Category Archives: Play
It’s funny…when you first lose weight or lift a new PR, you feel super good about yourself.
But then after a while, when you stay at that weight or keep lifting around the same amount, you aren’t as happy or as proud with where you are.
It is obviously still a good point if you were happy to get there, but at some point, you begin to expect and want more.
You can actually become super UNHAPPY with where you are even if it is miles beyond where you started.
It’s like we get used to our success and begin to not see it as the success it once was – we begin to see it as the new normal.
And once something is our normal, we just seem to want to improve on it.
I know I do.
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be satisfied no matter how much I achieve. Sometimes I just keep pushing and pushing expecting more and more NEVER giving myself a chance to take a break and enjoy all that has already been accomplished.
But you will drive yourself crazy that way.
Yes we can always become better, fitter, stronger, faster.
But is always pushing forward really good? Don’t you need to at points sit and enjoy what you’ve already accomplished?
Don’t you need to give yourself a break even if it is just a mental break from constantly pushing forward?
I whole-heartedly believe in giving yourself a “break” every few weeks if not a small break every week.
This new “normal” that you achieve can easily become a plateau if you keep pushing forward at the same pace day in and day out.
Honestly, your body and your mind can’t handle the same intensity day in and day out and sometimes you are lucky if you simply plateau when you don’t give yourself a chance to relax and reflect. You run the risk of actually going BACKWARDS if you never give yourself a break!
So once you’ve achieved a new normal, how do you use a “break” to keep you moving forward?
What do I mean by periodization? I mean that you cycle through times of intense work and really pushing toward your goal, working harder and harder, and then taking a little time to let your mind and body recuperate BEFORE you push forward again.
And when talking about workouts, I don’t mean the day or so you take each week to let your body recover from the week of workouts. AND I don’t mean a complete week off from working out.
When you create your workout program, you want to create a progression. A progression can be anywhere from 4-6 weeks in length. And over those weeks you should build each week on what you did the week before. This means heavier weights or maybe even earning more advanced and complicated variations of moves.
But anyway you look at it you are PROGRESSING. You aren’t randomly picking workouts. You are building each week toward a goal…even if that goal is simply to do a heavier squat or be able to use weight on a single leg deadlift.
And then after building for those 4-6 weeks, you need to recover. This can mean going back to body weight for a week. It can mean completely switching up your progression or even just doing different workouts for a week.
Whatever it is, you’ve got to give your body and your MIND a break from the constant pressure to move forward.
Same goes for dieting. And again I don’t simply mean a cheat meal or even a cheat day each week.
Sometimes you have to let go completely…like on a vacation. Sometimes you have to take a couple of days and just enjoy even if they aren’t on whatever usual schedule/plan you follow.
Your mind and body can’t keep pushing forward all the time. You’ve got to give yourself a chance to relax and enjoy your new “normal” but still improved/better/fitter/happier state before you push forward again.
So think about your program right now…Are you actually building toward something or just haphazardly going about things and then getting mad when a new normal turns into a month-long plateau?
Have you been working at the same intensity for the last three months and been wondering why you haven’t seen results?
Give this a shot. Write up the next few weeks and then PLAN in a week to enjoy how strong you’ve gotten while not focusing on moving forward or your goals for the next few weeks. Plan a week every 4-6 weeks where you are going to just enjoy and PLAY!
Yesterday was the OKC California Open Championship.
I placed first in my weight class for 16kg long cycle…
Out of one haha
Which honestly didn’t lift my spirits at all after I failed to hit the number of reps I set out to hit.
Because I wasn’t there to compete against anyone else.
I was there to best my own goals and prove something to myself.
I was there to do long cycle and hit 88 reps in 10 minutes.
I fell short at 73.
Actually, I probably hit almost 100 reps, but unfortunately about 30 didn’t count because my jerk or push press from the clean wasn’t completely fluid (long cycle is basically the kettlebell version of clean to press). I guess I had a little hitch to fully straighten my elbow more like an overhead press than a perfect jerk. (I will now study my video and work tirelessly to correct it.)
