Friday Fitness Finds 7/7

Okay, so it looks like I took a week off. Feels like more. I thought I had neglected this space for a month or longer.

I could say that I was incredibly busy and simply had no time to dedicate to the ol’ blog while masking the real fact that I was just too lazy to write words since I do it 40 hours a week already but that would be a lie.

All lies.

It’s definitely true that yes, I have been quite busy and being a bit swamped at the office makes it difficult for me to want to write even more words when I get home or even on my lunch break. I’ve kept the ball rolling, though, on some new, hopefully cool, projects that involve my personal training.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to start rolling out JTFStrong — a website and social presence where all my fitness postings where live. My intentions include the same posts I’ve been making here for the last few weeks, some rants and raves about hot fitness topics, some hopefully artsy fartsy videos, free workouts and even a full eBook version of my meal prep series that I’ve not finished yet (I owe y’all one more post — I promise I haven’t forgotten).

Anyway, so that’s all been going on in the background. Hopefully they’ll start getting their full reveal sooner rather than later.

Until then, here’s some shit I found this week:

  • Why Negativity Is a Social Killer by Brett and Kate McKay via The Art of Manliness
    A lot of people just assume I’m chill and in a good mood most of the time. Honestly, I actually am. But this isn’t always the case. In fact, I’m often grouchy, hateful and can sometimes be downright nihilistic. But, like it or not, it’s my job to be positive. Not just because I’m a personal trainer, but because I think it’s everyone’s job to be. Being negative is unbelievably easy. Griping and not feeling grateful about nit-picky shit in your life is the simplest way to live, therefore a huge portion of people you encounter during the day will be this way. But not you — not anymore. Someone is depending on you to brighten their day and you may not even know who it is. Does it take effort? Yes, but the benefits far outweigh those of being negative (none).

  • BCAA Energy by EVLution Nutrition via
    Nothing to say here except this is what I use for midday energy boosts or something to swig on between a workout or run and class if I’m doing more than one thing during the day. It’s currently Buy 2 Get 1 Free and you might want to jump on that.

  • 9 Dynamic Plank Variations for a Sexy and Strong Core by Fitness Coach Lunden via Runtastic
    I do several plank variations during my boxing classes (push-up, push-up with hands on the medicine ball, push-up with hands on the medicine ball and ankles crossed, elbow plank, elbow plank with feet on medicine ball, uneven planks, elbow-to-push-up planks, side planks, side planks with the medicine ball on the hip…)

    The point here is that I do a lot of planking. Well, my clients do. And I like these variations. If you come to my classes, expect to see some of these in the future!

  • How to Deadlift (And Why Everyone Should by Nia Shanks
    Confession: I was one of those people that dogged deadlifts. For years. Because I hurt myself when I was in high school. Know how you hurt yourself doing deadlifts? Not doing them right. I didn’t do them right, I griped about them, and herein lies the reason other idiots gripe about them. Nia does a great job here describing the proper deadlift and its many benefits. If you’re name is Erin, please expect to start doing some more deadlifting in your next phase…

  • Anabolic Stretching: An Oft-Overlooked Training Facet to Ramp Up Single Bodypart Growth by Peter Tzemis via Roman Fitness Systems
    This is interesting. I don’t know how accurate it is but his reasoning makes sense (and the idea that Arnold did it helps). The thought here is that while we know that static stretching cold muscles is not only NOT beneficial but potentially detrimental, our muscles can benefit from loaded stretching where we hold a weighted stretch at the top of our eccentric portion of our lifts. It couldn’t hurt, I don’t suppose and I may try this out starting with my cross training this week.

Music to Run Fast-ish, Lift Heavy and Punch Hard To

I guess it was around the time I started training for my first 10K that I stopped listening to music while running. For the longest time I had various playlists and podcasts and story runs I’d listen to while running just to keep my mind off of how tired I was getting. But at some point I decided to quit because I figure since it’s not really allowed during races, why would I train that way?

Then last week I was watching Two Minutes to Late Night clips on YouTube when I found a short video of host Gwarsenio Hall doing Carpool Karaoke with members of various metal bands to the Misfits song Hybrid Moments. The Misfits are one of my favorite bands (if not my #1 favorite) and Hybrid Moments is one of my favorite songs they do. Hearing it that day and seeing people thrashing about in the car to it got me so hyped and I couldn’t stop hearing it in my head.

