Saturday, November 15, 2008

Working Out at the YMCA

I spent the afternoon at the Littleton Family YMCA today. I've been spending quite a bit of time there lately and trying out a lot of new exercises. I also finally feel I'm making some progress on my physical fitness goals.

One day I typically work chest, legs, shoulders, and biceps. The following day, I'll typically work shoulders, triceps, back, and abdominal muscles. This has been my typical routine since I lived in Japan, but with the extra time, I can be more complete and comprehensive, particularly with the chest. Since the last time I carefully expressed my goals, I've achieved some of them, while some are still eluding me.

The goals I've achieved since the last time I spoke of them are:
1. Slightly larger, more defined shoulders (although the increased definition is very slight).

2. I also set a goal to do 3 sets of 15 chin-ups/pull ups. I can now proudly say I've achieved this goal and am working toward 4 sets of 18, with varying arm positions. I've also started doing the "side to side" pullup. In this, you spread your arms further apart than your shoulders, and then bring your chin up to the right or left hand. You lower yourself down, then bring your chin to touch your hand, then alternate to the other hand. Supposedly this is a great way to get that, "V-shaped" torso. We'll see.

Still, some of my goals are now irrelevant and/or have eluded me.

So, I am officially reformulating my fitness goals below:

1. Maintain and further increase muscle definition in the shoulders/arms. I'm going to try working other exersizes into my routine to challenge my muscles in different ways. We'll see.

2. Decrease size of the waist and abdominal muscles and area while increasing definition. I'll do this three ways. First and foremost, I've begun emphasizing ab exercises more. MORE CRUNCHES! MORE VARIED EXERSIZES! Secondly, I've altered my diet a fair amount and will try to alter it to make it even more conducive to definition in the abs. Less fat, particularly ice cream and less carbohydrates, particularly at night. I've already done away with eating popcorn after dinner. Thirdly, I've changed the timing of my cardio exersizes. I'm going to try and get my run in early in the morning. I've recently read a study that showed running and exersizing in the morning will increase the metabolism and fat burning hormones and compounds throughout the day.

Last, I've begun taking CLA supplements, a dietary supplement shown to be vital to metabolizing fat.
3. Increase strength and muscle definition in the legs. This is one area I ignored quite a bit prior to coming to the YMCA in Littleton, so I've got quite a bit of catching up to do. Its easier for me to do it now, as I have more time, but we'll see what happens when I'm working full time again.

4. Prepare for another thru-hike of the Colorado Trail. That's right folks, I haven't given up on it yet, and in a few years I hope to be back with a vengeance! That trail will have nothing on me! I'm stating my plan below to achieve success:

A. My hardened bones will crush the dirt beneath my feet after a year of taking calcium supplements! Hopefully a daily supplement with Calcium and Vitamin D in conjunction with increased training will help increase bone density to help prevent the ankle problems that plagued me on the Colorado Trail. I'm also using the very popular glucosamine joint supplements regularly as well.

B. I've already started training my leg muscles during my weight training, something I've ignored for quite some time. This will hopefully help increase the stability and strength of my joints. My dad has reported that his knees feel much better since he's been doing lunges and squats. We'll see.

C. While I'm usually wary of fads, I'm guessing that's roundboard will help train and strengthen stability muscles in my ankles. I began using it weekly sometime after finishing the Colorado Trail and I'm getting better at it.

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