Paunch check-in for July 2009

Written by Mike on July 27th, 2009

Unfortunately another month has passed without much going on. My weight is basically steady, I haven’t been doing much exercise and my motivation is low.

On the up-side I have discovered a new body resistance exercise called the weighted roll-out, which is a great complementary exercise to the reverse crunch to work the abdominal muscles.

For the next month, I am committing to Scooby’s Beginning Home Workout Plan. Hopefully it will provide enough structure to help me stick regulate my exercise.

Here are my stats:

Stat Amount
Weight 71.9kg
Chest 89cm
Waist 86cm
Hips 88cm
Thighs 58cm
 

Paunch check-in for June 2009

Written by Mike on June 14th, 2009

Well this is meant to be the half-way point for my 2009 New Year’s resolution. Unfortunately I still haven’t gotten back in to running. I contracted a nasty cough that lasted a couple of weeks, and then due to all the coughing I pulled a muscle which has taken another week to heal. It definitely has made me appreciate being in a healthy state more!

I’ve been a bit lucky that I haven’t put weight back on. I have been controlling what I eat quite a bit and reduced snacking. I’m still quite far off my target weight though!

Stat Amount
Weight 72.2kg
Chest 88cm
Waist 87cm
Hips 90cm
Thighs 59cm

I feel like I’m running out of time now, so hopefully this will provide added motivation. I’ve been thinking about making a proper exercise roster, so stay tuned for a post on that!

 

Protein Shakes

Written by Mike on June 2nd, 2009

Zyliss ShakerThese days almost everyone who exercises in an effort to build muscle takes protein supplements. These are often in the form of protein powder taken with milk. The protein powder is usually whey protein (extracted from milk) as it’s cheap and easily assimilated into the body.

Unfortunately it has a very chalky taste that can be quite unpleasant. I discovered this the hard way after purchasing some vanilla Aussie Bodies Perfect Protein and trying to mix it into some milk with a spoon. It didn’t dissolve at all and it became very chunky and lumpy. Next time I tried dissolving it in boiling water and adding milk in later but to no avail.

This is where the Protein Shakers come in. They essentially consist of a water bottle with a basic filter lodged inside of it. After pouring in the milk and the protein powder, you put the filter back in and the lid back on and then shake the mix together for about ten seconds. This mixes the powder evenly in the milk so that it’s not lumpy and you can’t taste its chalky texture.

The only Protein Shaker I have used is the Zyliss Shake N’ Go Shaker, which I picked up in a House store for $9.95. This is a general purpose Shaker but I found it worked very well with protein powder. The only problem was that the markings on the bottle have begun to melt off. This was quite disappointing because it was only ever hand-washed in the sink, so it should really have been able to handle those temperatures. Normally I wouldn’t be too fussed about this but the melted markings are sticky and actually smell bad, so it’s not very nice to drink out of any more.

Another method to prepare more interesting protein shakes is by using a blender. Just some banana, protein powder and milk is enough to make quite a tasty drink, although the more banana you add the frothier it becomes. I don’t really like it being too frothy so I’ve tended to just use the shaker. Obviously you can use all sorts of ingedients for this, but a blender will set you back around $50.

 

My experience with BodyCombat

Written by Mike on May 14th, 2009

BodyCombatLast night my girlfriend got me to go along to her gym to attend her beloved BodyCombat class. This is a group exercise class where everyone is in a big room watching an instructor who is up on a podium. We basically copy the moves she does in time to fast-paced music.

While essentially an aerobics class, BodyCombat is loosely based on martial arts moves. It borrows some things from Karate, boxing, Taekwondo, Tai Chi and Muay Thai. It was developed by Les Mills International.

This was actually my first time doing any kind of aerobics class, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The class was mostly made up of women with two other men besides myself. The instructor was bubbly and friendly and didn’t really pick on people who had their form wrong (thankfully). The music and her microphone were really loud, and the echo in the room made it difficult to understand what she was saying at times, but it wasn’t that important as we basically just had to copy what she was doing.

The session lasted for an hour. It was close to non-stop but we did have four or five breaks (that could probably be better called ‘lulls’). We would grab a drink then go back to our spots as she explained what we were going to do next. They were probably about 10-20 seconds long.

The only thing I needed to bring was a water bottle and a towel. We didn’t use any equipment except for a mat (supplied there) near the end for push-up-like exercises. The towel was used to put over the mat for hygeine reasons, although not everyone did this.

Some of the exercises we did were punches (jabs, hooks, uppercuts), blocks, kicks (font, side, back, jump), kneeing, elbowing, running on the spot and around the room and push-ups. Some of the combinations were a little tricky at first but generally weren’t too bad.

Today I feel sore behind my shoulders but am otherwise fine. I think I was more concerned about not making a fool of myself than pushing my body’s limits.

In summary, the class was a highly effective cardiovascular workout with fun exercises and motivating music.

 

Cool exercise: the reverse crunch

Written by Mike on May 13th, 2009

In order to turn a paunch into a six-pack, the main thing you need is weight loss. However, coming in at number two are the abdominal strengthening exercises.

The most common of these are sit-ups and crunches. Unfortunately sit-ups are bad for a whole host of reasons (back problems, neck problems, not effectively isolating the abs, largely missing the lower abs). Crunches are good because they avoid the back and neck problems of sit-ups, but they still really only work out the upper abdominal muscles.

For a while my main abdonimal exercise had been crunches, holding a 5kg weight plate behind my head. This added resistance so I could do fewer, harder reps, which is better for building muscle. I could certainly feel the burn in my upper abs but my lower abs were getting off scot-free.

I found what I was after was the reverse crunch. You basically lie on the floor and stablise yourself by holding on to some weights with your hands, bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor, then use your abs to lift your legs and lower back up so your knees are near your head, then go back down again. The best place I have found describing it with a demo video and a good explanation of the advantages and common mistakes is at stronglifts.com.

The biggest thing to watch out for is using your hips too much. These need to be used as little as possible.

After doing it the first time, my abs were wrecked. I had never felt burn in my lower abs before, so it was awesome. I highly recommend anyone doing sit-ups switch to reverse crunches if possible (or at least just crunches). It will save your back, posture and be a better use of your time.