Do you enjoy working out, but want to track the information that comes with each workout session? Perhaps you like to switch up your workouts because your mind and body thrive best when you have variety. Or maybe you want to see if you burn more calories doing one activity over another. It is important in fitness to have access to the best ways to track workouts, so you can track and measure your results, and gauge progress.
There is no right or wrong way to work out, but having a system where you can see your results can help you work toward the body that you want. Check out these suggestions that can make it easier for you to track your workouts and discover what is most beneficial for you.
Change is never easy. Even when it’s a positive change, making adjustments in your life can be difficult. Adopting a healthy lifestyle does require change for a lot of people. It means incorporating more exercise into your daily routine and following a well-balanced diet that doesn’t cause you to feel deprived or restricted. Having the right mindset is the first step toward discovering a healthier version of you. And here’s how it’s done!
Here is an interesting guest post by a good friend of Project Swole. He wishes to remain mostly nameless (aside from mentioning his name is Andy), but trust in me he is smart and experienced, and I think this piece will really connect with most Swole readers.
“It’s unpleasantly like being drunk.”
“What’s so unpleasant about being drunk?”
“You ask a glass of water.”
– Douglas Adams, British author, and humorist
Human beings like habits, as a rule. It’s like that old phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” So, if we do something, and it works out ok, we’ll do it again.
Good or bad, habits allow us to predict the future – if I do this (exactly as I did yesterday), I know what will happen. Habits equal proven outcomes. Get on this train at this time in the morning, and I’ll be at work on time.
And if those habits are linked to a reward of some description, anything from a hit of dopamine in the brain by achieving a specific goal or, heaven forbid, one of a human being’s primary rewards – either food or sex, we’ll be back same time tomorrow, guaranteed, with our plate in our hand, as it were.
Habits provide routine, and for us, routinely provides security.
Unfortunately for us, some habits don’t sit well with others, and the rewards each brings actually off-set against one another, which kind of defeats the object. Take, for example, the diabetic cake-shop owner. You get my point. In fact, like the rest of our existence, it’s all just one big juggling act, seeing what works, what doesn’t, what affects something else, and so on, and hoping for a happy medium somewhere along the line.(more…)
TBT: This is a post I wrote back in May of 2007. These were my thoughts on motivation, prioritization, and how to make the most of your training. It pretty much all still holds true.
We all have priorities in life. Some of mine include finishing the move into my new house, running a successful website development business, keeping my girlfriend happy, spending time with my son, staying strong and healthy, and not getting fired from my day job. What are yours? Can you list your top 5 and assign priority values to them? I have done this, and what I have found is that staying strong and healthy continues to drop below those tasks that involve either family members, or putting lOOt in the bank (or more accurately giving lOOt to bill collectors).
How can we reprioritize in order to keep our gym goals intact?
I don’t want to get small or weak or fat, and neither do you. In my time, I have seen too many men with joint, neck, back, or hip issues, or perhaps they are just overweight with big pot bellies. Years ago I swore this would not be me. So, how can we redirect some of that focus back into the gym? How can we, when faced with working 14 hour days in order to make a million dollars by age 40, still exercise? Where can we draw some of this motivation that I am talking about. I have a couple suggestions that you could try, some of which I am testing out right now.
Get a lifting partner that will show up on time for each workout. Find someone that isn’t going to talk about his/her friends, or work, or a party, or kids… find someone that wants to FOCUS on training when it’s time to train.
Tell others about your plan (blog about it?). If you tell others what you plan to do with your body, you will hold yourself more accountable for your own progress. After all, no one wants to be embarrassed by failure.
Realize that you aren’t good to anyone else unless you are healthy. If you are always tired, hurt, or sick, you are no good to your family or co-workers. Suck it up and get healthy!
Sometime in your life, you will need to be strong. Perhaps something will fall on you or a loved one. Perhaps you will need to move the contents of an entire house by yourself. Maybe you will need to fight off an attacker, or push a car out of the snow, or rescue someone from a burning building. No matter what the aggressor might be, you will inevitably need to be strong for one reason or another. Why not prepare for it before it’s too late.