I’m mad at myself that I didn’t have exactly perfect form on the press overhead.
I’m mad at myself for not realizing the connection between the not counted reps and the fact that it had to do with my press since I did do the form correctly for 73 reps so could have really focused on that specific movement and potentially still hit 88.
I’m mad at myself that at 1 minute 30 left when I started to fatigued a little I did 3 no count movements in a row (aka 3 un-fluid presses) and got my 10 minutes cut short.
I’m mad that I didn’t live up to my own expectations.
A ton of people came up to me and told me that I did an amazing job especially for my first competition. A ton of people congratulated me on a great lift. A ton of people told me they couldn’t believe I lifted with 16kg in my first competition. A ton of people….
Honestly, it didn’t matter what they said.
I am my own harshest critic and the one that matters the most to me.
Because I don’t do these competitions for anyone else but myself.
There are no million dollar checks or TV deals. There are no big prizes and most people around me will never know about half, if any, of my weekend expeditions.
There may never be anything I compete in that I’m best in the world at.
But that isn’t the point…is it?
The point is to go out there and hit that goal that I set out to hit. To prove something to yourself. If you happen to win or get some sort of award, that is always a bonus but not the reason to compete.
So while yesterday I walked away feeling a bit defeated, I’m ready to reset. Train hard. Get stronger. Get tougher. And go out there again in August and kick some serious kettlebell butt!
Are you ready to pick yourself back up and get right back to it?
Ok so a few weeks ago, I was contacted by an Under Armour rep. about doing a product review and giveaway.
I won’t do promotional things UNLESS I really believe in the company or brand – and I LOVE Under Armour.
I actually gained a huge respect for the brand when they started the “What’s Beautiful” competition.
So when he offered me a chance to review a product and give one away to a dedicated Man Bicep reader, I jumped right on the opportunity.
I work in a gym with tires, atlas stones, barbells, dumbbells, ropes and sleds. While we do have a cleaning crew that does a great job, the gym does have that sort of dirty outdoor feel.
It definitely isn’t a gym where I want to wear Lululemon. (Granted I only sometimes even wear my stuff from Lululemon to lift…It just doesn’t feel right to me…but that is me.)
BUT I do love wearing big comfortable t-shirts to workout in AND my Under Armour clothes.
I have a number of shirts from Under Armour, which are cute and flattering BUT NOT TIGHT (Even though I have half-naked photos on my blog, I really don’t like tight clothing.)
So anyway, I love my Under Armour stuff because it is cute but makes me feel comfortable and just seems to fit with all of the different things in the gym.
However, most of the Under Armour stuff I have is short-sleeved and while it isn’t COLD here, in a gym with no heat, you do sometimes need a sweatshirt.
And an Under Armour sweatshirt is one thing I didn’t have so I chose to review that product!
I got the purple Fleece Divide Hoody and I LOVE it!
It is warm and cute and comfortable (and I’m a fan of color so I love the brightness). I like mine loose so I got a medium and it fits perfectly! It is fitted enough without being skin-tight.
It makes me feel like I’m wearing something stylish, but at the same time it isn’t so cute or fragile feeling that I’m afraid to get it a little dirty.
It is perfect to lift in and perfect to coach in.
(Ok so these pictures are taken from this morning workout and I look tired…I’m apparently not a morning person any more…)
The only “negative” I guess is that it is missing thumb holes, but I’m just a weirdo and like to play with those…
So who is interested in getting their own Fleece Divide Hoody!?!
Check back later today for the GIVEAWAY!
P.S. I’ve decided breathing squats are going to be awful by the end of next week. Right now the weight is light enough that 20 in a row down to a low box isn’t bad, but once I up the weight next week…UH OH!
So I finished my latest workout progression last Wednesday with 20 minutes on the battling ropes.
I then took four days off while I traveled to visit the Man Bicep Mom and my sister (which by the way was SO much fun!).