As a result, I loaded some Misfits onto my iPhone and broke out the headphones for the first time in a long time for a short 2-mile run in the park.

And it was amazing.

It wasn’t my fastest run during this training program thus far, but it was a close second. Something in those Misfits songs sets a fire in me that nothing else can. I’m also sure I was more than just a little intimdating running nearly shirtless through the woods shouting IF YOU WANNA SCREAM, SCREAM WITH ME…

Anyway, that’s the jam for this week — go run, lift or box. And come see me if you want to learn how to do either of those things better.

Spotify Playlists For Heavy Lifting

In lieu of a Fitness Finds post (because I didn’t really read anything worth a shit this week) I thought I’d share some tunes. In my experience, posts like this where athletes/trainers share their workout playlists always make me think “sucks…sucks…sucks…I hate this,” and this will likely be no different for you.

Oh, well. A lot of people like this stuff.

Anyway, I have several custom playlists on Spotify that I use for my workouts. These have a variety of content but are mostly different forms of metal, hip hop and punk. Please feel free to jam any of these while you’re running, punching or picking up heavy things.

As of 6/23/2017: 258 songs, 11 hours and 23 minutes of music
This is a very long, very fast playlist of most of my favorite punk rock songs. Sure, metal is heavy and fast and strong but punk just doesn’t care. Punk makes you want to bring the walls down and destroy the system.

Favorites include So What by Anti-Nowhere League, Where Eagles Dare by the Misfits and DDT by the Suicide Machines. Also this:

As of 6/23/2017: 48 songs, 3 hours and 28 minutes of music
This is made of a combination of hip hop, metal and punk songs that make me want to fight. You’ll find a lot of Rocky music because duh as well as various other songs from similar boxing films. Also, just mean shit because it’s boxing.

Favorites include Rubble Kings Theme (Dynamite) by Run the Jewels, Beast – Southpaw Remix by Rob Bailey and The Hustle Standard and Go to Church by Ice Cube. And this, of course:

As of 6/23/2017: 65 songs, 4 hours and 50 minutes of music
Like Punxxx, Metalllll is a long playlist made up of death, doom, black, thrash, industrial and viking metal that makes me want to hit things and pick up heavy shit. Some classic heaviness here; some “why’d he put that on there?” on here, too.

Favorites include Angel of Death by Slayer, Battery by Metallica and Sign of the Wolf (Pentagram) by Pentagram. Also this:

Shitty Nu Metal
As of 6/23/2017: 117 songs, 7 hours and 13 minutes of music
Nu Metal is a subgrenre of metal that I’m embarrassed about knowing so much of. I’m embarrassed it was a phase of my life I went through and it’s embarrassing every time I remember the red New York Yankees hat and shitty goatee I used to have in middle school. Either way, it’s a fact that shitty male teenage anger is real and we’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives (or at least those of us who were angry teenage males). Luckily for some of us we had Jonathan Davis and *sigh* Fred Durst to sing about it for us.

Favorites I’m ashamed to admit to include Pollution by Limp Bizkit, Papercut by Linkin Park and Die MF Die by Dope. Also this:

JTF #HitItHard on Fridays
As of 6/23/2017: 33 songs, 1 hour and 56 minutes of music
This was made primarily for my own personal use during select TITLE Boxing Power Hours. It’s a lot of heavy classics and a few modern songs (even some pop to please the ladies). It’s all family-friendly with edited versions of dirty songs but it’s still a solid playlist in my humble opinion.

Favorites include Chelsea Dagger by the Fratellis, Step Up by Drowning Pool and Me Too by Meghan Trainor (shut up). Also this:

As of 6/23/2017: 27 songs, 2 hours and 12 minutes of music
Sometimes singing the praises of the Dark Lord is the only thing that can get that weight off the ground. That’s where this playlist comes in — all evil, all the time. If you listen to this, please note that I’m not responsible for any portals to Hell that open in our vicinity.

