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Book Review: In Defense of Food

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I finished up Pollans ‘In Defense of Food’ last week so I thought I’d give my review of the book.

Overall it was a great read.  Pollan advocates of more locally grown produce and grass fed or wild caught game meats to be eaten which doesn’t really stray to far from the whole “paleo” style of eating.  What’s nice about this book is that it doesn’t beat you over the head with “Pale this” or “Paleo that” which a lot of what I’ve read before does. His arguments against the grain/soy/corn heavy modern diet is based on nutritional quality per calorie when compared to fruits/veggies/meat etc which is how it should be.  Just saying that ‘cavemen didn’t eat it’ isn’t a justification for eating this way.  Comparing nutritional quality is.

The cover of his book pretty much sums up his message, “Eat Food. Not to Much.  Mostly Plants.”

He wrote another book called “The Omnivores Dilemma” which covers much of the same topics but I haven’t read it yet.  I’ll probably grab it in the next couple weeks.

Adrenaline Shot

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Here’s a few videos to get you ready to kick ass in the gym this week!

 

Take Your Flinstones

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This article was originally posted at EliteFTS.com
By Michael Keck
Published: November 26, 2010Posted in: NutritionTags: health, michael keck, vitamins

Vitamins, they’ve probably got to be the least exciting supplement we take, you usually can’t FEEL them work like you can Beta Alanine, or any of the stimulants we sometimes use, but they are oh so important to the goals almost all of us are striving to achieve!

So just why do we need to take a vitamin supplement? Because they’re some of the most crucial building blocks of the basic functions that we need to stay alive. You may ask yourself, “Well, I eat healthy enough, why should I take a multivitamin?” and it’s a valid question. The reality of it is, even though you may be eating a healthy diet, the foods we have access to these days aren’t as nutrient-rich as they once were. This is due to several factors that are beyond the scope of this article, but they can include over-farming, genetically modified foods, meat products that are not fed nutrient- rich diets in the growth process, antibiotics used, pesticides, pollution and even our own cooking methods can drain some of our foods natural vitamin stores.

So now lets look at what the under appreciated vitamins and minerals can do for us.

For cells to function on the most basic levels there are certain “things” that must be present. Often times these things are vitamins.
Now, we have all heard of enzymes before, but what are they…really? Enzymes are chemicals within the body that allow chemical reactions necessary for life to continue as we know it. With out enzymes our bodies are not capable of achieving a high enough temperature to allow for the energy needed to excite the atoms an most substances to bond or break from the increased atomic activity that heat provides. Enzymes lower the temperature needed for these reactions to take place.
Great, so what do enzymes have to do with Vitamins? Good question. Enzymes on their own are not usually chemically active, they are really Enzyme substrates that fall into 6 general categories
1. Hydrolases-these are water based
2. Isomerases- these rearrange the atoms in a molecule, but are neither Catabolic or Anabolic
3. Ligases/Polymerases-these are Anabolic in nature as they join molecules together using energy from ATP to form new molecules
4. Lyases- These are catabolic susbtrates as their job is to split molecules up into smaller pieces and they don’t use water in the process
5. Oxidoreductases- these rely on oxidation (increasing Oxygen atoms)
6. Transferases- These can be Anabolic and are usually responsible for transferring functional groups such as certain aminos, phosphates or acetyl groups between molecules

Ok, so now we know a bit about Enzyme substrates, but we still don’t know why vitamins are involved. Well lots of these enzymes are actually apoenzymes, which are protein portions (not the proteins we eat) and they are inactive unless bound to Co factors. This is where Vitamins come in!

Co factors are usually inorganic ions (contain no carbon) such as Iron, Magnesium, Zinc and Copper or Co factors can be organic in nature and contain Vitamins and these are required by the body because we cant synthesize them ourselves, which means they MUST be absorbed through our nutrition.

So we have Enzymes and Co factors……when you put them together you get a Holoenzyme and these are the active enzymes that allow so many of our bodies cellular processes to take place

Well, what do some of these vitamins actually do? Here’s a short look at a few examples:

· Niacin and magnesium are necessary for ATP production as they help form a bond with ADP during phosphorylation (ADP to ATP is one of our most primary energy systems)

· Folic acid is involved in the synthesis of nucleotides and certain amino acids

· Pantothenic acid is an essential part of the Krebs cycle which is a critical component of cellular respiration

· Pyroxidine is used in the in the Transaminations of amino acid synthesis

Not nearly an exhaustive list but, It should be becoming clear to us now just why taking our vitamins are important to our health and productivity in life. These seemingly simple little things allow our bodies to carry on the most basic functions that we need to survive and thrive. Moral of the story…take your vitamins!

