Friday, July 31, 2009

Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day. It asks you, “Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?”

Peter Maher, a Canadian marathon runner once said that. It reminds me of a brief conversation I had in the gym locker room a few weeks back. I had just finished a tough run and was about to hit the shower. I said hello to another morning regular and asked him if he had a good workout. He said something to the effect of, 'Yeah, hopefully this running thing will get easier soon'. I knew that he hadn't been running very long, so I didn't want to squash his motivation. I simply replied with a casual, 'Yeah, I hear ya'. But, what I wanted to say was the truth. I wanted to tell him what really happens. I wanted to say, 'Hey buddy, this stuff never gets easy. If it's easy, then you are doing something wrong. You aren't pushing yourself.'...or something like that. I understood exactly what he was saying, but I don't like to ever hear the world 'easy' in the gym. Sure, I might have periods of easy running during a long run, but nothing about the full gym experience should ever be easy.

So, to my loyal Running on Ginnis readers I say this. Sweat it out, grunt it out, lift it out, run it out...whatever it takes. Every drop of sweat is another calorie burned. It's never easy, quick, or painless....if it was, everyone would be in shape. I certainly don't consider myself to be the perfect example of fitness, but I know that I am different from others because I enjoy the sweat and the pain. I don't ever want it to be easy. Sooner or later, some of us have to realize that we are not normal. Normal is sleeping in. Normal is going on vacation and not even thinking about working out. Normal is easy. Normal is weak. Like Peter Maher said, 'are you going to be strong today?'....well, are you?

EoW Report:
Monday - 5.5 miles, big chest
Tuesday - 7 miles, abs
Wednesday - 3.1 miles in the morning and about 2 in the evening, big back and lats
Thursday - 5 miles, light abs
Friday - pushup workout, curls, shoulder press, upward rows, tricep extensions
Saturday - looking forward to a nice long run in the morning!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Vacation '09 Pics

Our first steps in the Atlantic Ocean

Getting sand in places where the sun don't shine


Skylar swims with the fishes

Posing in Gatlinburg

Traci about to give Ty a bath

Standing guard

Vacation '09

Back from vacation! We had a blast at Myrtle Beach, SC. The trip started out a little rough....Gatlinburg, TN is quite an experience. No offense to any of my loyal readers, but I would describe Gatlinburg, TN as the place where carnies go when there are no carnivals. The kids loved the aquarium, but we were ready to leave shortly after we arrived. So, we changed our plans a bit and headed to Myrtle Beach a day early. We loved it...the weather, the hotel, it was perfect. I was able to get a few runs in along the experience that I will never forget.

In my previous life, I hated the beach. I hated everything about swimming. I pretty much hated anything that meant shirtless frolicking on a hot day. But, this time it was much different. For the first time ever, I really enjoyed the beach. I felt comfortable with myself. This might seem like a trivial and insignificant accomplishment to some, but for someone that has struggled with weight for his entire life....this was huge. People that have never had weight issues don't understand the emotional baggage that all of those fatty pounds carry with them. I was glad to finally have a vacation on the beach. I've got a long way to go still, but the future looks bright.

I very strongly believe that in order to make the fitness thing work, you have to make a lifestyle change. People keep asking me how I lost the weight...I usually tell them that I don't believe in diets, I believe in eating healthy and working your ass off in the gym. That's it. It's a simple plan, but it sure ain't easy. Several years ago I couldn't have cared less about the fitness center in the hotel or accessibility to running routes on vacation. Don't get me wrong, I didn't work as hard as I normally do while on fact, I've got a few pounds to shed as a result of some good food and limited exercise, but I didn't completely let go of my new lifestyle. I certainly saw glimpses of the former me, but a few pushups or a few miles on the beach reminded me of how far I've come. I always tell Traci that sometimes I feel like I'm one cupcake away from being the old Curt...I know, it's a little extreme, but it's always in the back of my mind as a reminder.

Vacation was a blast. But, now it's back to reality. I need to hit these next 3 weeks hard - limited carbs, extra miles, and solid strength training. Here we go!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

EoW Report

After last week's high mileage I decided to turn it down a bit this week. I had some pretty significant knee and leg pain last week, so I wanted to give it a bit of a rest this week. M-Th I got in 16.5 miles and then this morning I did a 4.5 mile run followed by some hardcore sprint work. The sprints are kicking my butt....but, I'm really hoping they help with my tone and endurance.

