Thursday, December 31, 2009

Affordable Home Workout

Some exercise equipment just isn't in the budget of many homes these days, thankfully for those of you that can swing spending a little on your home gym there are some inexpensive alternatives that can help you reach your goals. Check out the...

Best Exercise Bike Under $250

For those of you going out to celebrate, stay in control and be safe - I hope everyone has a great time ringing in the new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Swingin' & Intervals

The last two nights have been all conditioning work, Monday was 25 minutes of intervals on the stair climber and last night consisted of a few hundred (250 to be exact) kettlebell swings. The swings were not the traditional though, Hands were alternated every swing with a toss/catch to add an element of hand/eye coordination to the equation.

I also had off of work yesterday and we (my wife and I, two of my brothers and my sister-in-law) took the kids bowling. It was a first for both of my kids, they caught on quickly, had a great time and did surprisingly well. I, on the other hand, didn't perform as well as I would have liked - fluttering just below the century mark in the first game and just above it in the second game, it's a good thing I don't try to make my living as a professional bowler. I did have a very good time though, and the kids have already asked when we can go again - maybe after a few months of semi-regular excursions to the lanes I can get myself up to a somewhat respectable score.

The New Year is literally right around the corner, for those of you planning on fitness resolutions remember that about 75% of resolutions fail because they aren't very realistic. If you plan on making a resolution, make sure that it is a clearly defined one that is possible to reach if you want to stick to it and achieve it!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Boxing Gloves

For those of you currently involved in the fight game, or for those of you who think that boxing/mma training for fighting or fitness may be in your near future, you'll most likely be needing a good pair of boxing gloves for at least a portion of your training...

Best Boxing Gloves Overall

Regardless of your fight training goals, you really can't go wrong by choosing any pair of gloves on that list.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Miracle

After a few days of wrapping my wrist at night - everything is A-OK, I even did some plyo push ups to give it a real test, with no pain at all.

I hope everyone's holiday was top notch, mine certainly was. Santa and relatives were all very good to the kids who are pretty much on cloud nine with all of the toys/activities they got and I didn't do too bad either. I got a nice new weighted vest from my lovely wife (which I'm actually wearing right now) some new clothes and a few gift cards.

My brother-in-law was home from the Navy this past week and I've got family coming in from Tennessee tonight so the good times should continue right through New Year's Day.

As far as workouts were concerned I skipped Christmas day all together, but today I've done some conditioning work and plenty of body-weight stuff (+ weighted vest). I feel good, but I may still hold off on grip training for another day or two just to be safe.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my goals, many of which I either accomplished or made excellent progress with through '09. Financially speaking I should be in prime position to execute a move to working completely from home before Summer and training went exceptionally well this year. The only goal I set for myself that I didn't either achieve or come as close as I would have liked to was certing on the CoC #3 - a couple of minor injuries certainly got in the way and I don't think my original training plan was as sound as it probably could have been.

I'm going to approach the New Year with the very same passion I did for '09, the difference will be that I've learned from my mistakes of last year - I'm more experienced and stronger both mentally and physically. It's going to be a big year for me and I hope that I can help make it a big year for you too.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

We've just about finished everything that needed to be completed prior to the big day tomorrow. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season.

Keep in mind that this is a time to celebrate and have fun with family and friends, it's understandable that you may need to adjust your regular schedule to fit in all of the things over the course of the very busy next few days. That doesn't necessarily mean that you should abandon all of the the hard work that has gotten you to where you currently are though. You can have fun and celebrate and still maintain some semblance of order in the plan toward your ultimate goal.

If you've been wanting to embark on a new healthy lifestyle but have yet to make that move, this is the perfect time to get things started. The New Year is practically upon us, as you enjoy your time off around the holidays take a little bit of time to set some definable and reachable goals as the New Year begins and work on a plan that will help you achieve them. The first step on the road to successfully reaching your health and fitness goals is creating a sound plan.

Confused about where to start - just ask, there is plenty of solid information available out there and if I can't give you a good answer to your questions I'll direct toward an expert who can - no excuses, if you really want it start planning for it now.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Home Gym

Looking to drop your gym membership in the new year and have access to everything that you'll need for a great workout right in the comfort of your own home? No more commuting, no more waiting in line for machines and no more uncomfortable conversations with people you don't know anything about?

Check out these options for...

Best Home Gym Overall

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last Night's Work and a Wrist Injury

I honestly didn't think it was bad at all when it happened - Sunday night I was doing some body-weight work and during wall walks I was stopping at the top and holding a handstand against the wall with one hand. I felt a slight tweak in my right wrist, but continued to finish what I was doing with little problem.

When yesterday rolled around, the pain was like a dull ache whenever I put pressure on it still nothing to intense but today the pain is pretty constant. I'm not exactly sure where the problem lies, but I certainly don't foresee any bending or heavy grip work going on over the course of the next few days.