Find some good ass lifting music. I personally prefer Static-X, Pantera, Avenged Sevenfold, Staind, Godsmack, Powerman 5000, Korn, Slipknot, Linkin Park, Marilyn Manson, System of a Down, Disturbed, Nickelback, Type O Negative, Evanescence, Tool, Rage, Soundgarden, Audioslave, Incubus, Queens of the Stone Age, (Hed) P.E., Megadeth, Motley Crue, Stereomud, Lamb of God, Ill Nino, Sevendust, Faith No More, Hatebreed, Mudvayne, Shinedown, Taproot, Theory of a Dead Man, Foo Fighters, and Three Days Grace, just to name a few.
I have a son that I want to inspire to be strong and healthy. I have a girlfriend that, quite frankly, I want to impress with visions of a Greek God, feats of strength to rival Hercules, and the skill to defend her from predators. These abilities prove to her that I am a male worthy of mating… frequently, if you catch my drift. I have this blog that visitors will be reading, and I don’t want to embarrass myself with failure. I have a business to run, and I want prospective clients to be wowed by my dedication to life and ability to multi-task. Finally, I want to get in better shape, faster, than the guy on Better Body Journal, for he is one of my nemeses in this game of strength.
Find your solution and make your own motivation. Formulate your goals, and make it happen!
Motivation. It’s the silent workout partner that every successful diet or muscle building program must have to succeed.
When you build a workout plan you probably spend a lot of time deciding what supplements to take and what routines will do you the most good. It is just as important to build a motivation plan to help you power through the plateaus and lulls that are part of reaching fitness goals.
Allow me to direct your attention to the Project Swole Forums. Build muscle and lose fat by sharing your training secrets, diet strategies, progress updates, and supplement reviews; or discuss anything remotely related to health and fitness.
This will be a great way for me and all you Swole readers to talk about health and fitness topics that I just don’t have time to write individual posts about. There is also an area for posting progress pics, workout routines, or anything else you can come up with to show off your goods. My only request is this: let’s not make it a sausage fest on the pics forum… if you guys are going to post progress pics, can we please get some ladies to pose and post once a in while?
Down with the Swole Contact Form!
I want to transition from using the Swole contact form to the Swole Forums, for asking questions about health and fitness. Lord knows I get way too many e-mails on a daily basis, and I just can’t keep up with them.
The Swole contact form can still be used to ask questions about advertising, guest posts, or anything extremely private, but again I can’t guarantee a timely response.
Forum Moderators Needed
Months ago I posted about the upcoming forums and had several volunteers to help moderate. Well, now that the forums are actually up and running, I will need some moderators. So, anyone who has a couple hours a week to help answer questions and/or keep the forums clean of spam and trolls, I need YOU!
Unfortunately this is 100% volunteer work. I won’t be able to pay you for your help, but you will get a ton of kudos and I’ll help promote any projects you have going on. Leave a comment on this post to volunteer, and let me know if you have any relevant experience with moderating forums, developing websites, personal training, health topics, or nutrition advice.
That’s it! Let’s get the forums rockin’ ASAP and we’ll really have a sweet community going on at Project Swole.
I totally live by the mantra, “No brain, no gain”, because, “No pain, no gain”, is essentially a counterproductive philosophy. It is one in which you could easily end up sick, injured, or worse. On recent occasion though, I have found it necessary to dig back into my, “No pain, no gain”, mindset in thai kickboxing class.
The reason I say this, is because there does indeed seem to be a problem with my lungs. I still think they might be damaged from some blood clots a couple years back. The thing is though, is if I push myself, how much bad can actually come of it?
My lungs could get stronger. They could be forced to repair damaged tissue. Maybe I really am just straight up out of shape. Well no matter, because when I feel like it’s time to throw in the towel and huddle in a corner gasping for breath, I just repeat to myself, “No pain, no gain”, because this is how I will make it through the workout… this is how I will force my body to adapt and get stronger.
In the last 4 days I have attended 2 kickboxing classes and I have completed 6 sets of 10 pull-ups. Today I am sore. Kickboxing seems to be getting better after my month layoff. I am feeling stronger and faster during each class. I do feel like my lungs are working better sometimes, but then other times I find myself gasping, taking 1/2 breaths. For now I’ll just keep pushing it.
The 10 reps on pull-ups makes me feel OK. At least I’m not a complete sissy anymore. My general goal is to hit a set of pull-ups each morning and each evening, nearly every day of the week. On each set I will maintain strict form, and will always try to get one more rep than I did previously. Right now I’ve been stuck at 10 reps for a couple days, but I intend to hit an 11 rep set on Mother’s Day.