We are what we eat….

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I’m not going to extrapolate much on this article.  Just click the link and read it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/13/mcdonalds-happy-meal-photos-6-months_n_761364.html

Now that you’ve read the article I have a question for you.  Are we really going to keep feeding this crap to our kids?

Cavo Profundus

3 Kings Part 3: The Press

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The press is the most familiar and most used (Monday is the unofficial National Bench Press Day after all) in todays gyms but it’s still screwed by by most of the people who do it.  When it comes to the press I actually divide this into two categories.  The Bench Press and the Overhead Press.  While the bench press is widely used, you don’t see many using the overhead press primarily because it’s hard and why try and put a couple hundred pounds over your head when you can just do a 25# lateral raise right?  WRONG!  If you want a bigger bench, then you gotta overhead press.  If you want huge shoulders and triceps, then you gotta overhead press.  Wanna make your abs stronger without actually working them directly, then OVERHEAD PRESS!

In this video you’ll see me cranking some overhead pressing and some 1 arm  dumbbell pressing.  Now, you may ask why I didn’t include some bench press in the video.  That’s because it’s been done before.  There are probably close to a billion bench press videos on the internet but very few 1 arm pressing variations.  The single arm dumbbell or kettlebell press can be done with any variation of the 2 arm version and can really spark new strength and muscle growth!

http://www.youtube.com/v/IbIxYpv55L0?fs=1&hl=en_US

Now get in the gym and put some weight overhead!

5 Squat Tips for Immediate Improvement

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This is an article written by Marc Bartley over at EliteFTS.com- Check them out for all your strength equipment needs!

