Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Start Me Up!


Start Me Up!
By:  Mike Manzi


We all have a dream job.  Whether it’s raking in millions as a corporate suit, running a bar in the Florida Keys, or being that guy that sells remote-controlled helicopters at the mall (to each their own...I’m not here to judge), everyone has one job they’d absolutely love to do.  

The problem is, however, that if you want to do that dream job, chances are you’re going to have to do it yourself.  Starting an independent business can be a rewarding endeavor, but it can also be an unbelievable pain in the ass (I’m speaking from experience here).  Between tax reporting, marketing and advertising, maintenance and upkeep of facilities, and actually doing your job, you can be left with your hands pretty full.  

But, like anything, with hard work and sacrifice- and the willingness to gut out the growing pains- over time, what started as a neat idea can grow into an extremely successful enterprise.  And before you know it, you’ll have cornered the entire east coast market for remote-controlled helicopters...or, you know, something like that.  

Like starting a business, starting a fitness regimen can also be a monumental pain in the ass.  It requires time and energy (although not quite as much...keep reading, you’ll see), sometimes you’ll wonder just what the hell you’ve gotten yourself into, and there will definitely be some growing pains to fight through (especially if I have anything to say about it...wink wink).

But in the end, when you look better than you ever have, feel better than you can remember, and you’re able to accomplish more in a day because you have more strength and energy than you ever have, it’ll be worth it.  

Now, I didn’t create this program to promise you phenomenal results in your first two weeks or anything like that.  That’s bullshit, pure and simple- designed to sell you “diet shakes” that taste like battery acid or made-for-TV workout programs that look really cool, but don’t really accomplish anything.  

What we ARE looking to accomplish with this program is to lay the groundwork for a new fit and healthy lifestyle that you can enjoy as long as you’re around on this Earth.  Keep that word in mind, as well:  groundwork.  

If you’re looking for the workout that will get you biceps the size of Fiats, or the best butt in the upper midwest, I’ll tell you right now that this ain’t that program.  This is the program before that program, the program designed to lay the groundwork (there’s that word again) to get you to the point where you’re ready to take on that next challenge.  

The best part?  You can start today.  Yeah, I realize it’s November, and we’re knee-deep in football season and holiday stress, but don’t wait for New Year’s like all those other mouth-breathers you’ll find in the gym on January 2nd, trying to bench press their body weight after not working out for ten years.  

If anything, this program will help relieve some of that holiday stress, and it’ll get you a head start on all the knuckle-draggers out there.  And when you’re finished with this program after six weeks, you’ll be that much further ahead than all the knuckle-draggers out there.  Doesn’t that just sound all kinds of peachy?

Let’s get down to business:

Your New Training Split for Week One

-Day 1, 2, and 3:  Full Body Circuit Training and Cardio
-Cardio Day 1 and 3: Interval Training (see below)
-Cardio Day 2:  Steady State (60% intensity- how hard you’re working on a scale of 1-10 should feel like a 6) for 30-45 minutes

The Workout*


Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
Rest
Pushups**
1-2
15-20
--
Prisoner Squats
--
20
--
Elbow Plank
--
30 seconds
--
Bent-Over Dumbbell Row
--
12-15 (each)
--
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
--
15
--
Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press
--
12-15
60 seconds


* Complete all exercises one after the other until all are complete.  Rest one minute, then repeat (if needed).
** If you cannot complete the prescribed number of reps from hands/toes, place hands on a raised surface (such as a bench) to complete the set.  I don’t believe in “girl pushups.”  

Cardio- Day 1 & 3- Interval Training

-5 Minute Warmup
-1 Minute Sprint/ 2 Minute Recovery
-Repeat for 4 Sprints
-5 Minute Cooldown (20 minutes total)

Your New Training Split for Week 2

-Same as week one
-Additional Challenge Workout (try it after finishing workouts for the week):

-50 Pushups
-50 Bodyweight Squats
-50 Abdominal Crunches
Complete as quickly as possible while using good form

Your New Training Split for Weeks 3-4

-Day 1, 3, 5: Resistance Training- Upper Body/Lower Body Supersets
-Day 2, 4: Cardio- 30 minute interval training- see below

The Workout


Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
Rest
(A) Dumbbell Chest Press*
2-3
12-15
--
(B) Dumbbell Squat
--
15-20
60 Seconds
(A) Seated Lat Pulldown
2-3
12-15
--
(B) Barbell Romanian Deadlift
--
15-20
60 Seconds
(A) Seated Shoulder Press
2-3
12-15
--
(B) Leg Press
--
15-20
60 Seconds
(A) Bicycle Crunch
2
20 each side
--
(B) Reverse Crunch
--
15
60 Seconds


*Complete all repetitions for (A) before moving immediately to (B).  Finish all repetitions, then rest.  Repeat 2-3 times.

