Monday, 16 May 2016

What do you do for exercise?

Arm curls curved bar.
Exercise is fundamental for your physical and mental health.


Besides the fact that it helps you live longer and a healthier life it also reduces the risk of disease, boosts your energy, improves your mood, promotes better sleep, enhances your sexlife and a host of other benefits.

I believe everyone can benefit from exercise. I am not here to tell you what to do, how to do it, or even when you should do it. Because I feel everyone is unique in a sense that what works for me may not work for you, as well as the opposite may be true.

So let's begin by examining what I do in terms of exercise. I will give you my basic routine. Then I will explain to you how I feel afterwards and the benefits from this routine which has contributed to my life.

First let me give you a brief history of where it all began.

I joined the Steve Nash in 2003 and I am still a proud member of this gym. The reason I joined this gym is because I had worked out prior to this in my home with basic equipment starting when I was 15 years old, and I felt I surpassed the equipment weight after a few years.

In between 15 and 18 years of age I went to the community center occasionally to work out. I had always been physically active, as I had mentioned before playing competitively in sports. 

What I failed to mention is that I also swam in my moms swimming club when I was younger for a few years. Also when I was a bit older I trained in boxing just for physical conditioning.

Enough with me boring you with my history of being active, going to the gym is a big part of my life.

Basic Routine:

When I get to the gym I like to get my heart rate up so I will either jog to the gym (it is a five minute jog from my house to the gym currently), or I would get on the treadmill for five minutes. The reason I do this is so when I start lifting weights my body is less prone to injury.

After my warm up I begin with a body part already in mind. I separate my week into 5 body parts. Chest, Back, Shoulders, Arms, and Legs. Every week I target these 5 body parts and if I miss a body part the week prior than I will make it up the next week.

I always switch my workouts. I try not to do the same 'machine' two weeks in a row. Meaning I do not do the same exercise for the body part two weeks in a row.

Recently I started to incorporate on going until failing. Meaning on my last sets I do as many repetitions as I can until I no longer can lift. This is best done with a exercising buddy/partner so you can get spotted.

Veering off topic. When I was 16 years old in high school we had a gym with weights. I was a teacher assistant to the physical education class to my younger peers. I layed down to do a bench press repetition and it is a weight I was comfortable doing at the time. For a strange reason my arm gave out, the barbell hit my chin and split it open. It happened so quickly that I did not realize the damage it has caused. This could all have been avoided if I had a spotter.

On a side note, if you don't understand what repetitions, sets, or a spotter are then let me explain. A repetition is how many times you do an exercise within a set. I usually do 4 sets of 8 repetitions for one exercise and I do about 5-7 exercises per body part. A spotter is someone who sits at the station and watches over while you exercise to make sure you do not injure yourself with the weights.

My breaks between each set are 30 seconds to 1 minute. My workout is between 30 minutes to 45 minutes long, and I go 3-5 days a week.

I incorporate ab exercise every other day at home. I find a 6-12 minute routine on youtube. They have some great ones to follow. It helps with motivation and willpower not having to come up with your own exercise (more on this another time). While I follow abs on youtube I put on a Ted Talk on T.V. 

Now let me explain how it makes me feel after working out.

The Benefits Of Feeling Good:

The sense of accomplishment is one of the feelings I get after working out among some other ones. I feel healthy. I have a sharper focus. I look good (being real not narcissistic). My self confidence is boosted. All those things I mentioned in my third paragraph of this post are exactly what goes on in my mind and body.

I had scheduled a volunteer opportunity and I had about 45 minutes until I had to go volunteer. My girlfriend voiced that I should do what makes me happy. I had a choice with the time crunch to either read, blog, respond to email, or work out. I chose the latter.

I chose working out because at that time working out was going to make me feel good for the rest of the day.

Rest days are crucial. That is when your body builds the actual muscle you are wanting to build. Repair happens when you don't exercise and more so when you sleep. I take powdered glutamine on days I feel I would be extra sore to minimize the pain. Glutamine is natural, it minimizes the breakdown of muscle and improves protein metabolism.

Now remember this works for me and you don't have to follow this. There are thousands of routines online that you can follow if you don't know where to start, and if you are a vet then I hope you are reading this after you have already worked out or on your rest day.

If you are not bored yet let me tell you where I learned to workout and who inspired me. I was inspired by people like Arnold Schwarzenegger and other celebrities on T.V. I was also inspired by my cousin who now lives in Detroit.

Seeing how big these people were inspired me to be just like them. So I started following people at the gyms and learning by watching. I still do this to this day. When I see someone doing an exercise I feel is beneficial then I will copy it.

Everyone has learned from someone. It is very rare when someone comes up with something original. Usually it is when two ideas are combined together that make something unique (more on this in a future post).

All this working out talk is inspiring me to go work out. Time to hit the gym.

Thank you for taking your time to read this long post. To be continued....

Image copyright by sergi constance

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