5 Squat Tips for Immediate Improvement

The following article is a quick five tips to help you with your squat. The squat is a tough exercise to master for most people and I was no exception. To help qualify things if you don’t know me, I have squatted over a 1000 pounds in multi-ply gear 13 times and over 1100 pounds four times with a best in competition of 1124 lpounds. Double or triple those numbers if you count training. My point in telling you this is to plant the seed that BIG squatting can be accomplished if you set your mind to it. These five tips will help you on your way to reaching that goal.
It took me six years of training to get my first 1008 pound squat, which came at the APF Senior Nationals in Baton Rouge, LA, in 2004. When I started powerlifting, a 1000 pound squat was just a day dream, but once I hit it good and fast, all I thought about was 1100 pounds and the ultimate 1200 pound squat. I did not get the 1200 pound squat I wanted. It actually got me with a serious quad tendon tear in 2007. I started out squatting in the low 500’s with poor form and at the time thought that high 500’s and 600’s were wonderful.  I am proof that you can double your squat with proper training, technique and focus.
Over the years, I picked up a few things that have helped me train my squat and perfect my form.
Know this: without the form and technique you’ll never maximize your potential.
Even modest adjustments in form and skill will improve your performance. Most from adjustments can give you a 50 to 100 pound jump.
Here are five squat tips to start doing NOW!!!!
1. Learn how to arch your lower back with the PAD TEST
Arching your lower back continuously from pick up (set up if you walk out) to the finish of the squat is not a new concept, but most lifters have no idea what it means. In order to increase your squat, your lower back has to be united with your hips, legs and upper body from the start of your squat to the end. Here’s an easy way to “get it.”
Get a box that’s parallel or slightly higher. Make sure you have a one inch pad or a one inch anything that can be slid under your tail while you sit on the box. First, squat onto the box in the stance you use in competition using what you think is a good arch. Once on the box, have a buddy slide the pad up to your bottom as it’s seated on the box. Now, the important part, arch your lower back even harder now. Your tail will lift up and off the box where the pad is if you do it right. Tell the person to slide the pad until it hits your bottom again. Normally the pad will move two to three inches if you arch really hard. Pay attention and hold this arch. Within 5 to 10 seconds, you’ll feel your glutes, hips and lower back lock TOGETHER. This is what it’s supposed to feel like for the entire rep of your squat when you are under load.
2. Use your hips to pick up the bar.
This is another very simple sounding one, but pretty much at every meet and at the gym I see it without fail – a guy or girl who doesn’t use their hips and legs to pick up the bar. Often they pick up the bar with what I call a “trap pickup” and lower back. All this means is that they shrug the bar out of the rack mostly with the brunt force in their traps and lower back instead of using their legs from the very start.
What’s wrong with this? Very simply, shrugging the bar out of the rack separates and disconnects your upper back from your erectors and lower body briefly as you start your squat attempt. Because of this disconnect, your body has to try and reset itself once you get the weight out of the rack. This is a waste of time and energy and it doesn’t allow your central nervous system to fire everything simultaneously. So essentially, you don’t begin your heavy squat using all the muscle you could have.
How to fix it? This is an easy one but you’ll have to consciously do it each time you pick up the bar to squat. Grab the bar with your thumbs wrapped around the bar and pull your grip of the bar in just a little. This will force your shoulder blades together and fire up your upper back and erectors. Now, think about nothing but your hips picking up the bar, some say arch the bar out of the rack, this is the same thing essentially. If you walk it out of the rack setting up this way will be a little more difficult but try your best to drive your feet into the ground as you pick up the bar. If you arch and just use your legs and hips, the top portion of your glutes will fire immediately once you have it up to lock you in place. This is also an activation signal for your central nervous system to light up every muscle it can to help you with the lift.
3. Head up and slightly above parallel and knowing how to keep your arch.
I know…you know this one. Nah, I doubt it. What I’m talking about here is the tendency of guys and gals to either look down at their feet or up so hard that they look like they are trying to look up someone’s nose. Focusing your eyes in either direction is a disconnection for your body. This goes right back to not fully involving all of your muscles, joints and leverage points that you have available at any given point in the squat.
Ok, the fixers. You will need an empty bar or one with just a little bit of weight on it. Set up like you’re going to squat. First, keep your head slightly above parallel like you’re looking off at something in the distance. Your shoulder blades should be pulled in tight and your lower back should be arched. Squat to parallel or slightly below and pause at the bottom. Next, drop your head down as far as it will go. You’ll feel your lower back “drop out” or lose most of its arch. This is the disconnect that I’m talking about. You’re literally disconnecting your body and losing all of your squatting potential right now. Then pick your head back up to slightly above parallel again and you will feel your lower back reengage again. When it reengages and locks back in with the rest of your body this is how it’s supposed to feel the ENTIRE time you’re squatting until you finish the repetition. Practice this several times to really get the feel for it and to really understand it.
4. Drive your upper back into the bar.
What the heck does this mean? This is a little trick I caught onto while watching one of my old training partners squat one night. He really had no idea until I pointed it out to him. But this is a very simple one to implement when you need it most. The “most” is that sticking point in your squat where you have the most trouble and the point where you fail. This is one that saved me in a competition when I froze half way up on a 1058 pound squat. Had I not used this simple technique, I wouldn’t have gotten the lift, or even had the chance to keep pushing on it.
Ok, here it is. I just told you to keep your head up and slightly above parallel during the entire lift. However, there are times when you screw the pooch and mess your form up or don’t reverse your squat in the hole fast enough and you hit your sticking point. Normally, you push and push, but you’ve changed your leverage and can no longer use your strongest muscles in that particular form. Your lift is done here unless you blow a gasket as you keep pushing against it.
What you can do when you hit this point, is immediately drive your head up and back. This will make you arch more with your lower back and, more importantly, force the upper back to drive into the bar even harder. This is sort of a realignment technique to get the bar back over your hips where your squat is the strongest. Once the bar starts moving again, just bring your head back to parallel immediately. If you don’t, the bar will go past your hips and may pop off your back, or the weight will literally feel like its all on your lower back and you may get hurt. Either way it won’t be good. So, to repeat, as you hit the sticking point drive your head up and back till the bar starts moving again, then before you finish bring your head back to parallel and look straight ahead.
5. Hold the bar for time before you start to squat and when you finish the last rep of a set of squats
This one is easy and won’t take long to explain, I hope. Once you get your traps, head and arch situations down, then you can start working on holding the bar for time. The time won’t be long in reality, but if it’s a heavy weight, it will feel like forever. The most important point is to do this on every set of squats you do, even the warm ups, until you get it down. If you do it each time, it will be an automatic response.
Why would I want you to do something that would FREAK you out? Holding the bar for three to five seconds before you start the first squat rep and three to five seconds at the end of the last rep of a squat set will do a couple things:

