pull
Alright it’s time to pull. You would think this workout just focuses on arm muscles, but Amolia is a smart man and he knows how to target multiple muscles in a workout session. This workout targets your back, shoulders, biceps, abs, and glutes.  The abs especially get burned in this session with some leg lifts, mountain climbers, and dumbbell back lifts. I decided to switch it up on the gram and do a carousel post detail all the work I did in this session.
 
Full Body Tempo
The finale intense workout of week 1 wasn’t an easy one. Amoila wouldn’t let you off that easy. More new movements for me on this workout. When I have to coordinate more, I typically have to focus and practice a bit in order to nail the movement. It adds another of layer of difficulty. The exercise that kicked my ass in this session has to be the front lunge and thrusters up and down. It was a combination of working the shoulders and legs. The abs I’m sure got some work as well on that move since the abs needs to keep me stable so the move doesn’t kill me where I stand. The last few moves had me use some sliders while working the abs and arms. The sliders are interesting to use for these workouts as they force you to stabilize and balance or you’ll slide out and split yourself in half. Just kidding, but you still need to work hard to not slide out. Overall this was a fun workout to finish the week on. Check out my reel that finishes out the intense workouts in week 1 of ‘The Prep.’
Final Thoughts
The ‘Range and Repair’ day has to be one of the best recovery workouts I’ve ever done. After having Amolia Cesar yell intensely at us in the other workouts he tones it down to yoga calming voice in this 40 minute stretching. This stretching session helped me work out all the kinks from the damage from week 1 of this program. It was for sure needed because the first week when it was all set and done kicked my ass. It took this stretching session on day 7 to help me realize that. Overall I’m super excited about the start of this program. The results I’m going to get from this ass kicking program is going to be pretty good. Week 2 already takes a different route with a different schedule of workouts so the program doesn’t get repetitive and keeps you on your toes. You can check out my Instagram to see how the first two days look. I’ll come back next Sunday or Monday with another blog covering week 2 of ‘The Prep.’ There is for sure no B.S. about this program though.

How The Covid 19 Pandemic Pushed Me To Become A Better Runner

I never liked running all the way through High School and my 20’s. When I was 320lbs I was the kid at P.E. that opted to walk and not even try. My outlook of physical activity was covered in my earlier blog post this week (Fat & Depressed at 16 to Passionate and Fit at 34). Even in my 20’s I just had no drive to push myself to run.  I would go through maybe a few weeks or 1-2 months where I would really build myself at running and get to 4-5 miles on the treadmill at the gym. Right. The treadmill as I never pushed myself to run outside much and if I did, it was once in awhile.  I lacked so much drive to continue going and never got my niche for running in my early 20’s. I’m pretty sure my depressed teenage years where I faked an injury while running during Baseball had a negative effect for me. However in my late 20’s and 30’s I did start building more of a habit for running, but I never ran more then 40 miles a month and averaged about 15-20 miles doing about 5-7 runs a month. For me, it was a simple way to get some cardio and change things up from going to the gym. It wasn’t till 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic that I would suddenly find my true passion in running.

    Losing the gym March of 2020 was a big blow and I was at a loss on how I would continue my fitness at first.  So I did the only thing I knew to do. I reverted back to doing mostly cardio except this time I had no exercise machines. No elliptical or treadmills to auto pilot on. All I had was the ability to run. So I ran I did and while normally I would’ve burnt out on running and doing the same thing in a month or two like I normally did in my 20’s. Yet this time was different.  I was unemployed thanks to this pandemic in April 2020 and I also had a baby on the way.  While most people would brood in negativity over this situation, it somehow drove me to continue my running and not give up. I began consistently using the Nike Run Club running app to track all my runs. I started out simple and ran 25 miles in April.  It then progressed to 38 miles in May where my wife and I had our first newborn.  The running for me didn’t stop there as I continued on to run 64 miles in the month of June as I hit a new monthly PR in running for me that month. I kept running steady at 55 miles in July and then charged things up again in August running 65 miles.  I had somehow pushed past my running limits that I had in my 20’s and no longer had anything holding me back. In August I had gotten a new job and was now a new Dad with a working job. However that didn’t seem to slow me down as I went on to soar to new heights in my birthday month of September and ran 100 miles which is a goal I set at the start of the month. However I didn’t make it easy for myself at all. I had only run 30 miles by September 19th and while it looked grim that I would meet my 100 mile goal I wasn’t about to give up.  I pushed hard and ran the 70 miles needed from September 20th to the end of the month and on the last day of September made it to my goal of 100 miles.  I completely became a competitive runner right before my very own eyes. I had no plan to do this. This seriously happen organically and it was something I never expected until it happened. I’m now inspired to join more running races in the future especially Spartan races.