Cardio Day 2 & 4- 30 Minute Interval Training

-5 Minute Warmup
-1-minute Sprint/ 2-minute Recovery (repeat for five cycles)
-1-minute Sprint/ 1-minute Recovery (repeat for three sprints)
-5 Minute Cooldown

Your New Training Split for Weeks 5-6

-Days 1 and 5: Resistance Training- Chest, Back, Shoulders, Abdominals
-Day 3:  Resistance Training- Biceps, Triceps, Legs
-Days 2 and 4: Cardio- 30-minute interval training- same as previous phase
-Optional 6th Day Challenge Workout (see below)

The Workouts

Chest, Back, Shoulders*


Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
Rest
(A) Bench Press**
2-3
10-12
--
(B) Bent-Over Dumbbell Row
--
10-12 each
60 Seconds
(A) Reverse Grip Lat Pulldown
2-3
10-12
--
(B) Standing Shoulder Press
--
10-12
60 Seconds
(A) Standing Lateral Raise
2-3
10-12
--
(B) Dumbbell Flye
--
10-12
60 Seconds
(A) Russian Twists
2
20 each
--
(B) Cherry Pickers
--
20
60 Seconds


* Rotate the resistance workouts each week- so if you hit chest/back/shoulders on days one and five in the first week, hit them on day three in the next week.  This way, each muscle group gets equal attention.
** Complete all repetitions for (A), then move immediately to (B).  Finish all repetitions, then rest.  Repeat as needed.

Biceps, Triceps, Legs


Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
Rest
(A) Barbell Squat
2-3
15
--
(B) Fit Ball Hamstring Curl
--
15-20
60 Seconds
(A) Dumbbell Hammer Curl
2-3
15 each
--
(B) Bench Dips
--
20
60 Seconds
(A) Romanian Deadlift
2-3
15
--
(B) Walking Lunges OR Step-Ups
--
10 each
60 Seconds
(A) Overhead Dumbbell Extension
2-3
15
--
(B) Barbell Curls
--
12
60 Seconds
(A) Leg Press
2-3
15
--
(B) Dumbbell Sumo Squat
--
15-20
60 Seconds


Challenge Workout

-10 Burpees
-20 Pushups
-30 Second Plank
-40 High Knees
-50 Bodyweight Squats
Complete as quickly as possible while using good form

Hopefully this is enough to help get you started on the right foot. Ideally, for anyone new to the gym, I like to take the guesswork out of creating a program as much as possible. My main hope is this program can eliminate most of the "uhhh" factor for someone new to the gym.

Like it, love it, or hate it, I love hearing what people have to say about my programs, so shoot me an e-mail with any comments- good or bad. And good luck out there!

Mike Manzi is a Certified Personal Trainer and resident smart-ass at LoHi Athletic Club in Denver, Colorado



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fitness Myth Busting #1


Fitness Myth Busting #1
By: Mike Manzi

Woman:  “I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to get bulky and look like a guy.”

Seriously, ladies, if I have to hear this one more time in the gym, I’m going to scream.  And not just a Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone scream.  I’m talking a full-on, throwing shit, tearing-my-shirt-off-like-Hulk-Hogan temper tantrum.  

Why?

Because this simply isn’t true!

Let me give you a simple quiz.  Relax, you didn’t need to cram for this at all.  It’s only two questions.

1.)  If I were to call you on the phone, would I mistake you for your brother/husband/etc.?

2.) Have you ever, at any point in time, needed to invest in shaving cream and a razor so you could shave your face?

If you answered a resounding “hell no” to each of these questions (which I’m sure the majority of you did), then relax!  This just means your body doesn’t manufacture an overabundance of testosterone, therefore making it just about physically impossible for you to get all “bulky.”  God, I hate that word.

Unless, of course, you’re eating 3,000+ calories a day, working out for two hours, and on top of that, taking testosterone-boosting supplements.  Which, in that case, it wouldn’t surprise me if you ended up with arms bigger than mine (18 inches flexed, last time I checked...not to brag or anything).  

Now that we’ve got that settled, let’s cut the crap and get down to brass tacks.  We’ve taken care of the “why,” so now we need to focus on the “how” and the “what.”

I feel like a lot of women out there tend to shy away from regimented strength training programs because they don’t necessarily know what they need to be doing, or how to go about doing it.  

Well, last time I checked, this is why I have a job.  I like to think I’m pretty good at my job, too, judging by what my clients tell me (you know...in between shouts of “you asshole!  I can’t move my legs today!”).  