  1. The time under the bar will increase CNS firing and overall engagement of your entire body, thus making you stronger and able to lift more weight immediately – at least physically. If you’re a mental case, this may not help that much. This is also called the law of irradiation which means the longer you’re under tension, the more your body will call upon unused muscle (and you have lots of it all the time) to aid in holding the weight up or performing the work placed upon it. So essentially, it’s a reinforcement for your army – the body.
  2. This one is just as good, because it helps with the mental aspect of lifting which is the biggest part of the battle anyhow. This will slow you down some doing the actual set, but it will teach you to take your time to allow the most tension and power to build up in your body. It goes back to firing the CNS adequately. To give you a visual, think about your iPod, car stereo or anything with a volume control, the time you hold the bar enables you to turn up the volume (power and strength) levels. So you can start your squat at the loudest (most powerful level) or you can start earlier and not reach full volume control by going too fast. This also forces you to think about all your squatting cues (arch, sit back, drive the upper back, etc) and you’ll miss less of them each time you squat.

There you have it, five things you can do on your next squat day to make immediate improvement. Practice one each time you squat and there’s no doubt your skill will get better and your poundage lifted will go up. Happy squatting!!!

Program Review: Pins to Pillars

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The program ‘Pins to Pillars’ was written by Pavel Tsatsouline on Dragon Door.com.  I don’t have the original article but here is the basic rundown.

Lifting 3x per week (preferably MWF or at least having a day between each session)
Exercise Selection: Squat – that’s it
Sets x Reps: 10 x 5 each workout
Program Duration: 4 weeks
Day 1 you start with 50% of your 1RM squat then increase the weight each workout but keep reps the same.
If your max squat is under 250, only go up 5 lbs each workout.
If your max squat is over 250, go up 10 lbs each workout.
Keep rest below 3 minutes between sets, preferably 30-90 seconds.

Here’s what it would look like for me- estimated 300 lb 1RM
Week 1
Day 1- 10 x 5 reps @ 150 lbs
Day 2- 10 x 5 reps @ 160 lbs
Day 3- 10 x 5 reps @ 170 lbs

The next week I would start at 180 lbs then go to 190 and 200 lbs, etc.  Total there should be 12 squat workouts going up to about 85% of your 1RM for 10 sets of 5 reps on the last workout.

This is program will probably not build massive strength but it will put some size on your wheels.

Considerations:

If your squat form sucks, this is not the program for you.  Get your squat right first and then try it.  This much volume, especially in the third and fourth weeks where the % is high, will only reinforce bad form.

Be conservative with your 1RM.  I really believe you would better served if you based your numbers off 90% of your 1RM.  In the sample I gave, instead of basing it off my 300 lb max, I would base them off 90% of that which is 270 lbs. 

If all you are concerned about is leg size then just rock out on the squats but this program could also be a great catalyst for full body growth as long as your regulate the intensity of the extra work and don’t compromise your recovery.  Before someone gets the big idea of trying to bench heavy after a day of high rep heavy squatting, forget about it.  If you want to take advantage of the anabolic hormonal environment created by the squatting, I would prefer to see someone doing push ups, inverted rows, dips, or pull ups after they get done squatting.  The first week you’re going to have some energy left over after squatting since the percentages are low and you may be able to do some benching or rowing but that energy will not be there in the second through fourth weeks which is why I recommend the body weight exercises.  You can still add some weight if you feel the need but pure body weight should work just fine.  Don’t worry about planning out sets and reps for the extra stuff.  Shoot for a total number of reps.  If you are hitting between 20 and 50 reps on those exercises then you should be on the right track.  Once you hit fifty total reps you can either add a little weight or stick to 50 total reps and try to do them in fewer sets.

Don’t skimp on the food while you are doing this either.  This program is going to incredibly metabolically demanding, especially if you are adding in some dips and pull ups to each workout.  If improving body composition is the goal and you limit your calories a little bit, eat the highest quality food you possibly can during that time.  Cut the breads, legumes and dairy in favor of yams, sweet potatoes, and fruit along with lots of veggies, nuts, and meat.