With the sore wrist my workout was limited to lower body stuff, I stuck to high rep body-weight squats and some plyometric jumping. I actually expected to be feeling it today as I didn't cut the workout short by any means, but I'm actually feeling pretty aside from the wrist.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Exercise Bikes

Exercise bikes are still pretty popular in commercial gyms, but more and more people seem to be choosing other options for their home gym equipment. Maybe the reason lies in the fact that the commercial quality machines are so darn expensive. If that's the reason in your case, check this top five list out:

Best Exercise Bike Under $500

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Two feet of snow from early Saturday morning until early Sunday morning meant shoveling - lots and lots of shoveling. Two plowed in cars, a plowed in driveway and two properties between me and my wife was probably enough conditioning work for the day.

I'm gonna hit some body weight squats, some planks for time and have a few squeezes on a gripper or two before I jump in the shower and grab dinner - after that it'll be time for relaxing before hitting the hay early because I'm probably in for some more shoveling at work tomorrow.

Haven't seen this much snow since I can't remember when, had the kids out three different times for sledding, snowball fights and some general mayhem over the course of the last two days - the clean up is a pain in the..., but the benefit of watching them have what seems like more fun than is possible is worth every minute of that clean up.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pull Up Bars

Pull ups are one of the cornerstone exercises to any body-weight routine, they are also hugely beneficial to any weight training routine as well. They strengthen your back, your upper and lower arms, your core and they improve your grip.

The beauty of the pull up, like many body-weight exercises, is that you don't need any big fancy machine to do them - all you need is a bar and a sturdy door frame. If you want to add this incredible strength building exercise to your repertoire, here are the best of the best in portable pull up bars:

Best Pull-Up Bar

Friday, December 18, 2009

Conditioning and Weathermen

Last night's workout was a split of conditioning - I started out doing some interval work on the stair climber and followed that up with 125 kettlebell swings. Some people fail to realize just how effective kettlebells are for fat burning/conditioning workouts - if you want a serious cardio challenge grab an appropriately weighted bell and crank out 100+ swings, it might just make you rethink your approach to what is good for increasing your "wind."

On a side note, weathermen are predicting a number of possible scenarios for this weekend in my neck of the woods - anywhere from a few inches to upwards of a foot before the weekend is out. They've already issued the winter storm warning.

I, like everyone else, have been disappointed/confused by weather predictions in the past but with a "100%" chance of snow it looks as though I'll be getting some outdoor conditioning at least once this weekend and that I better reserve plenty of time to play because if more than a few inches falls, the kids will have me out there for the bulk of the available daylight hours.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Indoor Bike Trainer

Exercise bikes can certainly have their place when it comes to getting in some cardio, but for avid cyclists there is no feeling like actually being on your own bike inside when you can't hit the great outdoors do to inclimate weather.

If you live in an area that gets less than favorable weather for good portions of the year but want to keep biking for your cardio check this out:

Best Indoor Bike Trainer

Hectic Night Last Night

I honestly don't even really know where the time went, I didn't get involved in any major projects but the time got eaten away - the night seemed to completely vanish. I didn't use that as any kind of excuse to miss my workout though - I just shortened it up a little bit.

I skipped grip (my hands needed a day off anyway), and resistance training was minimal ( a few planks for time and a few handstands) - I pretty much focused entirely on conditioning with intervals on the stair-climber.

I spoke with my older brother via text a little last night and some this morning - I could be re-entering the world of competitive sports in the not too distant future with him as a catalyst. The prospect is pretty exciting - after thinking about I realized that I haven't actually been involved in any kind of serious competition in far too long - official announcements will be made as soon as the details are hammered out.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Elliptical Trainer

Elliptical trainers have taken the fitness world by storm over the past few years, with one you can get a good cardio workout with very little impact. For this reason elliptical machines offer a good choice across the board, trainees of all ages and levels of fitness can benefit - the downside is that they can be a little pricey but if you are interested, here are a list of the top five affordable elliptical trainers:

Best Budget Elliptical

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bodyweight and Conditioning

Tonight's workout consisted mainly of hand balancing and other bodyweight movements for the resistance portion and some pretty intense intervals on the stair climber for conditioning.

The workout was pretty quick but definitely effective, I haven't done any handstands or the like in a little while and I'm feeling it in my shoulders and wrists.

Good Workout!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Grip and the Best Adjustable Dumbbells

Wanted to get the blood flowing in my hands, wrists and forearms so I decided on some active recovery tonight - 110 full ranges reps (switching hands as necessary) with a nice and easy gripper certainly did the trick.

The review I wanted to link to today would probably be of good use to anyone who wants a good (weighted) workout, but who doesn't have a ton of space...

The Best Adjustable Dumbbell Set Overall

A good variety of weight options without taking up much more space than a big pair of hex dumbbells and in most cases much more affordable than buying a complete set of hexes. The ones I own (number one on the list), I use for everything from front lateral raises to farmers walks - that's a hugely versatile piece of equipment.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Want a Treadmill on the Cheap

Treadmills can be a decent home workout tool, you can work intervals or do some warm up or sprints regardless of the weather, but if you don't want to invest too much of your hard earned cash - how about trying a manual treadmill, here are some of the best.