    I’m lucky to be blessed with living in a peaceful nice town such as Foster City. I can run either at night or during the day and feel very safe.  I also have to give props to my Siberian Husky Leia who is a strong 5 year old running partner and she kept me motivated as well to keep pushing at my running. She ran over 120 miles herself in 2020 while I topped out at 483 miles of running in 2020.  I had never even ran 100 miles in a year before 2020.  I hope this blog post proves to anyone that no matter what happened in your life or what is happening in your life in the present, there is always a chance to make a big change that’ll impact your life for the better.  I look forward to when this pandemic is over and I can enter into some races and Spartan races. I’m so motivated and driven to kick some ass in some competitive racing when it comes time.  Until then, I will stay training hard and continue to work on getting stronger and stronger till its time to unleash all the running strength I gained from 2020.

 

How I Nailed My 5:30AM Morning Routine

 


    The elusive morning routine is not an easy one to create and maintain by any stretch of the imagination. I used to look at people that woke up early and think, “That’s crazy how early people are waking up.” I loved getting my sleep and when I was in my 20’s and read about the positives it is for your health to get 8 hours of sleep, I was big on making sure I got enough sleep so that I could maintain my busy lifestyle of being an hard working IT guy who works out 3-4 times a week. However that all changed when my wife of 4 years told me she was pregnant with our first child and I knew some big changes were on the way. My coworker from a job I had gave me some good advice about parenting a new born, “Surrender to not getting enough sleep. Ever.” He pretty much stated that its better for you mentally to have low expectations of getting enough sleep.  I’ve taken this advice to heart and before my daughter was born, I decided to work on developing an early morning routine in order to prepare myself for early morning wake ups.

    So while the Covid-19 pandemic just got me laid off from my job and the pressure of having a baby on the way in 3 months was my reality, it was a bit of a mental battle to worry about something as simple as developing a morning routine. However I pushed myself to still try. At the same time, I also really started amping up my running & workout regime. I’ve always used fitness as an outlet for everyday life stress and the pandemic wasn’t an exception.  While the anxious and fearful thoughts about my future hit me hard, I decided to focus on what I can control which was getting out and going for a run. I started small by waking up at 6:30AM at least 3 days a week to get my body used to waking up earlier. While it wasn’t easy at all and I had mornings where my mind said, “What the hell are you doing? You should go back to sleep and get your rest. There is no reason for you to get up early with no job to get to.” My mind can be a real prick sometimes. Haha. After a few weeks of waking up early three times a week, I started stepping it up to 4 and 5 times a week pretty fast.  After 1 month, my body really adjusted pretty easily to the new routine.  I even started getting into some early morning long runs at 10-12 miles which for me was the first time I’ve ever even run that long before. By the time my daughter was born in May, I was ready for the sleepless nights and early morning wake ups. My best advice for working on building a new routine is to smart small and then build your way up from there. This method sure worked for me in 2020.

    Fast forward to 10 months later to today. I now wake up to the alarm of my watch at 5:30AM and my initial reaction is to turn it off as quick as possible so that my 8 month old daughter doesn’t wake up as well. After that I take a minute or two to wake up before I crawl out of bed quietly and tippy toe my way out of the room.  Once I feel the cold morning air in my living room (Where I’ve been working out for 10 months now), I start waking up. I go for getting my Beachbody Performance Pre-workout ready. These days I’m not running as much as you can say I’m going for my bulk and more HIIT workouts more these days. Although I did run 8 miles two weeks ago so I can bust out and do a long run if I need to. However with no end of this pandemic coming anytime soon, I’m working on building strength vs. racking up the running miles. After about 15-20 minutes my pre workout called “Energize” kicks in and I’m ready to kick ass on my current workout program. Waking up early is easy for me now.  The 8 Mile run I ran two weeks ago at 4AM; I did it after I spent an hour and half trying to put my daughter back to sleep.  While most parents would be exhausted and want to get back to bed, I’ve really trained my body to be awake and aware in the morning. This wasn’t easy to achieve and it took me months for it to be normal to wake up at so early in the morning. After I finish my morning workout, I start my routine of getting ready for work at my full time job and face my day powered by my morning routine.

    I really appreciate my morning routine now as its the time I use for myself. Its the time I use to prepare myself for work day.  Its also the only time where I can truly have some “me” time which is very elusive when you become a parent. I currently just started a new Beachbody Program called “The Prep” where the intensity is pretty high for this program.  I almost get an adrenaline rush now from knowing I’m about to kick ass before my day starts. Its been a great routine that I use to help me be a stronger version of myself. Always be sure to make time for yourself. Whether you’re a parent or not, be sure to switch gears and focus on something you truly feel passionate about. You won’t regret the benefits of giving your mind what it needs to feel fulfilled.

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