Welcome to October, or “Rocktober” as every cheesy FM rock station in the country says. We are now in the last quarter of the year, the last leg of the race. I think it is vitally important to finish what you started. It’s human nature to step off the gas. People will work hard, get to a point and stop. The person who is locked in going to the gym, just stops. The person who loses 20 lbs. stops being focused and gains the weight back plus more. The person who crushes it in sales, all of a sudden shuts it down. We are all guilty of this. Think of a road race. Should you have that extra kick/sprint in the end or should your effort be consistent throughout the whole race that you don’t have the energy to kick. I think the latter is optimal, but not sustainable. You can’t go balls out in the gym all the time. You can’t starve yourself dieting nor should you. There is only so much willpower a person can possess. So the key is to not have the peaks and valleys so steep. A consistent effort that goes in waves but lacks extremes. Some weeks your diet will be better, some weeks the workouts will be better. Form good habits. If you make it to the gym, you’re already ahead. If you only have dessert once or twice a week you’re ahead. For example, the last three months of the year are full of peaks and valleys. How should you attack them?
October: If you haven’t started your fitness kick, get started. The month of October is a great month to start good habits by starting to clean up your diet and exercising. Weather is nice in most parts of the country. Hikes, runs, sprints, playing outdoors. Do your workouts outside. Bring a kettlebell to a field. Go to the playground and knock out some dips and pullups while your kids play. Shoot hoops outside. The only pothole you have in October is Halloween. And you know what? When your kids bring home the Snickers, Twix, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, have some. Have 5 or 6. Get it out of your system all in one day. Just don’t do it the next day. You should have a cheat day once a week anyway. This re-stimulates leptin production. You plateau on a diet because your leptin production adjusts to your diet.
November: The weather is getting worse. Here in the Blackstone Valley, it’s the ugliest month of the year. Brown leaves fallen, rains, 40 degree weather. Death. You are more likely to have fewer nice days to be outside. The house is cold in the morning and it’s tougher to get out of bed and get to the gym. If you don’t have a garage, you have to start the car and defrost it. This is where you have to make more of an effort. The variety of things to do has lessened. Just tell yourself it’s only three weeks. You have to hit it hard, you have to really watch your diet. Because the arrival of Fat Season will be upon us. Thanksgiving and Christmas. Big feasts, Christmas parties, high school and hometown reunions. Lots of eating, drinking and being merry. Enjoy it. The consistent effort of diet and exercise of the previous 7 weeks will pay off. You will have developed the mind set of “I’ll have it but I’ve worked too hard and am not going overboard.”
December: Yuletide Season Thanksgiving segues right into Christmas. Between social, shopping and family obligations, getting to the gym will be challenging. The average person puts on 5-7 lbs. between Christmas and Thanksgiving. Here’s what the goals should be. Diet. Be good 5 out of 7 days, ideally. 4 out of 7 is good too. Fast once or twice a week for 24 hours. Preferably twice, but at least once. If you can do a 40 hour fast, go for it, but only once a week. When you are at the gym, put the extra calories to good use. Three days a week, heavy and intense. By the end of the year, you shouldn’t have to make the resolution of losing 15 lbs.
Finishing strong means not letting the obstacles of the last quarter get in the way of the goals you’ve been working to attain. Maybe you make some other changes in your life. Do you really need a glass of wine or two every day? If you are too tired, go to bed an hour earlier so you can get up to workout. The worst excuse in the world is “I don’t have time.” Everyone has 15 minutes. Lousy weather? No weights at home? Can’t get to the gym? 100 burpees. A circuit of pushups, jumping jacks and body squats. Jump Rope for 20 minutes. While you are watching TV, do an exercise in between commercials. You owe it to yourself.
Currently I’m in my second week of Escalating Density Training.
Monday and Thursday
Dead lifts and Squats: 5 x 5 with the last set rep out
EDT 20 Minute PR Zone
Bench Press Alternated with Neutral Grip Pullups
I love EDT, but it’s challenging. You are always fighting that clock. For Squats and Dead lifts 4 sets x 5 1 set x 8 (did 265 this week, adding 10 lbs to the cycle each week) Then I set the clock for 20 minutes and alternate between bench press with 165 lbs. and neutral grip pullups. I start with sets of 5 or 6 and decrease the reps as I get fatigued. For the bench this week I got 50 reps, pullups 44. Pullups are brutal when you are doing sets every minute. The goal is to get one more rep than the last session. So on Thursday, I need 51 and 45. There is a lot of strategy involved. Do I do more reps at the beginning or more sets with low reps? I think the latter is easier because you don’t burn out.
Tuesday and Friday
PR Zone 1 20 minutes
Double Kettlebell Military Press alternated with Double Rows
PR Zone 2 15 minutes
Double Kettlebell Reverse Lunges alternated with One Arm Snatch, Left and Right
How much weight should you use? Charles Staley, the creator of EDT says you should take a weight that you can do for 10 reps and do sets of 3-5 reps. I decided to put my ego in the shed in my back yard and use double 55′s for kettlebells instead of double 70′s. Today I banged out 60 reps in 20 minutes for the military press and rows. Rested 5 minutes and for PR Zone 2 did Double 55 reverse lunges, alternated with one arm snatch. Hold the kettlebells in the rack while doing the lunges. Did 26 lunges for each leg and 34 snatches for each arm. Heart rate was 190 when it was over. How is that for cardio? I was doing some double windmills at the end but shelved it. It bothers my back near the hip bone.