If you want to facilitate recovery, make a sled and drag it on your off days.  Don’t worry about trying to drag tons of weight, just pick a weight you can drag for 10-15 minutes fairly easy.  With a normal program I prefer heavier sled dragging but for this one lighter weight and longer duration will be better.

This is not a program that I would recommend doing often but it’s a great short term change of pace type program what can really illicit a lot of growth if done correctly.  I’m assuming though that every few people will actually finish the program let alone try it again if the do.

Exam Update and Training/Nutrition Consulting

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Old School Inspiration!

I took my CSCS exam yesterday and passed.  I’m really excited because this has been a big goal of mine for the last couple years.  Now that I’ve got it though it’s time to get to work! 

As of right now I have 4 spots open for training and nutritional consulting.  All my clients have access to me 24/7 for questions and concerns.

12 Week Diet Only Program = $50
12 Week Diet + Training Program = $75

Let me help you get to your goals!

Trey Potter BS, CSCS
Cavo Profundus

Highly Dedicated – Supremely Motivated
I am DRIVEN
What Drives YOU?

Coming Soon…

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I’ve been gone for a bit but I’ll be back posting soon!

The End of Painfully Boring Cardio Workouts by Mike Mahler

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The End Of Painfully Boring Cardio Workouts

By Mike Mahler

When was the last time that you got excited about doing some cardio? Doing traditional forms of cardio such as riding an exercise bike or running on a treadmill are about as exciting as watching a movie on the family channel. Lets face it one of the main reasons why people give up on cardio is similar to why smart people do not watch daytime television as both are beyond boring. Moreover, with regular cardio it takes too long to see results to persevere through the boredom. Do not believe me? Take a trip down to your local gym and look at the people in an aerobics class. Now go back in a month and see if you notice any physique composition differences. See what I mean? Fortunately there are several alternatives that offer more variety, are more challenging, and produce faster results. I am going to cover three highly effective fat loss programs in this article: PHA, HOC, and the “Descending Sets” Program.
Lets start off the boring cardio revolt with PHA. PHA stands for Peripheral Heart Action. P.H.A is basically an intense form of circuit training in which you group several exercises together that work the entire body. Instead of pumping a lot of blood into one muscle, the goal according to John McCallum, author of “The Complete Keys To Progress”, “is to increase your circulation enormously without congesting your muscles. You pump blood through your muscles rather than just into them.” The keys with P.H.A training are to one focus on compound exercises and to move from one exercise to the next as quickly as possible. Feel free to take one-minute breaks in the beginning between each exercise and reduce the breaks gradually over time until you are not resting at all in between each set. P.H.A workouts usually start with two groups of circuits per workout. Do five rounds in group one and then five rounds in group two. I have met very few trainees that can handle this much volume initially. Thus, I would start with one group and build up to multiple groups from there. Here are some sample PHA workouts:

BEGINNER

Group 1:

  • Dumbbell Clean and Military Press 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Squat 10 reps
  • Weighted Pull-up 6 reps
  • One-arm Dumbbell Swing 10 reps l,r (left and right)
  • Slow and Controlled Sit-up 10 reps (4 seconds up and 4 seconds down)

Here is how the program works. Do each exercise in Group One in circuit fashion. In other words, do one exercise after the other with short or no breaks. At the end of the sequence, take a one-minute break and then repeat four more times for a total of five rounds. If necessary, take one-minute breaks between each exercise and when you can do all five rounds with one-minute breaks, decrease the breaks to forty-five seconds. Work on getting down to no breaks in between each workout. At that point increase the weight on each exercise.

