Hello, everyone, and welcome to the second post of the Fitness Llama blog. Today’s topics are the Fitness Llama’s physical condition and the workout program. So here are my “before photos” that I took a couple weeks ago, a day or two before starting my program. Nothing too spectacular to see, but I suppose that’s how all before pictures generally are.
As for my physical condition, my official program start date was somewhere around September 30th or 31st, and when I began I could comfortably do about 10 pushups 4 pullups, and maybe 10 crunches or so. In the past when I used freeweights and such, I was lifting dumbells around the 5-8 lbs range. Since then I have not noticed much difference in physique, but I have noticed a slight increase in strength, as well as a large increase in energy throughout the day.
I’ve chosen to try out bodyweight training. This is the kind of stuff gymnasts do, wherein you manipulate your own body weight in motion to create weight resistance rather than lifting traditional weights. The program I picked comes from a book, called You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren. It is essentially an encyclopedia that features over 100 bodyweight exercises with a wide range in difficulty, and along with it comes the author’s personally designed comprehensive workout program you can follow. Lauren also teaches how to design your own program if you do not feel like following his. Right now I’m following one of his 10 week planned workout schedules he provides in the book. I chose this bodyweight program over a commercialized program like P90X or simply doing traditional weights for a number of reasons:
1. Of all the bodyweight training books out there, You Are Your Own Gym has the best reviews for being comprehensive, as well as containing a balanced variety of exercises suitable for any experience level.
2. I greatly appreciate that this program does not try to push all sorts of expensive nutrition supplements at you like P90X does, claiming that you won’t get the sort of results you want if you don’t use them. Mark Lauren makes it clear that you don’t need them if you are eating correctly. That makes this program to me a breath of fresh air from all the super commercialized ones available from sites like Beachbody.com.
3. P90X may be great, but it still costs $119 for the dvd’s and then some for all the required equipment. I paid $15 on Amazon for Mark Lauren’s book. Enough said.
4. Lastly, bodyweight training allows you to work out pretty much anywhere since there is no need for equipment, so there is no excuse for not doing a workout.
So here’s what my workout routine for the past few weeks following the program has been. I workout 4 days a week for 30 min each session. The first two weeks are meant to be high in reps, but low impact, which is achieved by doing each exercise for 7.5 minutes in the form of pyramids. With pyramids, you do one rep, and then rest for one second. Then you do two reps, and rest for two seconds, three reps with three seconds of rest and so on. You go up in reps to a chosen number, mine is currently six, and then you work your way back down to one. If you complete a pyramid before the time is up, you just start a new one. The exercises for these two weeks have been things like pushups, squats, side crunches, lunges, etc. Some of the exercises are really creative, like one called Let Me Ins, where you place your legs on either side of the door, bend your knees and pull yourself up to the door while holding onto the door knobs. I took a picture of me doing this one(staged in this instance, of course) to give an idea of what it looks like.
So far I’ve been pretty happy with the workouts. They are short, typically 20-30 min in length and rather intense. The day after my first workout I felt like I had been hit by a train, which is to be expected, but I discovered that a 20 min stretch session after the workout significantly reduces the onset of severe soreness the next day. In general, I am quite happy with how things are going so far.
Thanks for reading, and check back soon for my next post!
Until then, Wiederschauen!
Ben Sexton, aka Fitness Llama
Upcoming post: What does the blog title mean?