Saturday 88 lb. kettlebell
6 ladders of
Two hand swings 10, 15, 25 One Goblet Squat, One Push Press Left, Right and One Row Left, Right after each rung of swings
I’m probably over doing it but, on Saturdays and Sundays, I’ve been playing with my 88 lb. kettlebell. Dan John had laid out a template of doing swings in ladders of 10/15/25. Following each with a goblet squat a press and a row. So on Saturdays, 2 hand swings in ladders of 10/15/25. One goblet squat. One clean and push press on each arm and one row. I am so close to getting the press with the 88 on the left side. About 90% of the way there. It’s getting it out of the rack. Once I get it moving, I’m able to press it. Probably 85% on the right side. This is a killer workout! Dan also laid out a great article in T-Nation for the 10000 swing workout with this ladder template. I’m passing on that one for now. I’ve done 18 rungs of this ladder which comes out to 300 swings, 18 squats and 18 presses and rows on each side. The biggest issue I have is once my hands start sweating, continuously chalking my hands so my cleans are crisp and I don’t lose the handle. I know how my press is going to be just from the clean. If the handle is deep in my hand and the arc on the clean is tamed, it’s going up. If it is sloppy, my press will struggle.
Sunday 88 lb. kettlebell
Turkish Getups 5 Left, 5 Right, alternating each rep
Racked Squat. 3 sets of 5 Left, 5 Right
One Arm Rows 3 sets of 5 Left, 5 Right
One Arm Swings Rest to the top of each minute 10 Left, 10 Right until I quit.
On Sundays, I do 5 Turkish Get Ups on each side with the 88. Then I do racked squats on each side. 3 sets of 5 left and right. This is a fantastic abs workout. Holding a heavy bell in the rack is no joke. Really works the obliques. Then I do one arm rows 3 sets of 5 and then one arm swings of 10 each side resting to the top of the minute until I can’t anymore. Right now that’s at 7 sets. One of my next cycles is going to be working with just the 88, 4 days a week. It is a muscle builder to say the least. When I’m done using it, I’m pretty beaten up in a good way.
I want to keep the momentum of September going into the last quarter. Professionally, I killed it. Had my best sales month of the year with a good pipeline into Rocktober :).My diet has been locked in. I put on some muscle and stripped some fat. Hanging at 186.6. Had my physical today and the doctor told me I’m a picture of health. I’m hitting my PR’s on EDT in the gym. Personally, I’m continuing to be grateful and enjoying what I have.
I also plan on it being Octsober as well. I went on the wagon after vacation on the Cape in August. Wanted to be sharper, more focused and feel better. I rarely drank on the weekday, but enjoyed my weekend cocktails. But at the end of vacation, I Just lost the taste for it and decided hangovers, sluggishness and anxiety were things I didn’t need in my life. Haven’t had anything in about 6 weeks and don’t miss it. For me, I liked how I felt relaxed and the ritual. I’ve never been one of those wine guys. To me every cabernet tastes the same. I took my wife to the wine expo in Boston a couple of times. Had a great time, but once the taste buds were numbed by all the tastings, besides my buzz all I had to show for it was purple/gray teeth. Beer is okay, but I’m not one to rip back a 6 pack unless I’m at a tailgate I get too bloated. Gin and Tonic is my favorite drink off the beach or on a hot day, but after the second tastes like dish soap. I love scotch and this month my dear friend from Naples sent me a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black as a token of appreciation for a business referral. But, I wasn’t even tempted to open it. The problem with scotch is the best one is the second one. Then you have a decision to make after you finish it. Go for the triple? The decision is easy if you don’t have the first.
If you are thinking of going on the wagon, just do it. Try one month. The hardest part is the first weekend. You can drink soda at a party or pound water. Did you need alcohol when you were a little kid at a birthday party to have fun? I’m a strong believer in channeling your inner child in life, you’ll be a lot happier. You’ll save a lot of money. Went out to dinner Friday night, saved about $20 on the bill by drinking Coke. Went to a bar to see a band Saturday night, saved $15-$20 by drinking ginger ales. Less full after weekend dinner. Sleep better and wake up without queasiness, cotton mouth or a headache. Contrary to popular belief, I’m pretty entertaining and funny even without booze. My waist is thinner, but I haven’t lost weight. My children are also at the age where they don’t need to see Daddy with a happy glass in his hand. For me it works. The only thing I can complain about these days is I’ve had to wear my 16 year old glasses while healing my eyes and getting refitted with hard contacts. If you find any typos, forgive me as this screen is at 150%. The tough play hurt and what I have can’t be taught! Anyway too many good things have happened in the last month without it. Wasted time, literally. Cheerio