Soon it shall be time for me to start working towards my 10 week, 300 Workout Challenge goal. Once again, the 300 Workout isn’t something that we do every day. It is more of a training goal. You train your body for conditioning, endurance, and a small amount of strength, then at the end of your 10-12 week session, the 300 Workout is a test that you can use to gauge just how successful your training went.
When I am in the gym or in the dojo, I make every attempt to bring maximum intensity and pure focus. Throughout my life this is the attitude that I have known to foster success. As an example, most of the local gyms tend to blast Britney Spears music or perhaps some Justin Timberlake. These folks rolls up into the speakers babbling about love and dancing with their crooning voices and loose hips. Well I am not training for love. I am not training to dance. I am training to either lift more weight than you can comprehend or to knock your head off if you threaten me.
Some inspiring lyrics from some rock groups that know how to bring it…
“Yeah! You push it! Yeah! You push it!” – Static-X
“Heavy! I want it Heavy!” – Disturbed
“DIG! Bury Me! Underneath! Everything that I am!” – Mudvayne
“Get this or die! Get this or die!! Get this or DIE!!!” – Slipknot
So what exactly is your point?
When you are training you need to be in The Zone. Not the Zone Diet, not the Phantom Zone, and definitely not the Game Zone. Too many folks saunter into the gym with Britney Spears’ intensity. They walk up to the dumbbells, sigh, and hit the same number of reps, sets, and weights they’ve been using for the last 5 years. These are the same folks that won’t squat because it hurts their back, they won’t run because it hurts their knees, they won’t use a barbell because it hurts their hands! I feel like saying, “pick a spot on the ceiling, focus on it, grab the bar, do your set, THEN worry about the condition of your fingers”. Your back hurts? Spend a couple minutes figuring out how to rehab that thing back into working condition… then squat! Knees hurt? Try interval sprints, try the elliptical, try kickboxing!
The guy to avoid at all costs
Late in the evening when I’m trying to finish up my super-set so that I can get in one more exercise before the gym closes, I have to listen to, “I like to exercise late because there isn’t really anyone here to watch me. Maybe if I was in a bit better shape I wouldn’t mind so much, you know?” NO! I don’t know, buddy! I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about! I like it when other people are working out around me. Guys like me start up unspoken competitions with other similar athletes. We watch intently to see if our rivals hit their deadlift max this week. We check out the shredded guy’s calves to see if ours are still bigger. But there’s one thing you don’t need to worry about: we do not, under any circumstances, watch YOU. In fact I don’t really care what you do because you add absolutely nothing to my training, but please move away from the decline bench so I can finish my last set of weighted decline sit ups!
Focus on the task at hand and nothing else.
Strive to set a new personal best or personal record each time.
Avoid those that do what you don’t want to do.
Avoid those that don’t have what you want to have.
Surround yourself with those that do have what you want to have.
Use the environment (music, video, pictures, quotes) to keep you on track.
You need to want it more than anything else in the moment
If you want to make progress you need to DIG! You need to want it HEAVY! You need to PUSH IT!! Eat what you know you need to eat. If you don’t know what to eat, read and learn. Lift more weight every single workout no matter what. Kick harder today than you did yesterday. Jump higher! Do more situps! Get in that zone so you can block out the rest of your life, so that the only thing you see right now is that bar on the floor or the heavy bag, and you know that today, right now, you’re about to lift 5 lbs more on this exercise than you’ve ever lifted before, and hell if you can get an extra rep you’ll do that too. Know that you’re about to jump rope for 5 minute straight without it getting caught on your feet. Know that you are about to knock that heavy bag right off the damned ceiling! Get IN that zone, because it’s time to DIG!
“Any coward can fight a battle when he’s sure of winning; but give me the man who has the pluck to fight when he’s sure of losing.”
Disclaimer: The information provided within this site is strictly informational and is not a replacement or substitute for professional advice or treatment. The provided content on this site should serve, at most, as a companion to a professional consult. It should under no circumstance replace the advice of your primary care provider. You should always consult your primary care physician prior to starting any new fitness, nutrition, or weight loss regime.
All trademarks, registered trademarks and service-marks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.