ADVANCED

Group 1:

  • Incline Dumbbell Press 6 reps
  • Barbell Squat 8 reps
  • Barbell Bent-over Row 6 reps
  • Stiff-legged Deadlift 8 reps
  • Hanging Leg Raise 6 reps

Group 2:

  • Dumbbell Clean and Military Press 6 reps
  • Dumbbell Squat 10 reps
  • Weighted Pull-up 6 reps
  • One-arm Dumbbell Swing 10 reps l,r (left and right)
  • Slow and Controlled Sit-up 10 reps (4 seconds up and 4 seconds down)

Do five rounds of Group 1 with one-minute breaks in between each set. Take a one-minute break after all five rounds have been completed and then move on to Group 2. Do five rounds of Group 2 with one-minute breaks. Decrease the breaks in between each exercise and work on getting down to no breaks between the exercises in each group. Continue to take a one to two minute break in between each group.
In addition to being an outstanding program for fat loss and muscular endurance, PHA is also effective for strength training. You cannot beat that. If fat loss and endurance are your main goals then try doing three PHA workouts per week. Take a day off in between each workout. For example, do the workouts on M-W-F. Avoid doing additional cardio on the days off. If your goal is strength and size then try doing two full body 5×5 workouts per week and two moderate PHA workouts per week. Moderate meaning no more than one group. Do the 5×5 workouts on Monday and Thursday and the PHA workouts on Tuesday and Friday.
Next, lets move on to HOC, which stands for High Octane Cardio. HOC is brutal and not for the faint of heart. I mean that literally and figuratively. If you have high blood pressure, you want to clear this program with your doctor as your heart rate is going to go through the roof with HOC training. HOC is based on a form of training that boxer’s use called “Roadwork.” Legendary boxers such as Muhammad Ali used to do “Roadwork” in order to get in great fighting shape. “Roadwork” is still a staple in the arsenal of today’s fighting elite. Here is how it works, go out for a jog and every fifty yards or so, drop down and do some bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups. Crank out twenty-five reps and then get up immediately and start jogging again. After another fifty yards or so, drop down again and crank out some more bodyweight drills. This is a very efficient way to build up cardio and muscular endurance that will carry over to the ring. It is also an extremely effective method for fat burning. Regardless, you can increase the benefits of “Roadwork” tremendously by combining moderate aerobic training with high intensity aerobic training in the form of ballistic weight training. Ballistic weight training is a form of weight training in which weights are moved quickly and explosively. One obvious example is Olympic Weight Training. Of course, it would not be prudent to use exercises that are technically demanding such as Barbell Cleans and Barbell Snatches. However, ballistic exercises done with dumbbells or kettlebells are a fit assuming that you are familiar with exercise such as Dumbbell Cleans, Dumbbell Snatches and Dumbbell Swings. If not, get your form down with those exercises before doing them in the context of an HOC program. Here are some sample HOC Programs:

BEGINNER

  • One-minute of jump roping at moderate pace
  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean and Push Press 10 reps l,r (left and right)
  • One-minute of jump roping at moderate pace
  • One-arm Dumbbell Snatch 10 reps l,r
  • One-minute of jump roping at moderate pace
  • One-arm Dumbbell Swing 10 reps l,r
  • One-minute of jump roping at moderate pace
  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean 10 reps l,r
  • One-minute of jump roping at moderate pace
  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean and Push Press 10 reps l,r (left and right)
  • One-minute of jump roping at moderate pace
  • One-arm Dumbbell Snatch 10 reps l,r
  • One-minute of jump roping at moderate pace
  • One-arm Dumbbell Swing 10 reps l,r
  • One-minute of jump roping at moderate pace
  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean 10 reps l,r

Do each round back to back and then take a one-minute break before going to the next round. A round is one set of jump rope work and one ballistic exercise set. When you can do all eight rounds with one-minute breaks, decrease the breaks to forty-five seconds. Work on getting the breaks down to thirty seconds per round. If you really want to become a machine then work on getting the beaks down to zero. Just do not rush into it, crawl before you can run or you will be crawling after each workout. If you find this program too demanding, then switch to Richard Simmons’ “Sweating To The Oldies” workout. Just kidding, just increase the breaks between each round and take a break between the jump rope work and ballistic exercise work as well.