So what am I getting at?  Talk to a trainer (like me)!  Not only will a trainer show you which exercises you need to be doing, as well as how to do them safely and effectively, but also how to put them all together into a structured program geared toward getting you the best possible results.  

Now, if I didn’t give you at least a little shove in the right direction, I just wouldn’t be me.  That being said, I’ve always believed that every strength training program should contain these three elements, whether you’re a guy, a girl, or something in-between...whatev.  

1.) Squat:  In addition to carving out legs that make every other woman in a one-mile radius jealous as hell, a well-executed squat also drastically improves posture and core strength.  And I’m not talking about these half-assed, standing-on-a-Bosu-ball-half-squatting-and-doing-bicep-curls-with-five-pound-dumbbells squats (seriously, WTF?).  There’s a word for that, it’s called a warmup.  No, this is more like what the Rock is cookin’.  

2.) Pushups:  I don’t care if you’re doing pushups from your knees, pushups with your hands on medicine balls, or plyometric pushups, just DO pushups.  You’ll thank me.  Oh, and pushups, pushups, pushups.  There, I think I said it enough.  

3.) Plank:  ...or a bridge, or an OMG, I so freaking hate these.  Whatever you happen to call them, any movement that forces you to utilize your core musculature to support your body weight is good by me.  

I know I must sound like what a foot kicking a dead horse sounds like with all this talk about strength training.  But honestly, I have a serious aversion to mediocrity, and it honestly troubles me that so many people are satisfied by spending their time in the gym going through mediocre workouts and getting mediocre results.  

Strength training is the one area I see the majority of females either struggling with or ignoring altogether, which is why I decided to start with this issue.  And yes, I do write a lot of things geared toward the female persuasion, but since 90% of my clientele is...you guessed it, women, and well more than half of American gym-goers are...again, women, it makes sense.  

So, ladies, it’s time to stop messing around with gimmicky workouts you got out of some magazine, and it’s time to start throwing some weight around.  Shit just got real.


Mike Manzi is a Certified Personal Trainer and resident smart-ass at LoHi Athletic Club in Denver, Colorado.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

50 Shades Hotter


50 Shades of Hot: Phase Two
50 Shades Hotter
By: Mike Manzi


Ladies, I’ll admit it:  Writing a workout program based off a trilogy of novels that delve into the arena of “kinky fuckery” wasn’t originally my idea.  At the urging of a few clients, I spent one of my rare days off from the gym locked inside working in earnest to create the original incarnation of this program.  

After a full pot of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (and the subsequent numerous trips to the bathroom), as well as a few 20-minute Madden breaks, the original 50 Shades of Hot program emerged.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my client Sarah, who-after I pushed her right to the edge of the puke threshold-got it into my head that this could be a “thing.”  

And if you need proof that this program has truly become a “thing,” all you need to do is look here.  Thanks go to Julie at 5280 Magazine for the mention on that one.  

From my latest sweep through the various social media platforms, from what I can tell, people as far away as Pennsylvania (I’m in Denver) are going through the workouts and getting great results.  

So, that can only beg the question: Where do we go from here?

First:  Well, don’t be presumptuous.  That’s just rude.

Second:  You all can start calling me “sir” now (kidding...or am I?).

Third:  The second phase of the program.  

Yeah, I’ll go ahead and take what’s behind door number three, Monty Hall.

With that being said, let’s make like Eminem and get down to business.

---

In 50 Shades of Hot, we worked on muscular strength, endurance, and stamina, focusing primarily on compound movements in the major muscle groups.  This was achieved through the use of push/pull supersets, which utilized opposing muscles, forcing them to work against one another.  

Seriously, if you haven’t at least perused the previous workouts, what the hell?  I’m not going through all that again.

Anyway, rest assured, this isn’t like that P90X crap you see on TV.  This isn’t the point in the program where I “take it easy on you.”  The fact I just typed that made me throw up in my mouth a little.  

No, you’re through the first phase of the program, so now is the point where we add some new elements to the workout, forcing you, ladies, to dig a little deeper, work a little harder, and re-discover what you’re truly capable of.  

The first major change you’ll notice is that I’ve taken each superset and added a third exercise, either a power element or form of cardio.  Not only is this a form of strategic torture, but each exercise is also designed to take you out of the comfort zone you no doubt had built for yourself during phase one.  

Secondly, you may not recognize some of the exercises included in the workouts, and that’s okay.  This is all part of “digging deeper” and hitting some muscles we hadn’t previously worked.  Wherever possible, I’ll include links to pictures or videos, so you’ll have a better understanding of each element.  