Since coming back, I’ve been working out with no clear direction. I figured my body could use the break from intense training and it is nice every once in a while to take a week to just play!
I’m just experimenting, trying new things and working on strengthening areas for my next progression. I’ll probably just “goof around” until Monday when I start a two-week powerlifting progression before getting back to training for the OKC Kettlebell competition we will be holding in February.
The other day I tried this glute bridge exercise that I’ve seen one of the owners, Corey, doing on a regular basis. It was killer and a great way to improve my deadlift. I’ve also tested out a few core exercises I’d found online and worked on my kettlebell swing.
Then today I jumped in on one of Aaron’s workouts and got my first chance to work with the atlas stones.
While I wasn’t lifting them like this guy, I did get to do a core exercise with the “little” 125lbs one. Aside from smashing my elbow underneath it so that I now have a second elbow off of my first elbow, I really really liked using those stones.
Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the exercise we were doing today, but it did make you look like a turtle stuck on your back. It was a great core exercise because it not only worked all of the muscles of your trunk, but it also worked your triple extension, meaning it also worked all the way down your legs.
Anyway, the point of this short rambling post is that while I’ve been harping on progression and setting a goal and tailoring your program to move you closer to that goal, it is also very important to remember to take ACTIVE REST weeks. Every month or two months, you should take a week where you just PLAY.
You don’t necessarily have any clear-cut goals. You are allowing yourself to just relax while not being completely inactive.
You are just experimenting and readying your mind and body for another round of intense, hard work.
So while setting out a clear progression toward your goals is important, remember it is also important to every once in a while give your mind and body and chance to play with no stress or pressure to accomplish a goal.
Some random fun to celebrate Friday….just because!
Two things I found this week while shopping that I absolutely LOVE:
1. Macadamia nut butter
2. Coconut Chips from Trader Joes
Also, I went rock climbing with the team last week and LOVED IT!
What better way to see all of your training pay off than to feel physically fit enough to take on any challenge!?!
AND Ryan got a trigger point “Grid” for his birthday…which I’ve stolen to use like every day!
And finally…wish me luck.
I’ve started a new training program which I’m pretty sure will end up upping my deadlift AND help me accomplish a few feats on the VersaClimber and battling ropes. The program was designed by one of the owners of Innovative Results and I’m interested to see the results!
Have I mentioned before that I love self-experimentation!?!
Right now, I’m just working my butt off…and I haven’t been so sore consistently in a while. Although I do feel better after my 7 mile run yesterday. (Uhm yep…I ran 7 miles…who would have thunk it…BLEH…haha)
Anyway, stay tuned for some unconventional tips to help you up your deadlift!!!
HAPPY FRIDAY! Get some delicious healthy snacks, go play and then foam roll for a little recovery!
I can do better.
So Ryan and I weren’t a finalist in the Primal Blueprint workout video contest, but we did have a whole heck of a lot of fun making the video.
Maybe it will inspire you this weekend to workout!
If it doesn’t below is a great bodyweight workout that I did in my training session today (which the Man Bicep Mom attended!)
10-1 (10 reps of everything for one round, then 9, then 8…down to one. On one-sided exercises, that means 10 to each side)
1 arm TRX rows
Push ups (chest to ground)
Rainbow slams with a medicine ball
10-1 (10 reps of everything for one round, then 9, then 8…down to one. On one-sided exercises, that means 10 to each side…so like 10 Mountain Climbers each leg)
Backwards lunges on sliders
Scapular hold against a wall or floor for 30 seconds
Mountain Climbers on sliders
Side lunges on sliders
Complete the entire workout as quickly as possible. Really a good workout for a stabilization day!
It’s funny. I don’t feel that old.
But when I look at kids today, I can’t help but think about how different my childhood was from theirs.
I was always playing. I was always active even if that meant climbing trees…actually climbing jump ropes that I hung from trees (that occasionally snapped…I didn’t say I was bright…Sorry Man Bicep Mom if you didn’t know that….)
But kids today don’t just go out and play. They don’t ride their bikes around the neighborhood or roller blade or run around like mad people.