Best Manual Treadmill Overall

These might not hold up to the abuse that the top of the line, commercial quality treadmills will, but they will cost you a whole heck of a lot less and they do serve virtually the same purpose, just with fewer bells and whistles.


Last night's focus couldn't have been simpler - grippers, grippers and more grippers.

I started out with holds until failure, moving up in difficulty until the amount of time I could hold the gripper closed was bordering on zero. After time holds I moved onto parallel reps on the Vulcan - 100 reps switching hands as necessary, then finally no set reps on the lowest Vulcan setting for one set on each hand to failure.

Once the workout was done, I threw back a Muscle Milk and hit some alternating hot and cold soaks to try and speed up recovery. The soaks must have worked pretty well - both hands feel fine today.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Reviews of Shoes

I've decided to start linking direct to some of my "best of" lists on Bestcovery so anyone who's interested in a particular item can have direct access rather than trying to find what they are looking for. The first list I did was for best running shoe - if you're in the market for a gift for someone, or if you just need a new pair of kicks check out the list:

Best Men's Running Shoe Overall

Hope the list comes in handy for some of you, more to come in the very near future.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


One of my best friends has re-entered the world of education - he's back in school studying video production, which I never thought he should have abandoned a number of years ago (temporarily abandoned would be a more appropriate categorization now I suppose). His class had apparently had a project last week in which they had to pitch an idea for a show - long story short, the team used video clips from YouTube to pitch an "online talent search" and one of my videos was featured:

I still think it's hilarious that my son runs into the room to clean up my wraps after I've finished the bend - I only wish those habits of cleaning up had continued : )

I know that if my buddy wasn't on the group that picked the featured videos that I probably wouldn't have been on there, but any way that I can pass along my passion (and the benefits) of old school feats of strength to others who would have otherwise not been exposed is cool with me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Back to Basics for Tuesday

Had a lot of running around to do last night, but as I've said on a number of occasions - lack of time is not a very good excuse to skip a workout. I decided that it would be best for me last night to rock some quick bodyweight training instead of having to set everything up down in the dungeon.

It was a lighting fast, but pretty brutal circuit consisting of push up variations, squats, pull ups and burpees. Lots of huffing and puffing and plenty of sweat generated in a brief period of time.

I decided to give my grip a day off after a few pretty intense sessions over the course of the last few days, but I'm feeling recovered and I'll hit it hard again tonight - the pull ups worked it a bit, but I could feel that my hands needed some rest beyond that for the evening.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Weekend

Saturday's workout was brief but intense - just grippers and some bends. Lots of overcrushes and holds and some max attempts on the Vulcan followed by some short lengths of 1/4" CRS from SteelWorks.

Sunday started off with 225 swings with the 24k bell then moved on to grip work. Lots of volume with the Tetting Hub, FBBC Bomb and finished up with half of a 70lb hex for some pinch work.

The hubbing felt particularly good, haven't done any of that in quite a while, the k-bell swings worked up a nice sweat as well - all in all it was a very good workout for the amount of time invested.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Linkage + Workout

If you'll take a gander over to the sidebar, you may notice that I've added two new links - allow me to explain.

Bestcovery is a site devoted to providing reviews (top five lists) of products by experts along with external links to places in which to procure said items. There are categories that cover just about everything - electronics, apparel, appliances, travel, health and beauty - and take a wild guess who's doing the ranking and reviews for fitness equipment.

I've been over there for about a month and have down 20+ lists, the latest of which include: heart rate monitors, assorted boxing equipment and ab machines. If you're in the market for just about anything, but want some helpful suggestions before shelling out your hard earned green - take a jump over and see what the knowledgeable experts have to say.

The second new link is for Brotherspeak, which is a very well put together online magazine. You may have taken a brief trip over there in the recent past via a link in a post here. I've been writing a monthly fitness column for them since the end of summer, but I think it certainly deserves a link to the main page here - there are plenty of very well written and informative articles on a wide variety of topics over there.

As far as tonight's workout was concerned - all bodyweight: lots of good ol' fashioned push ups, squats and chins. Letting my grip have a break tonight after the recent abuse.

Tuesday & Wednesday

Haven't missed a workout, but couldn't quite find the time to post - nothing too exciting anyway.

Lots of grippers both days - holds for time, had one hold with the right that seemed like an eternity. One hundred parallel closes changing hands as necessary.

Warm up for both days was plyo jumping and kettlebell swings - I'm really digging the plyos at the moment, high intensity. 150 kettlebell swings on Tuesday, 165 on Wednesday. I finished up both workouts with some finger lifting - my hands have felt great, even morning after - must have something to do with the hot/cold soaks before jumping in the shower.