ADVANCED

  • One-minute of heavy bag work
  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean and Push Press 10 reps l,r (left and right)
  • One-minute of heavy bag work
  • One-arm Dumbbell Snatch 10 reps l,r
  • One-minute of heavy bag work
  • One-arm Dumbbell Swing 10 reps l,r
  • One-minute of heavy bag work
  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean 10 reps l,r
  • One-minute of heavy bag work
  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean and Push Press 10 reps l,r (left and right)
  • One-minute of heavy bag work
  • One-arm Dumbbell Snatch 10 reps l,r
  • One-minute of heavy bag work
  • One-arm Dumbbell Swing 10 reps l,r
  • One-minute of heavy bag work
  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean 10 reps l,r
  • One-minute of heavy bag work
  • One-arm Dumbbell Swing 10 reps l,r
  • One-minute of heavy bag work
  • One-arm Dumbbell Clean 10 reps l,r

Really go at it with the heavy bag work, which by the way is a blast and very tiring as well. Throw some punches, kicks, bitch slap the bag a few times. You get the idea. Take a minute to catch your breath and then crank out the ballistic work set. Rest for thirty seconds and go right into another round. Work on getting the breaks down between the heavy bag work and ballistic exercise sets and in between each round. Ease into this one gradually. If your main goal is fat loss, do three HOC workouts per week and do one full body strength workout. For example do HOC on M-W-F and do one 5×5 full body workout on Saturday. Do two full body 5×5 workouts per week and two moderate HOC workouts per week if you want to train for size and strength and as a secondary goal increase muscular endurance. Just stick with six to eight rounds of HOC at a moderate intensity.
Finally, lets move right into the “Descending Sets Program.” I picked up this killer program from my friend Marc Lobliner. Here is how the program works. Pick a ballistic exercise such as Dumbbell Cleans, Dumbbell Swings, or Dumbbell Snatches. I prefer to do these exercises with kettlebells but Dumbbells will suffice if that is all you have. You just will not impress the opposite sex as much. Knock of a set of fifteen reps in the first set and then take a short break. Do another set of fifteen reps and take another short break. Then do a set of twelve reps. See where this is going? As the program continues the reps decrease and boy will you be glad that they are as you will be huffing and puffing like a locomotive after a few sets. Here are some sample programs:

BEGINNER

Pick the One-arm Dumbbell Swing and do the following set and rep scheme:

  • Set 1: 15 reps l,r (left and right)
  • Set 2: 15 reps l,r
  • Set 3: 12 reps l,r
  • Set 4: 12 reps l,r
  • Set 5: 10 reps l,r
  • Set 6: 10 reps l,r
  • Set 7: 8 reps l,r
  • Set 8: 8 reps l,r
  • Set 9: 6 reps l,r
  • Set 10: 5 reps l,r

Pick a weight that you can knock off twenty reps with. Take one-minute breaks between each set and work on getting the breaks down to thirty seconds. When you can do all ten sets with thirty-second breaks, increase the weight by five to ten pounds. This workout is a smoker but it can get a lot worse. Just try doing it with One-arm Kettlebell Snatches or better yet snatch your girlfriend, pun intended. Now that is brutal.

ADVANCED

After a few months of taking it easy with the beginner “Descending Sets Program”, it is time to take it up a notch. Start by picking a harder exercise such as Snatches or Clean and Push Presses. Now instead of doing one-arm work, do double work. In other words, have a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand. Double Snatches are brutal so try doing Double Clean and Push Presses first and make sure you train on an empty stomach or you will end the workout on a forced empty stomach.
Do the following with Dumbbell Clean and Push Presses

  • Set 1: 15 reps
  • Set 2: 15 reps
  • Set 3: 13 reps
  • Set 4: 12 reps
  • Set 5: 11 reps
  • Set 6: 10 reps
  • Set 7: 9 reps
  • Set 8: 8 reps
  • Set 9: 8 reps
  • Set 10: 7 reps

Take one-minute breaks between each set and work on getting the breaks down to thirty seconds. When you can do all ten sets with thirty-second breaks, increase the weight by five to ten pounds. An option is to add a rep to keep adding reps to sets 3-10 until you are eventually doing 10×15 per workout. A worthy goal that will take some time and have a major payoff in serious fat loss and increased muscular endurance. Try adding two “Descending sets” workouts to your regimen per week if you wan to add some endurance and fat loss work to your program. If you main goal is fat loss, then try three “Descending Sets” workouts per week and one full body strength-training program per week. Again the 5×5 program is a good option.
The end of boring cardio programs is upon us. Three programs for trainees that are bored to death with standard cardio programs. Pick one of these programs and get to work. When you get tired of one program rotate it with another one. Be creative with these workouts and have a good time. If you find the programs too hard, do not worry you can always check out Richard Simmons’ ‘Sweating To The Oldies” program or pick up a tae-bo DVD at Target.