I have decided to forgo my natural hesitation to talk entirely about working out and take some time to talk about all the different exercise routines I have experimented with over the years.
Over the last near-decade of martial arts training, I have come into contact with many different approaches to working out as part of a training system. Some of these little routines provided useful tools that I still use, and some I interred in the graveyard of inefficiency. The majority of these different approaches to getting fit came from working with David Packer, beginning in the early days at Academie Duello and carrying on through our smaller martial arts clubs, Nova Spada and Scatha combat Guild. Utilizing the decades of experience he had in martial arts, personal training and now nutrition, we were constantly searching for more efficient ways to train ourselves and our students.
David R. Packer
Mr. Packer has an unabated passion for finding the best way to train people, not
only for martial arts but for fitness in general, and I spent a good batch of years as a fitness guinea pig while he sought out the best methods. We tried everything from from push-ups to one-handed cartwheels in the attempt to make our students fit, agile, adaptive and strong.
(Incidentally, David’s current work can be found at boxwrestlefence.com or at “box wrestle fence” on facebook)
As it stands now, I have taken all the bits and pieces that I found gave the best over all results and created a two-week routine that seems to be giving me the kind of well-rounded fitness that I strive for. Over the last year I have lost about fifteen pounds of body fat, added more muscle tone, and increased my speed and strength noticeably – so no complaints here. I also spend a total of about 2 hours a week biking to and from work when the weather is clement.
Honestly, It’s good for you.
It is important to mention that I also took a much more stern approach to nutrition as well. In terms of eating habits, it isn’t really anything special; I try to burn about 3000 calories a day (though I don’t always manage that) and I try to eat a couple hundred calories less than I burn. (I got a calorie counting app for my phone that is useful, though now my first instinct when I eat anything is to reach for it…) Wheat-y things are generally not good, and I do my best to only eat a few of them for breakfast and not later in the day, vegetables are good, lean meat is handy, and fish oil supplements help balance out the body’s fat intake and seem to make it easier to concentrate as well, whole grains are useful for maintaining energy levels, sugar is only an occasional treat and usually comes before or after some exercise, A moderate amount of alcohol is actually good for
Oh, how I miss thee…
most people (thankfully, otherwise I’d go mad) blah, blah, blah. None of this is a revelation, just the bare basics of nutrition I have picked up from people who have studied such things.
God, how I miss eating whole pizzas though.
There are a few general conclusions for working out that I have decided upon, and they are;
Don’t do the the same thing all the time. The reason I space my routine out over two weeks is so I can do something completely different every day. I also change the order in which I do each group of activities once in a while too. There are two reasons for this. A) You will avoid hitting a plateau from repeating the same cycle all the time and B) Doing the same thing all the time is really, really boring. If one keeps things new and tries things one hasn’t done before one will find it much more interesting.
And so here it is, my humble attempt at a regular work out routine;
I generally spend about 20-45 minutes working out five days out of the week. In addition to this, I spend an average of about 24 minutes a day biking to work and back at a steady pace. I spend one of the other two days doing something relatively light, i.e. a short bike ride or walk, and the other day is spent stretching or resting and drinking a beer.
I usually spend about 7 minutes warming up before working out (warming up, NOT stretching. stretching comes after a workout and not before.)
Every other day I add the (shudder) pP90x Ab Ripper routine to my warm up. I have been doing this one for a while now, so I have taken to adding a 30 Lbs weight to some of the movements. I did go through the whole P90X program thingy, and while it does provide a certain amount of results, it’s gets really dull really fast and I hate listing to that man talk at me the whole time. Of course, that’s just me, some people like that stuff. Also, it relies almost entirely on the weight lifting/calisthenic style of exercise and that neglects a lot of other important areas.
The Ab workout can be found here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xiydct_p90x-disc-12-ab-ripper_lifestyle
Obnoxious? Yes. Douche-y? Yes. Useful for vanity? Unfortunately, yes.
I personally like to spend about half the time doing the more standard lift things, push things, pull things brand of exercise and the other half doing more dynamic, gymnastic style stuff that build up the old agility, flexibility and. despite what you might think, strength.
INDIVIDUAL WORK OUTS
Because clearly celebrities should always be role models…
WEEK ONE: The standard, look-pretty stuff
Full Body: Perform 3 total sets of the circuit, 10 reps of each exercise
Clean and Press Pullup
Chest and Back: Perform 4 total sets of the circuit, 10 reps of each exercise
Incline Bench Press
Incline Pec Flys
Shoulders and Arms: Perform 4 total sets of the circuit, 10 reps of each exercise
Incline Biceps Curls
Full Body: Perform 3 total sets of the circuit, 10 reps of each exercise
Clean and Press
It must be good, look at all those bad-ass shadows!
This one is, again, stolen from P90X, and to my mind the only really impressive work out that system offers. I can’t find the whole video on line, but there is a brief description here: http://www.livestrong.com/article/237497-list-of-exercises-for-the-plyometrics-p90x/
Plyo is a long, intense way to spend an hour. Technically you could abridge it down to the basic moves, but with something this challenging I like to just shut off my brain and do the best I can since thinking only makes it hurt more.
30 minute bike ride, long walk, etc…
Rest or Stretch
If I’m stretching, I’ll spend about 40 minutes starting at my neck and working my way down the rest of my body until I feel I’ve hit all the major muscle groups. A relaxed class of Yoga would suffice, I suppose.
WEEK TWO: The Cool Stuff
Stealing more pictures of Mr. Packer, as I sadly have none of myself because nobody likes me 😦
(Sometimes I alternate between the boring stuff and the cool stuff. As long as I do all the workouts over two weeks, I’m pretty happy with myself.)
Day 1: (3-4 sets)
- Cartwheels (1 minute left and right)
- Handstand push-ups (using a wall is just fine)
- Cobra sprint (lower like you are doing a push up, but hold yourself there and kick your heels up to your butt as fast as you can)
- Back bridge push-up
Day 2: (15 minutes)
- Wind sprints (or 30 minute jog)
Day 3: (3-4 sets, hold each for 30 seconds)
L sit: If kids can do it, it must be easy
- teddy bear hand stand
Day 4: (3-4 sets)
- No cheat bridge
- split push-ups
- wall walks
- ginga (basic Capoeira footwork)/kick (1min.)
Day 5: (15-30minutes)
- Boxing (In term of calorie burning and muscle toning, proper boxing is one of the most effective forms of exercise I have come across. It’s also really fun to hit stuff.)
Now, this week’s worth of sweating isn’t set in stone. Most of the routines are taken from two books; ‘Building The Gymnastic Body‘ by Christopher Sommer and ‘Capoeira Conditioning‘ by Gerard Taylor. I will often change up the specifics, taking something different from one of the two books every few weeks.
So there you have it, for anyone who was interested and some people who weren’t, my preferred outlet for staying fit.