Vic's fitness blog

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Dark Side

I can still see her sitting there on one of my plyo boxes.  For what ever reason, she wanted to watch me train. 

I guess it was one of those fun things to do in the initial stages of courtship - watch the object of your affection do what they do best.  I blazed through my workout schedule with rare intensity.  I was definitely showing off.

But I trained even harder after she suddenly broke it off.  I would kill all of the lights in my gym, crank the most aggressive music I could find, and then picture her sitting on that damned plyo box.   My pain was purified in the gym.  Then again, perhaps it was just magnified.

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Kill a Man

This is easier than you might think…

It requires no real skill. You won’t have to spend the next ten years honing your ninja-like moves. There is no weapons or poison to buy. It turns out that all you have to do is bore them to death. No none will notice. The body will simply show up one day and none us will be any the wiser.

Scientists, Annie Britton and Martin J. Shipley of the Department of Epidemiology at University College London studied over 7,500 civil servants between the ages of 35 and 55 and recorded their level of boredom. Then they called back 10 years later to find out who was still alive.

Those who’d said they had high levels of boredom were 37% more likely to be dead by 2009!

And what was the conclusion?

Bored people are more prone to being unhappy, unmotivated and unfulfilled and generally all round miserable leading to unhealthy habits like smoking, drugs, or drinking…yadda, yadda, yadda.

So, for that stealth Kill…Do Nothing.

What does this have to do with lifting shit?

I hear so many folk whine. I don’t know what programme to do, how long should I rest, how many reps? Should I add muscle, should I drop weight. Do I need to do cardio. Am I too huuuuuuge!??? STOP!

You owe it to yourself to make your training brutally effective and with a little imagination, fun. If you have to choose one, go for the former but if you are even just a little bit clever, it can be both.

We all know the benefits of chest exercises. We know that the physical and mental pay off is worth every minute. But so many guys get hung up on the small stuff and turn the process into a navel-gazing exercise. The mental component of training only kicks in when you are actually training. I don’t care how much Napoleon Hill you read, you are not going to think and grow big! You can’t read yourself fit.

Train properly and there will be no time to fuss over details, that in all honesty, have little or no impact on your overall conditioning.

So, first things first. Make your training sessions short. I often simply pick two exercises and work them back to back. Rather than worrying about muscles, think about moves.

We are designed to push, pull, squat, lunge, bend and twist. So, a lunge matrix followed by a pyramid set of Kettlebell squats. Or how about double Clean and jerks and wide grip pull ups.

You don’t need a ton of gear to do this and it is simple to take a drill you have mastered and make it more challenging. I recently added a pair of Fat Gripz to my pull up routine and I went from cranking out smooth double digits to struggling to get 5.

For the guys who think of training as a necessary evil, you will always be taking two steps forward and one step back. If you can get your head in the game and make your training “playful” you will open up a world of potential.

This week so far has consisted of…Monday, Kettlebell Clean and jerks and pull ups. Tuesday, Heavy Bag, skipping and snatches. Wednesday, 2-mile run, strengthing, kicking, shadowboxing. Thursday, Indian Clubs, shoulder press, suitcase dead lifts, pull ups, press ups.

Today? Sun is shining, might go to the park and swing, roll, run, jump. Bottom line is, I will move!

So yeah, it’s great to have a plan, it’s good to have a goal. But more importantly, it’s essential to simply move like you mean it. Embrace the chaos, try stuff, experiment, ditch the stuff that doesn’t work, do the stuff that you don’t like, temper that with the stuff you love.

One thing is for sure…you won’t get Bored!

– Rannoch

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Free-Weights-or-Strength-Training

I hope you haven't been mesmerized by some late night infomercial into buying some expensive piece of  equipment that's now nothing more than an overpriced clothes rack.

Setting up a home gym doesn't have to be expensive, in fact, it can be totally free if you like.

Below are my recommendations for setting up your ultimate home gym at any price.

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Weights

It’s been over a month now since I owned my own gym. And although I LOVED my gym and feel that I had a dream set up, I’ve been getting some great training in at home.

Below are three reasons why home workout for beginner can be better than going to the gym.

Home Workouts… 

#1 Convenience

I keep some kettlebells and a Concept 2 rower in my bedroom so I literally roll out of bed into my morning workout. No commute to and from the gym, no packing a gym bag, and no waiting on the jack ass doing curls in the power rack. Working out at home easily saves me an hour that I can put towards playing with Coda or writing my next article.

#2 Privacy

That annoying jack ass who can’t put his cell phone down between sets? Yeah, I never see him during my home workouts. The old dude who refuses to wear a towel in the locker room? Not seeing him either. Oh, and the salesman trying to lock you into a year of their substandard personal training services? Definitely not having to deal with that! I select the music, the volume of the music, and even train in my underwear when I feel like it. I know, that crossed the “too much information” line. . .

#3 Save Money

So you pay $40 per month for that fancy corporate gym. Over the course of a year that is $480. Over five years it’s $2,400 and over ten it’s $4,800. And I’m not even factoring in the costs of gasoline for your gym commute or the “opportunity costs” where you could be working and making money during the time wasted by going to the gym.

You could lay out a home gym set up at any of those price points (or cheaper) that would last a life time. And I’ll give you a shopping list to do just that.

Stay tuned. . . in my next post I’ll name names and give links breaking down my exact equipment recommendations for the ultimate home gym at any price.