Favorites include Unanswered by Suicide Silence, Leave No Cross Unturned by Darkthrone and All Hail Hell by Midnight. Also this gem:

Anyway. Songs are always being added to all of these as I find more shit to add to them so if you’re on Spotify go ahead and follow them if you’d like. Or just pick a few from each to create your own embarrassingly testosterone-filled and Satanic mix!

You will get stronger.
You will get prettier.
You will get more dangerous.

The Weekly Thing is now the Road to Bluegrass 6/19

Right out of the gate I’ll cover what’s obvious: for the next 14 weeks the Monday post will be referred to as the Road to Bluegrass. As you all know by now, I’m registered to run the Bluegrass Half Marathon in Johnson City coming up at the end of September and training officially started two weeks ago. I, of course, didn’t bring it up until now thanks to my unplanned hiatus last week but just know it’s happening and it’s happening now.

I finished up the second week on Saturday. I’ll talk about my weekly running in these Monday posts but if you want to see how I’ve been training, I’ve added a handy dandy link to the top that says, appropriately, Road to Bluegrass. This will include an up-to-date table that includes both daily and weekly distances as well as my average pace.

If you read that shit, then you’re a running geek and I love you.

Week two was encouraging. Since I haven’t been running as hard as I used to, my conditioning has gone to shit. I was a bit worried about this during the first week as I was suddenly having to remember how to keep a safe pace that won’t leave me winded. I spent part of week one pushing a bit too hard but week 2 helped me figure it out a bit more. My weekend long run has increased from 2 miles to 3, which marks the first 3-mile run I’ve done on my own in months (save for a the 5-miler I did on Mother’s Day).

On the week, I logged 9 miles (14.5km) with an average of 11:41/mile (6:50/km — I think). Also, worth sharing is how I’m tracking nowadays. Erin got me a TomTom Spark 3 GPS watch and I love love love it. I told her that if I ever trained for another half marathon that I’d be getting a GPS watch to do it with so she hooked me up. Is it as fancy pants as an iWatch or one of the higher-end watches with heart rate monitors, etc? No, but all I wanted was something that tracked my time, my distance, my route, my pace, my step count, my calories burned and allowed me to share all of this information on social media. It does all those things and it does them very well.

Week 3’s boxing and running looks like this:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 2 Mile Run, 7:00pm Boxing at TITLE
  • Wednesday: 2 Mile Run
  • Thursday: 2 Mile Run
  • Friday: 6:00am Boxing at TITLE
  • Saturday: 3 Mile Run, 11:00 T-75 Boxing at TITLE
  • Sunday: Cross-training (details below); 1:00pm Boxing at TITLE

Cross Training – Phase 5, Week 2: Back, Triceps, Calves, Hamstrings

  • Top of the Mountain Warmup: Spin bike, 8 minutes: 1 minute each from levels 1-8 then stretch
  • Pull-Ups Set 1: 4 Reps
  • Circuit 1 – Weight: 30%, Reps: 10
    Dumbbell rows, tricep curls, jump rope, good mornings
  • Pull-Ups Set 2:4 Reps
  • Circuit 2 Repeat Circuit 1
  • Pull-Ups Set 3: 4 Reps
  • Circuit 3: Weight: 85%, Reps: 5
    Barbell rows, tricep pushdowns, jump rope, dead lifts
  • Pull-Ups Set 4:3 Reps
  • Circuit 4: Repeat circuit 3
  • Pull-Ups Set 5: Max Reps
  • Kettlebell Challenge Day 18 – 70 Snatches (12 each side; 10 each side x2; 3 each side)
  • Bottom of the Mountain Cooldown: Spin bike, 8 minutes: 1 minute each from levels 8-1 then stretch

This is my first full-week back in action after dealing with the grief of losing someone I love. I find comfort in staying busy and I hope that putting in this much effort into things I love reflects even a fraction of the effort Paps put into shit he loved. I miss that dude and I miss him badly. Yesterday I gave him credit for giving me a giant cloud to cover up the blazing sun while I was mowing my yard. That seems like something he’d do for me.

I also blamed him for the stick that shot out of my mower LITERALLY seconds later that cut my shin.

I sometimes wish a 13 year old me would pull up my driveway with their Paps asking if they could mow my yard over the summer…

…Nah; I’d tell him to take a hike. Mowing is mine and Paps’ time now :-)