I've had a few folks ask me about my workout routine, so I thought I would take some time to explain my program. I am certainly no personal trainer, but so far my program seems to be working.

I probably do more cardio than I need to, but I've got the running bug and if I don't get a run, or some form of cardio, in then I don't feel like I've pushed myself enough. Most of my strength training sets consist of a rep pattern of 12,10,8,6,10 (adjusting the weight as I move along).

3 - 5 mile run

Chest: decline dumbbell bench press, incline dumbbell bench press, flat dumbbell bench press or seated press on the machine, cable fly with a pec deck burnout at the end.

5-6.5 mile run

Ab routine: exercise ball crunches (25), side bends w/ 45lb weight (20), 15 pushups, then repeat 2 more times for a total of 3 sets. Sometimes I'll do a flat plank for a minute before the pushups. I think I'm going to start hitting abs a bit more...need to mix it up.

3-5 mile run or elliptical machine (I always play Wednesdays by depends on how hard I ran on Monday & Tuesday...sometimes I won't do any running on Wednesday)

Back/Lats: Lat pull downs, dumbbell row, deadlifts (light weight, usually 4x10) with a reverse situp burn (holding a 25-35lb plate), close grip pull down, wide grip seated row (or sometimes I'll do a wide grip laying row), I'll finish up with an exercise that I got from Men's Health magazine called the standing face pull...there are lots of variations of it, but I use a rope attached to the cable machine. I grab the rope with both hands facing each other and then pull it to my face, extending both hands just past my ears. It's a good stretch and it's suppose to hit the lats and traps a bit more.

5-7 mile run

Abs: exercise ball crunches (3x25) and side bends with 45lb weight (3x20)

No cardio (REST!)

Fridays used to be a complete rest day for me, but I've recently started doing a pushup and arm routine that I like a lot. The pushup routine also came from Men's Health kicks my butt big time. I use a small platform that is around 3-6 inches off the ground. It goes like this:

1. One hand on the platform the other on the floor, do 10-12 pushups then switch to the other arm
2. Start with one hand on the platform, the other on the floor, do one pushup then as quick as you can switch to the other arm/hand on the platform and do another pushup. Do this 10 times
3. Form a diamond on the platform, touch your chest to the diamond, 10 pushups
4. Form a diamond on the platform, touch your chest to the diamond then push up as hard as you can so your arms land just outside of the platform, do a regular pushup, push up as hard as you can so your hands land back on the platform...this is one. I can do this about 5-6 times.

I've done these a couple of different ways....sometimes I'll do three sets of each before moving to the next pushup type, or I've also done 1-4 as one set...doing a total of 3 sets.

I follow this with light weight bicep curls (3x12), military press (3x10), upward rows (3x10), and then tricep extensions (3x10). Sometimes I'll do the curls separate and then other times I'll do all of the exercises together as one set, repeating 2 more times for a total of 3 sets.

I've been rotating my Saturday runs. It's usually the only time that I can get outside and run, so I love to take long runs. But, lately I've been trying to mix in some sprint work as well. So, one week I'll do a 10 mile run and then the next week I'll do a 3-4.5 mile run followed by sprints. For sprints I'll do a 40-50 yard spring, jog back to the starting point and then take off again. I'll do this 10 times. As I kicks my butt.

REST REST REST REST!!!! Get ready to start it all over again on Monday!!!

So there's my workout plan. I'm sure there's lot of room for improvement, but so far it has worked well for me. I usually try to be done with my strength training in about 35 minutes. It's probably about time for me to mix up the strength training a bit, so I'm starting to look for new ideas. Feel free to send any suggestions my way!

One thing to note....when I first started lifting I wasn't concerned about increasing the weight at all. I stuck with lower weights but higher reps (12-15). As I got more comfortable and started to see more results I increased the weight a bit and lowered the reps. This took several months....I wasn't concerned about being the strongest guy in the gym. But, once I started to see results I was even more motivated to push myself harder.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday Report

Monday: 6 miles (50 min), chest
Tuesday: 6.79 (60 min) miles, abs
Wednesday: back/lats, 15 min elliptical
Thursday: 6.85 miles (60 min), abs

Had a pretty good week...the higher mileage certainly had a negative impact on my energy level and appetite throughout the day though. I'll need to watch this in future high mileage weeks.

Looking forward to some golf followed by a good pushup/arms/shoulders workout tomorrow and then a nice 10 mile run on Saturday.

Happy Independence Day! Don't forget to think about the men and women in uniform that are serving away from their families on Saturday.