It’s Been A While…

It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated.m  I’ve been super busy with school and work.  Example?  Yesterday I was on campus from 8am until 9:15pm.  I’m anticipating having 12 hour days on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and I’m going to be working and keeping my grades up.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to write more, too.

I’ve noticed a lot in the past week, and I’ve compiled a short list of things I’ve learned in the past week.  Here they are:

  • Nike Free’s are blowing up.

I’m seeing them everywhere.  Walking around campus at Adelphi, I’ve seen them on the feet of both the men and women, and they seem to be getting more and more popular.  This is great, because they’re good for your feet.  Thankfully, Nike has come out with some spiffy new designs so more people are wearing them.  What, you don’t think that other people are picking out their shoes because of the performance benefits?  Yea, I didn’t either.  With the design of the new Free Run+, these are becoming really popular and more people are repeating the benefits of closer-to-barefoot training.  Sure, it’s not a conscious decision, but if the advantages are being had, the end result is the same.  This fall, Free’s are going to make your feet faster AND look cooler.  Unless you require orthopedics, then don’t have an excuse for not being awesome.

Nike Free Run+

Last night I arrived home to the Free 3.0; today is my first day wearing them, and they’re amazing.  I don’t plan on running very much in them, mostly because I don’t run, but they’ll be my crisp, white “hanging out” sneakers.  They’re very low-profile, far more so than the Free 5.0’s and TR (trainers) that I have, and very comfortable.  The ‘3.0’ designation means that they’re the lowest support of the Free line, and I definitely felt that today during my Track and Field Methods class while we ran; knowing exactly what your foot is doing on each footstrike is a great feeling.  Go set your feet Free.

While we’re still on the topic of footwear, let me just rant for a second.  I saw a fellow student walk into the gym in a tank top, basketball shorts, and timberland boots.  REALLY?!  YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS.  Work boots while you exercise?  That’s a good idea in two conditions:  If you’re in the woods digging a hole for fun, or if you’re shoveling snow.  What were you thinking.  Oh, you weren’t.  Right.

  • People usually don’t know how to design programs.

This isn’t exactly news to me, but it is still important.  Efficiency is a key topic on this blog, and I seldom see truly efficient workouts.  It seems to me that every 135lb guy is doing a 5 day body part split to get bigger, and every girl who’s trying to ‘tone’ thinks that the elliptical is her best friend.  I find this oddly frustrating; while it doesn’t directly effect me, it’s irritating to see people consistently miss their goals.  I want people to succeed!  Regardless of what your goals are, don’t you want to get there?  How many people actually reach their goals on a consistent basis?  Far fewer than you’d expect.  It’s tough to blame them, when the media caters to what they want to hear and not what they need to hear.  The editors at the lifestyle magazines are doing it wrong.  They ask the celebrity trainers, who are more  celebrities than trainers.  Then, when they ask the coaches and therapists that know what’s going on, they edit/revise the information.  Do the readers of Cosmo want to hear that they should squat for a nice butt, and chin-up for a nice back?  No, they like reading about exercises they can do with cans of soup.  They want to hear that it’ll be easy for them to get in the shape of their lives; nobody wants to hear that they’ll have to literally work their butt off.  It’s not what they want to hear, but if they’re told what they need to hear, the odds that they do the exercises or renew the magazine will drop.  It’s a business, so they sell you what you want.

I had the opportunity to ‘program’ for a friend the other day.  A lifeguard at the gym is doing his best to learn the most about how to train.  He reads Men’s Health, asks questions, and he’s trying to ‘get it’.  Despite this, he tends to jump around a lot between exercise programs; he’ll workout differently every time he’s in the gym, so it’s near impossible to see what works the best; he’s just slowly improving.  I was working on the floor during his last workout before returning to school, and I wanted to send him off on the right foot; I wanted to give him a taste of a more efficient model, far better than the typical body part split.  I followed his guidelines; he typically does a chest/bi’s split, and wanted to maintain some emphasis on that, but I was free to choose exercises for him.  I gave him an upper body workout with those goals in mind.  An example superset would be the following:  Dumbbell Bench-Press/  Supinating Single Arm Cable Row.  The dumbbell press was selected because greater demand is placed on the pecs compared to a barbell press, so this met his requirement for a chest emphasis.  The supinating motion during the row requires his bicep to work harder, as he’s actively moving from a palms down to palms up position as rows; Et voilà, bicep exmphasis.  Finally, I chose to go with a uni-lateral row for two reasons; from a standing position, there is a great deal of core emphasis.  You are forced to resist rotation throughout the set, which trains your abs in a functional manner.  Additionally, his set lasted longer because he had to train one arm at a time.  This helped boost the cardiovascular demand of the workout.  Max was a big fan of the workout, and asked me to program for him.  I’m going to send him a template to use at the Lehigh gym, so he can train smarter and train harder.  I asked Max to write a little review of the training session for me, and here is what he sent me:

While doing the workout which focused on chest and back, I felt the power throughout the workout. It gave me a great pump which caused me to be in need of a break between each superset. My muscles definitely took a beating. Aerobically, I was constantly sweating as if I just ran on the treadmill. It is nice to be able to weight lift and do cardio at the same time. This workout was a great workout. Afterwards I was extremely tired and needed some time to recooperate. The day after the workout, I was only slightly sore which is to my surprise. Overall an A for the workout, but this type of workout focuses on high intensity and heavy lifting.

Obviously, Max would agree with me that it was tough, but a superior way to train.  Thanks a lot, Max!

  • Being strong is never a bad thing.

This is a topic I’d like to go into WAY more depth on, but I’ll use this as an icebreaker for it.  Yesterday during my first shift with Adelphi Campus Rec, I spotted a guy during his last squat set, a 3 x 495lbs.  While I joked him him that it was 5lbs too light to count, it was seriously awesome to spot that.  It was also seriously awesome to see every guy in the place turn to watch him.  It might not have been the depth though, it may have been that they haven’t ever seen somebody hit depth before.

It was also cool seeing somebody lift for strength and not purely size.  Sure, he was a big guy, but he looked like an athlete, not a doll.  He’s using his strength to  be better at something, not to merely appear better at something.  There is a MASSIVE difference there; far too many people assume a direct causation between strength and size.  Sure, there is a correlation there, but they are not directly linked.  Case in point:  Hannah Johnson.

Yes, she’s very good looking.  Yes, she’s got a great body.  Yes, she did just squat more than you can.  Would you have assumed that she’s that strong?  No.  She trains for her strength.  You can train for strength without increasing your muscle mass.  This is what you aren’t going to read in the magazines.  The one’s that tell you that doing this is a good idea:

If you can honestly tell yourself that stuff like this is going to do wonders for your health or physique, then you’re only kidding yourself.  Hopefully, when I do talk about Strength, I’ll be able to show you the light.

Now I’m going to go play golf at Eisenhower Blue.

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