Do you train at home? What are some of the advantages – and disadvantages – that you have found with your home workouts? Let me know in the comments below.

– Vic

P.S. – Summer is on its way – If you want my proven plan to get in shape and lose your belly then pick up  your copy of The 31 Day Challenge Manual

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weight gain exercise

This is a guest post from my buddy Jason Ferruggia.  

Jason is very well known for his ability to take skinny guys and slap on slabs of muscle.  He's currently having a 50% off sale until Wednesday, March 31st on his new product Triple Threat Muscle

When people ask me how to gain weight the first thing I ask them is if how to do deadlifts. If you are trying to get big but aren’t including deadlifts in your program you are simply wasting your time. There is simply no more effective exercise than the deadlift, even deadlift vs squat.

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2x results

This post is more for the advanced readers (and trainers) of this blog...

Recently my buddy Justin who helps me with the filming and technical aspects of Gym Junkies stumbled upon a training movement that's gaining a lot of ground called "Bio-Feedback Training".  The rest of this post is written by him, so I'll let him take over from here...

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Bankruptcy, Gym and Donuts

The loss of a loved one.

Life-threatening illness.

Divorce.

There are certain life events that are so gut wrenching, so debilitating, that they can crush the health habits of even the most disciplined among us.

For me, it was recently shutting down my gym and filing bankruptcy.

Since I was a kid, all I wanted to do was own a karate school.  Later in life, as I became devoted to fitness training, it seemed natural to blend my two passions into my own business.  In 2004 I opened Metro Martial Arts & Fitness in Columbus, Ohio.  I was living my dream.

But it wasn’t all sunshine and rose petals.  My business was born on heavy debt, and from the very beginning, I was playing catch up.  Year after year of 14 hour days and my failure to adequately cope with the financial pressures eroded most of what I held dear in my life.  I lost touch with friends, destroyed my relationship, and to large, extent lost the passion I once had – especially for the martial arts.

I know I did good work.  The outpouring of support I received from my former clients and students went a long way in reminding me of that.  Computer programmers lost 30 pounds.  College professors fought off osteoporosis.  And many of the hundreds of kids who came through my doors over the years improved their grades, served their community, and protected themselves from school yard bullies.  People came up to me with hugs and told me in no uncertain terms, “You changed my life.”

But as much as I succeeded as a trainer and teacher, I failed as a business owner.

There is no other way to put it when you find yourself sitting in a bankruptcy lawyer’s office.  And I was a complete wreck during the weeks leading up to that moment.  My diet consisted almost exclusively of donuts, coffee, pizza, and beer.  Working out was the farthest thing from my mind.  I didn’t shave and I was lucky if I took a shower every third day.  I was losing my dream and I was letting it effect the very essence of my being.

But there comes a point (maybe when you notice that you smell worse than your dog) that you have to snap out of it.

There comes a time when you have to ask yourself if you really believe all of the motivational bullshit you’ve been spewing to others over the years.  You have to look at yourself in the mirror and remember that you have the choice to not let this event define you.  And then you have to move on.

Below are a few things that helped me through this difficult time.  I hope that others going through the trials of life can find some benefit.

Bankruptcy… 

Move. I’m notorious for slamming long slow cardio.  But if 30 minutes of the treadmill trot while watching Oprah is all you can muster at the moment, it’s way better than twisting another bottle cap.  Clean the house, play with the dog, go for a long walk.  Do ANYTHING that will get the blood flowing, even just a little.  For me it was supersets of chin ups and push ups – not max effort mind you – just 5 chin ups and 10 push ups repeated 3 times.  I always felt better afterward.

Put The Fitness Goals On Hold. So you were working on packing on 10 pounds of muscle before the car accident?  Or you were getting ready for your first powerlifting meet before you accepted the certified mail for the foreclosure on your home?  I was experimenting with a new program for losing stomach fat when things fell apart.  Stop.  Just stop.  Your new goal is to come out on the other side of this major life challenge in the best way possible.  Everything else can wait.  It will be there for you on the rebound.

Find The Silver Lining. I played fetch with my beloved golden retriever Coda for an hour yesterday.  I had NEVER done that before – it was damned near impossible with the hours I was putting in.  Everything is a trade off.  And as brutal as it can be at first, once the smoke clears you can start to see that the major life changes often yield some unexpected benefits.

Let It Out. Losing my business was pain like I had never experienced before.  And part of getting through it were the tears and the anger.  Holding it in would have only prolonged this stage and made it difficult to get some forward momentum.  So whether you journal, talk to a close friend, seek professional counseling, or just let loose with a good cry – the release you feel can help clear the path for moving on.

Let It Go. Nearly all of the life events I am referring to involve great loss.  For me the greatest pain came from refusing to acknowledge the loss.  But one small gesture – bagging up all of the t-shirts with my business logo that I had acquired over the years and donating them to a thrift store – gave me much needed finality.  Find what works for you, some gesture or symbol of the end, and then don’t look back.

On a long enough timeline, life will throw us all a few curve balls.  Everyone goes through tough times and if you’ve made it out on the other side, I’d love to hear your story (or just a comment about whatever below)

– Vic

P.S. – I will still be running Gym Junkies and posting new content each week along with John & Rannoch.  I actually am working on 2 new BIG projects for Gym Junkies that I think you guys will absolutely love.  While my gym may be gone, my love for helping you reach your goals is not!

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