Third, no circuit at the end.  That would seriously just be overkill.  Like I tell my clients, yeah, I’m mean, but I’m not that mean.  We’re still keeping a burnout at the end of each workout, but I have changed them, which you will see (insert Mr. Burns’ “excellent” here).

Fourth:  Seriously, call me sir?  Please?

Your New Training Split (same as phase one)

Day 1, Day 5*: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Abdominals

Day 3*: Biceps, Triceps, Legs, Abdominals

Day 2, Day 4: Cardio

Day 6, Day 7: Off

*Rotate days one and five with day three every week.  So if you’re working chest, back, and shoulders on days one and five this week, next week work those same muscles only on day three.  This way, each muscle group gets an equal amount of attention throughout the duration of the program.

The Workouts

Workout One:  Chest, Back, Shoulders

Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
(1) Dumbbell Incline Press*
3
15, 12, 10
-
20
Flat Bench Plyometric Pushup**
-
15
(2) Narrow Grip Lat Pulldown***
3
15, 12, 10
Standing Arnold Press
-
20
Medicine Ball Slams
-
15
3
15, 12, 10 (each)
Dips (assisted if needed)
-
20
Two-Hand Kettlebell Swing
-
20
(4) 2-Ball Medicine Ball Pushup
1 (Burnout)
50


*Perform (1), (2), and (3) as tri-sets.
**If you can get to 15 with good form and without hurting yourself, do the exercise as shown.  If not, place your hands on a flat bench.
***Attach the grip from the seated row machine to the lat pulldown cable, or use two D-handles.


Workout 2: Legs, Biceps, Triceps

Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
(1) Barbell Squat on Bosu Ball*
3
15,12,10
Single Leg Hamstring Curl
-
20 (each)
Box Jumps**
-
15
(2) Cable EZ-Bar Tricep Pushdown/Reverse Grip Pulldown***
2
20 (each)
Incline Dumbbell Curls
-
15
3
20,15,12
Single Leg Knee Extension
-
20 (each)
Treadmill “Sand Run”$
-
30 seconds
(4) Cable EZ-Bar Biceps Curl/Reverse Curl
2
20 (each)
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension
-
15
(5) Walking Dumbbell Lunges
3
20 (each)
Single Leg Press
-
15 (each)
-
15
(6) Bodyweight Squats
1 (Burnout)
100


*(1), (3), and (5) should be performed as tri-sets, with (2) and (4) performed as supersets.  For the barbell squat, stand on the FLAT side of the Bosu.  MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A SPOTTER!!!  If you don’t, or are uncomfortable with this exercise, either stand on the rounded side of the ball, utilize dumbbells, or both.
**Use either a plyo box or a flat bench for the box jump.  Don’t just hop on and off, make sure to hold your landing in a half-squatted position for 2-3 seconds before jumping/stepping off.  If the height makes you uncomfortable, you can substitute a Bosu ball (round side up).  Same rules apply.
***Reverse your grip and go in to the pulldowns immediately after finishing the pushdowns, so it’s essentially two sets in one.  Same for the biceps curls.
$ Grab the handles on a treadmill and start running, WITHOUT STARTING THE TREADMILL.  That’s the whole point.

Workout 3: Abdominals

Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
Bicycle Crunch*
2-3
20 (each)
Russian Twist w/ Weight**
-
20 (each)
Incline Reverse Crunch
-
15
Burpees***
-
15


*Perform all exercises as a circuit, with little to no rest in between.  Rest, then repeat until finished.
**I’m not going to tell you how much weight to use, just don’t be a wimp, ‘kay?
***Why?  BECAUSE I CAN!

You’ll notice I haven’t included a cardiovascular element in this program.  As I had stated previously, that workout is hard as hell, and it’d be awesome if you kept doing it, if you even attempted it in the first place.  Refer back to the first phase of the workout to get the cardio program.  

If you’re just joining us, this workout is designed for those ladies who have completed the first six-week program.  Not to say “don’t effing do this,” but if you’re new to fitness, or have little to no experience with a strict weight-training regimen, I’m going to once again refer you back to 50 Shades of Hot, so you can start there.  

So, does this program scare the absolute crap out of you?  Good!  That’s been my intention this whole time.  Because remember this:  Whether you’re a goddess or just a goddess-in-training, if your dreams don’t scare you a little, they aren’t big enough.  

Lastly, I’d love to hear about everyone’s feedback on the program.  Whether you have questions, comments, or you just want to call me an asshole (or “sir”...), you can e-mail me here. Can’t wait to hear from everyone!

One more piece of advice:  It never gets easier, you just get better.

Good luck!

Mike Manzi is a Certified Personal Trainer and resident smart-ass at LoHi Athletic Club in Denver, Colorado.  He is STILL terrified of the word “fetish.”