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.”