Spring is in the air: Cardio takes a back sit

Posted by on Mar 11, 2016 in Fitness, Health
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Hello everyone. I’ve had a bad knee for the last ten days so I haven’t been doing any cardiovascular work, be it exercise bike or running. I had been planning to extol the virtues of my exercise bike but as I’ve only been doing weights for the last fortnight I’ll save that for another day.
The mini hiatus from cardiovascular has allowed me to focus on weights and I have to say I’ve really got into it, a real taste for lifting weights has developed. Following on from the advice from the boys at Insentif, their blog post, http://www.insentif.co.uk/good-technique-vs-maximum-weight and following advice through my virtual personal fitness trainer Richard we set out this plan:

Just to recap I do:

  • 25 lat dips using my dip station
  • 10 heavy bicep curls immediately followed by 10 lighter bicep curls,
  • 10 press ups,
  • 10 shoulder presses with heavy weights immediately followed by 10 shoulder presses with the lighter weights
  • and finally as many pull up/knee raises as I can muster, normally 5.

This takes 10 minutes. I like to time this unit of weights because it stops me cooling off and keeps the pace going and also stops me caning it for the first 20 or 30 minutes thereby tiring early and making a longer session less likely.  I’ve regularly put together 1 hour 20 minute sessions this past fortnight with 3 days on one day off. You have to have a day off to allow your muscles the chance to regenerate.

The equipment I use:

Olympic workbench for bench pressing weights

Olympic workbench

Dip station Lats and biceps muscle

The Dip/Chin Station

Bicep dumbells

Free weights for bicep curls








The way I go about my session is to tell myself it’s alright to do a small session , just 20 or 30 minutes. This makes the start smaller in my mind and once I get the session  going it invariably goes on longer. I commonly do 6 units of my routine as outlined above which takes 1 hour. Then I do “extras” by way of gravy atop the main course. For me this means focusing on bicep curls and press ups and I simply keep going until I get tired. This adds about 20 minutes to my total workout. I do all this at home. One nice tip I would give is to have some kind of fan arrangement. It cools you down which makes you more comfortable and therefore more inclined to keep on rocking.

I’m really looking forward to adding some cardiovascular to my new found love of weights once my knee gets better. It should thicken out my training sessions quite a bit. Stay tuned for my next blog which will include my monthly weigh in. I daresay the excitement is overwhelming.

Christmas weight Vs fitness result!

Posted by on Jan 5, 2016 in Fitness, Health
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The Christmas period is over and, I’m sorry to say, I’ve put on 9lbs as a result of over eating and not doing any exercise for ten days. I weigh myself at the start of each month and on the 1st of January I came in at 245lbs. On a 6′ 2″ frame that translates as rather chubby.
I spoke with my new personal fitness trainer, Richard Cornell at Insentif fitness. I started exercising again on 1st January with a light 20 minute jog around the park, just to reacquaint myself with the feeling of exercise. In my experience getting started is almost literally  80% of the battle so you need to make that start as small in your mind as possible. I’ve compiled a variety of mantras to help me with this. The one I used on this occasion was ” nice and easy , one’ll do”. I find this helps me settle into the mindset of just chugging round the park and getting a little exercise under my belt.

By one I mean one unit of cardiovascular exercise which is about twenty minutes of light jogging or approximately 2 1/2 miles. I find using a modular system to quantify my cardiovascular and weights regime very helpful. It enables me to start off with a modest and achievable target, say one unit of cardiovascular and two units of weights , and have that clear in my mind. Then if I feel good it provides me with bite sized chunks I can add on to my original target if I feel like it. By this method I can accumulate a nice sized total of exercise , say an hour or more.
A unit of weights for me is one circuit of my routine which lasts about ten minutes. So one unit of cardiovascular is 20 minutes and two units of weights would also be 20 minutes. Easy. Put those two together and you’ve got 40 minutes of exercise. “It ain’t nothin’ but a thang” (another one of my mantras). Now imagine if you kept to this very easy and achievable target four or five days a week for a year. This thought is another thing I tell myself to keep going.
I’ll quickly describe what one of my weights units consists of. As I have said it lasts about 10 minutes and I do it all at home in a makeshift gym I have compiled inexpensively. dipstattion First I do 25 shallow triceps dips on a frame I bought for £65 but you could use a sturdy chair. I find this is a good start to my weights session because it is the easiest element of my routine and it eases me nicely into the “weights zone”. Again making the start as small in the mind as possible.
I then do ten bicep curls with heavy weights and then do ten bicep curls with lighter weights immediately afterwards. I picked this tip up from a weightlifting website and it takes advantage of muscle fatigue. You lift the heavy weights and the when you switch to the second set you barely notice them because your arms think they’re still lifting the heavy weights. Because you’re lifting the lighter weights under “muscle fatigue” the efficacy is increased. The website I found this on suggested you could do it with three sets of weights , very heavy , moderate and light. Personally I only use two sets but I have confidence in this principle. Then I do ten press ups , easy. Then I do ten standing shoulder presses with the heavy weights and ten with the lighter immediately afterwards, again taking advantage of muscle fatigue. The final element is as many pull ups as I can muster on a door pull up frame I bought from the Internet for a mere £13. When I first got this I could barely do one rep now I’m upto 5. This is a good exercise and even these few repetitions can be felt on the triceps, pecs and shoulder area and even the stomach.
I’ve been exercising like this , somewhat patchily at times I must admit, for about two years and in that time I’ve lost 2 stone and have become quite fit , albeit still a little chubby. The best bit of advice I would give to someone who is just starting their exercise after years of inactivity is don’t be embarrassed to start small. Literally 5 minutes of jogging to the end of your street and back at a pace barely above walking just to get your body used to the sensation of exercise. 5 minutes can soon turn into 20 minutes over 3 or 4 weeks with small, barely noticeable increases.
I will expand on my regime in my next post.

Mike fitness this winter

Posted by on Nov 26, 2015 in Fitness, Health, Nutrition
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Training is starting to change this winter:

parkEquipmentMy schedule for training has changed from the summer… this winter its getting harder to use the kit down at the local park because its freezing. We talked through my personal training plan with the boys at Insentif Fitness. We’ve come up with the following ways in which we can undertake the same exercise and results but using furniture and a few things around the house:

  • Tricep dips using a kitchen chair.
  • Range of push-ups anywhere

Building a fitness plan with Insentif:

Hydrowhey-1lb-chocolate_2We are introducing a protein shake into my diet for my winter fitness plan. The plan is: