Exercise

Crossfit: A Guest Piece by Daniel Arfin

So I wanted to change it up a little bit this time.  My good friend, a guy I’ve known my whole life, fellow NY Mets fan, and partner in crime from back in the day Mr. Daniel Arfin joins us this week in giving us an insight to his workout regime.  I am lucky enough to talk to my friend regularly, and I’m always hearing about his Crossfit endeavors.  Crossfit is a program developed to offer a full-body workout that combines elements of cardio, weight lifting, gymnastics, core training and more to prepare the body for the unexpected.  From their website:  “CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide.” Arfin is so enthusiastic about it and I’m always amazed hearing about what he did next; which is basically on a daily basis.  He truly is a beast.  Crossfit routines really fascinate me and I have so much respect for this man.  That is why I thought it would be a good idea for you to hear about it from him.  A guy who completed Shaun T’s Insanity program with what seemed like ease, here is someone with credibility in my book.  This is what Arfin had to say:

I’ve been in love with Crossfit for almost 10 months.  For the large part of those 10 months I’ve been in the box 5 or 6 times a week.  I’ve found it to be right up my alley in achieving balanced fitness.  It addresses all areas to make you into a complete athlete.  Many people, including myself for a long time struggle with getting themselves to the gym consistently because they get bored of doing the same thing.  Crossfit hooked me so fast because there is always so much variety.  So it isn’t just challenging, it’s interesting.  It almost feels like you’ve never tried it before every day because there’s so many different things to do.  There are often several points of technique for whatever movement you’re doing.  Whether it’s for strength and you’re doing Olympic weightlifting movements, or if you’re just simply jumping on top of a box.  Everything looks easy watching someone who is experienced perform it, but it’s very easy to have one misstep and not do the movement correctly.  Especially with the Olympic weightlifts, it is imperative you do the movement right to keep moving up in weight, and to not get injured.  But there’s no prerequisite to joining in.  You can always scale the movements so that it’s tailored to what you can do.  If there’s a certain type of movement you’re not quite comfortable doing, you can do something else in its place.  An example of that would be if you do not want to do handstand push-ups against the wall, you could take a 45lb. plate and press it above your head instead.  Or if you can’t do strict pull-ups, you can use a band to assist you.  This way you’re still getting the benefit of the workout because you’re not really changing the movement, you’re only adjusting the workout to what you can do so you will always benefit from it.  It is for this reason that anyone can benefit from doing Crossfit so above all else that is why I recommend it.

5k in June

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Very excited to announce that along with some friends, we registered for a 5k out in Coney Island in June supporting the Coney Island Sports Foundation.  Link is down below but wanted to get this out bec I’m excited.

http://www.roadracerunner.com/re_136232/ConeyIslandSportsFoundation5KCharityRunWalk.html

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Run Run Run

Although I am unfortunately not in Boston for today’s event, my run today is for Boston and I’ll be thinking about them !! This is the shirt I’m wearing today. You guys got a beautiful day today so get out there and enjoy! Good luck to everybody participating.

New Days

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I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back doing all things Adam’s Angle again. It has been a hectic week and a half between all of my extra responsibilities. Sometimes life gets in the way right? Not only did I not have time to make a post but I didn’t make it to the gym most of the week either. My two newfound passions had to take a back seat. During this time off, I had to re-focus my efforts in the gym and make some clear new goals. I firmly believe that none of us are perfect and we can always improve.

Marla and I are now back in the gym working together, fired up as ever, to accomplish these new goals. It was brought to my attention that my exercise regimens and eating habits have been slightly off. Excess to a degree is good. Too much of one thing is not. Yes, even if it’s a good thing. In this case it was a whole lot of cardio and not enough weight training to supplement it.   When this happens, your appearance is susceptible to look draggy or gaunt, in other words skinny. The word skinny is not a word that I, Adam David Tracey, EVER thought I would hear pertaining to me considering my history of being overweight. That being said, this is not a look or body type that I was ever going for. I thought the weight training aspect for me was fine but it clearly was not. This is why Marla is the best. She was able to see this in me and because of her background and because she cares so much, she is helping me get it right. We are focusing now primarily on weight training combined with upping my protein intake. We have been back at it now for two weeks and I can’t even begin to tell you how much better I feel already and the amounts of brand new energy that I have.

You may be saying to yourself, come on Adam, you lost 147 lbs, didn’t that alone give you new energy? Didn’t that make you feel amazing? Of course the answer is yes. Like anything else in this world though, we should never be content. Change is key and variety is the spice of life. I got to where I wanted to be but I fell into too much of a routine. The word routine is funny because you want to be in one, yet you want to always change it up and shock your universe. My routine was getting stale on me without even realizing. This is why I am beyond grateful to have the people in my life who love me and will point this out to me. You come to realize that it’s not out of criticism or to be mean but rather out of love. I am lucky to have these amazing friends and family around me. If you take anything out of this piece, I hope I can inspire you to never be content and always strive to be better. You are already great in what you do, the question is, can you do it better?

I truly love this quote.  It is from the book Fight Club and makes all the sense in the world:

May I never be complete. May I never be content. May I never be perfect.”   ~Chuck Palahnuik

Interval Training: My Greatest Ally

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May 3rd, 2013

The picture above is a snapshot of an actual interval session on the treadmill, recorded by me, using the Nike-plus app on May 3rd of 2013.  Smack in the middle of my weight loss journey.  As you can see it is a consistent line of my pace going up and down.  Here’s what it all means.

What is interval training?  How will it help you lose weight faster or live a healthier lifestye? Prior to delving into the actual meaning of this, I have to say that intervals are probably my best friend in the world as it relates to weight loss.  I’ll also start by saying that it’s impossible to achieve weight loss or upping your fitness game by just doing one thing.  It takes a variety of tactics and discipline.  However, if I were to endorse one specific exercise leading me to where I am today, it would without question be interval training via the treadmill.  Without intervals, I wouldn’t be here, period.

Interval training is the act of alternating between high and low intensity efforts during a workout.  Here is an example of intervals as it relates to running. You start out on the treadmill walking at slow pace for about 2 minutes as a warm-up.  At that point, we crank it all the way up to a fast running speed for a full minute.  I’m talking about an all out sprint.  This is then followed by walking slowly again for about a minute and a half.  This start and stop action keeps your body guessing, which burns calories during, and long after a workout is complete making it optimal for weight loss.  The best part is when you get home and are relaxing on your couch thinking about your awesome workout, these intervals are still working for you by continuing to burn fat!  How great is that? The method I use the most for interval training is the treadmill.  You can chose to do intervals in other ways that makes you most comfortable whether it is on an elliptical, cycling, swimming, and much more.  When I was introduced to this, like anything new, it was very tough.  Not only tough, it was pretty discouraging.  Here I am a month in with all the momentum in the world.  Marla shocks my world by introducing something called intervals to me. At the time I hated running more than I can ever express on paper.  I was just so focused on my ultimate long-term goal, it didn’t phase me after 2-3 gym sessions.  I soon became better and better at this and it is still something I do to this day.  Even though I am not in fat burning mode anymore, interval training is still key to keep improving my cardiovascular health, increase my stamina (as I think about a marathon), and building muscle by increasing my lactate threshold.

Next lets talk about the term HIIT.  This stands for High Intensity Interval Training.  This involves very intense rounds of exercise going from high intensity to low. Once Marla introduced me to HIIT I never looked back from there.  High Intensity work is definitely my thing.  As I said in the opening paragraph, interval training has been my best friend throughout this process. When all else fails and you are having a mental block on what to attack in the gym, go ahead and do some intervals while you think about it.   HIIT can be used for both cardio and weight training.

At the end of the day, interval training or HIIT is the best cardio you can do to burn fat, up your stamina, or keep up a healthy lifestyle.  Experts used to believe that a steady round of cardio, such as running straight through, as opposed to intervals, catapulted weight loss more because in theory you are doing the exercise longer and more fat would be burned as fuel.  If you asked me at the beginning I would have thought the exact same thing.  It seems logical that doing something longer would be more beneficial then going fast, slow, fast, slow.  The fact of the matter is when you are running at these different intensities, your “total fat burn” is much greater.  Again, not only are more calories burned but you will also receive major cardiovascular benefits almost right away.  At this point, thanks to all the interval training I’ve done, I’m doing straight runs of 4-5 miles at a time, averaging 9 minutes 30 seconds per.  I’ve even reached six once.  This does not mean intervals are done for me.  It can’t be because the NYC marathon is a consideration so upping my stamina and distance remains crucial.  I do intervals now on high inclines.  For a little bit more on this topic, stay tuned for the next episode of the Adam’s Angle podcast tomorrow coming to you in a slightly tweaked format. Also keep checking back under the One Sweet World tab for random updates and quick notes.

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Shoveling Snow

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Shoveling snow for a lot of people is a drag.  This has always been the case for me.  If I knew then what I knew now, perhaps I would see things differently.  Little did I know that a simple 15 minute shoveling session would count as actual physical activity.  That’s it. Only 15 minutes. In my new life I find that snowfall excites me because it allows me to get out there and do some efficent exercise.  There is no “shoveling snow simulator” at the gym so this is always a unique way for me to work out.  If the snow is keeping you from going to the gym, this post is really for you.  Shoveling has great effects on your muscle tone and development because it challenges many of the major muscles in your body.  Also this activity will raise your heart rate and burn a ton of calories at the same time.  ANY cardiovascular activity is beneficial to your heart and lungs which can help lower lower blood pressure and treat bad cholesterol.  Even for “fit” people, studies show that based on heart rate, shoveling snow is a moderately intense workout.  In my mind the word moderate in this scenario really means thorough.  A good moderate workout is a good thorough workout.

The two major factors when deciding to go out and engage is the temperature and the amount of snow.  Lets start from the beginning.  First, you are going to want to stretch.  Just like any time you are at the gym, stretching is always a good idea.  One of these days I will make a post strictly about stretching, different techniques and the importance.  Get to the snow quick.  The softer and more powdery the snow is, the easier it will ultimately be for you to shovel. The cold air out there makes it harder to breathe. This will make the physical work harder and add strain to your body so think about that first.  For instance the polar vortex.  It is probably best, no matter who you are to just stay inside on days like that.

Let’s get into technique.  Proper snow shoveling technique will entail squating, lifting, pushing, and lunging.  Lift with your legs not with your back.  Next, think about your own physical condition.  If you have been inactive for a while and think shoveling snow is your duty rather than treating it like an exercise, you are very much mistaken.  This is problem #1 and the reason you see people get heart attacks from shoveling.  If you have heart and/or back problems it is best not to shovel at all.  Call the plow company.  Next, think about owning a good shovel.  I can’t stress enough how this makes all the difference in the world.  In this day and age you really have your choice of brands and stores.  Pick one out light in weight and that feels comfortable on your hands.  Try and push the snow rather than lifting it to the nearest snow bank.  No need to walk a mile with each scoop.

At the end of the day snow shoveling is nostalgic and should be fun.  We have all done it as kids in 1 way or another.  Whether we did it for our parents, walked around the neighborhood with friends ringing doorbells, or now in present time doing it for the workout.  Find a way to make it enjoyable.  Sometimes I slap some headphones on with WFAN sports talk radio in my ear or some good music.  Just the other day, my neighbor and I were digging out our cars while laughing and joking around.  This made the time go much quicker.  After a good shoveling session, I like to come inside and immediately do a few sets of pushups, burpees, and ab rolls.  This in my mind just builds on what I already did outside.  Followed by of course a glass of the finest protein shake out there, Designer Whey!

If we are going to live in the miserable cold, lets at least get something out of it.  Like a good workout.  The spring can’t get here soon enough when I will have tons of great outdoor tips.

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Happy Saturday


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Happy Saturday Everyone.  Ok by no means am I even near an Indiana Pacers fan.  Diehard Knick fan right here who grew up hating Reggie Miller, Rick Smits, Dale & Antonio Davis, Larry Bird, Larry Brown, and more.  That being said, I happened to find a cool article on how my boy George Hill, current Indiana Pacer, works his abs.  As seen above, I swallowed my Knick pride and took a screen shot of this article with my iPad because I really needed to try it out.  You try too.  Clearly this is not easy to begin with so start off by trying this in separate parts before putting it all together.  Ok, lets get into this. If you are breaking it down into sections, go like this:  Start by just trying the plank for 40 seconds to a minute.  Get up and wait 30-45 seconds and then try the 10 pushups.  Rest again and hydrate.  Do the plank again but this time go right into the walking on your forearms part.  Get up, wait another few minutes and do the 10 pushups.  When you feel like you can do all of these at once, perfect.   Repeat until satisfaction (or 3 reps).  If you don’t exactly follow what I said, just click on the pic above.  This exercise truly is beast mode.  If you are enthusiastic about abs and really want them, mix these bad boys with the ab roller inside of the same workout and pshh, you are really on your way no joke.  Here is a link to the ab roller exercise I posted.

http://adamsangle.net/2014/01/26/93/

Intense ab work WILL yield some quick results.  You don’t have to work for months upon months just to see a little something.  When I change a regimen, I see differences in as little as a few days. The reasoning behind cutting back your gut at all costs is very crucial.  Your mid section is insanely important as it relates to diabetes.  When abdominal fat drains into the liver they cause a set of reactions.  LDL, the bad cholesterol rises as well as triglycerides.  Insulin becomes less effective in controlling blood sugar.  This will set off chemical imbalances, which lead to diabetes, heart disease and more.

In an unrelated note but somewhat related, I thought the other pic in this post was wise and true, sent to me by my Dad.  Some of these words will keep you feeling less guilty the Monday morning after the superbowl!

On the real, everybody be safe and enjoy yourself.  Above anything else, be happy and have a GREAT time what ever it is you do tomorrow and always.

Eat, drink, and be merry.

Go Broncos.

Basic tip

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Random basic note that will go a long way.  Use an ab roller.  I’m sure you all know what it is and I am obviousaly late to the party.  Thanks to my good friend leah (laya) who introduced me to the item, I consider it to be one of the most beneficial exercises for your core and even your triceps.  At first it may be tough but it takes less than 5 min of your time to break out a couple sets.  Do yourself a favor, if you don’t own one already, pick one up.  I’m telling you,  you will see a difference quickly.  They go from $12 up to $40.  They are even great to bring to work if you have your own office.  Close your door Ari Gold style and break out a few sets while on an important business call.  What can possibly go wrong?

Here is a link to the proper way of doing this exercise.

http://www.wikihow.com/Use-an-Ab-Roller