They are playing video games or watching TV or SITTING DOWN.
Not that studying isn’t great and not that watching TV doesn’t have its place, but kids need to MOVE!
I mean you hear about the increase in childhood obesity all of the time, but what are we really doing about it!?! Sending out more literature about it? Telling parents NOT to let their kids watch TV!?!
Well how about we tell parents what can actually CHANGE the situation!
And what is one of the best ways to encourage young kids to move!?! MUSIC!
Ryan actually was the one to show me how important music actually was to getting kids to move.
Ryan was a preschool teacher and music teacher. Now he pretty much solely focuses on the music education end of things.His Rhymin’ Ryan music gets preschoolers and younger children off their butts and wiggling to the music.
And of course I am musically challenged…in every way. So I was excited when he started doing something musical that I actually understood…music and MOVEMENT.
And why does music work so well to encourage kids to move?
Because music makes movement or exercise into PLAY!
Kids will move if they think it is fun. When you make movement into exercise or a chore, they won’t do it. They will want to instead sit in front of the TV.
So stop forcing them to do certain sports or tell them they need to exercise because they play too many video games.
Instead of just saying, “You can’t watch TV” find FUN ACTIVITIES you can do. Be it dancing around to music or playing on the playground together, make exercise something fun not a chore!
In Boston, all too often Ryan and I would spend time together by watching TV or a movie. We would do active things together, but not near as frequently as we should have.
Since moving to Cali, we’ve spent so much more time together doing active things – even just activities such as walking around a farmers market together.
There is something about being ACTIVE together that brings you even closer together. There is a bonding that goes on when you DO things together.
Like yesterday…We did a quick workout together then got some coffee and walked about 4 miles on the beach, watching the waves. We later put together some furniture. All active things. All times to bond.
There is just something about the bonding that happens during physical activity that is so different from the bonding that happens at any other time.
That is why I encourage all of my clients, friends and family to DO things together. Go paddleboarding. Go rock climbing. Go for a hike or jog or even do a workout together!
Yea there may be some competition when you do a workout with your spouse, friend or family member, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The fact that you are overcoming a challenge together will bring you closer. The fact that you are both talking and playing together while getting endorphins from the exercise will bring you closer.
Playing together will help you develop a stronger bond. A healthier relationship. And a healthier you.
So today…go play with your family and friends!
So currently I don’t have a gym to train at consistently.
But that is no excuse not to workout intensely!
Sunday I went and ran Stadiums, or as Ryan calls them “Serpentines.”
On Monday, Ryan and I borrowed any random workout equipment we could and did a workout in the backyard.
And then yesterday, I went to the park and busted out a very nice workout.
So what if a couple of people gave me a very strange look?! So what if I was crawling through the grass?!
Monkey bars are a great place to do pull ups and knees to elbows. Heck if you even just go back and forth across the monkey bars it is a great workout.
A park bench or picnic table is perfect for box jumps.
There is just so many great exercises that you can do on a playground!
And hey, at least a kid said, “Mommy, I want to do what she is doing on the monkey bars!” (At this point I was doing knees to elbows.)
Who cares if you look “weird” bear-crawling on the ground?!?!
You are running and “playing” just like a kid! Shoot! Get your kids to do the workout with you on the playground! They will think it is so much fun!
It’s better than being one of those people just sitting around WATCHING their kids play, right!?!
So no excuses! Go out and play in the sun (and get in a great workout while you are at it!)
You can even try this workout!
Bear crawls (forward then back) 25 steps forward and 25 steps back
Pull ups 25
Picnic bench jumps 50
Leg lowers 50
“Walking” Lunges (jumping up and slightly forward each time switching legs) 25 each side
Knees to elbows 50
1 leg skater squats 25 each side
Monkey bars 50 (go back and forth across the monkey bars until you hit 50 reps)
Mountain climbers 50 each side
Pull ups 25
Bear crawls (forward then back) 25 steps forward and 25 steps back