Friday, April 27, 2012

Mayday Makeover

The Mayday Makeover:  7 Weeks Till Summer

Thanks for dropping by readers, and a special welcome to the members of my Zumba classes who are testing this new fitness plan.

First of all, why am I creating the Mayday Makeover, and why should you want to try it?

Simple:  Summer is coming, and I want this to be the best Summer ever.

How can the Mayday Makeover help this happen?  I believe that physical well being is one of the foundation stones of a happy life, and this plan will focus your attention and effort on your health in a way that is fun, inspiring, and effective.  In the past I've written that the formula for permanent figure transformation is:

Eating plus movement over time

Starting May 1st. and for the following seven weeks, we're going to commit to finding a way of eating and moving that brings our physical bodies into alignment with what we believe will make us happy, vital, and productive.  I'm going to take a curious, lighthearted approach that leaves out stress, blame, and unreasonable expectations, and that encourages you to keep your menu satisfying, and your fitness enjoyable.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to do a fitness challenge that's all about feeling great while you follow it?  Let's do it, and may the results be beautiful.

Step one:  Get familiar with the training style.

A word or two on my attitude towards training.  I don't work out.  I refuse to work out.  Working out is a boring waste of time.  So what do we do instead?  Three Things:

Train, Practice, or Play.

Training is what we do in the gym, studio, or at home if you train there, when we are feeling well and going for progression.  In training we learn new exercises and techniques, or we increase the level of effort and difficulty for the exercises we already know.  In training we use self discipline and put forth effort for the pleasure of mastery.  Training is intense, and it can involve difficulty, but in my philosophy it never involves pain, and it never involves the deliberate pursuit of failure.

I am convinced that we can achieve amazing physical progress, and even prowess without going to failure- which I'll define as the point where you can no longer do a movement with excellent form.  I will grant the possibility that professional weight lifters and other fitness pros may need to go to failure to get to elite status, but we're after something different: Progress with Pleasure.

Is this really possible?  The point of the Mayday Makeover is to find out.

So here is the week one introductory training routine.  The idea is to become familiar with the movements and the demands of the exercises.  If these are too basic for your fitness level may I suggest any of the training regimens you can find over at Turbulence Training.  That wasn't a link, so Google Turbulence Training, and I'm sure you can find several 4 week programs to get you started.

Disclaimer time:  This blog is intended to give information and to entertain.  Check with your doctor before starting a fitness or nutrition program.  And see a certified personal trainer to learn safe, proper form when you exercise.

Week 1 Introductory Training  Routine

Warm Up:

8 Bodyweight Squats
8 Push Ups   (These can full body, kneeling, or using a sturdy counter or the wall, depending on your upper body strength.)
10 Stick Ups
8 Standing Cross Crawls Each Side.
Rest 30 seconds and repeat one time.

Superset #1
8 Push ups (Full, kneeling, or wall)
8 Prisoner Squats
Rest 30 seconds and repeat 1 time

Superset #2
10 Stick ups
10 standing Cross Crawls (each side)
Rest 30 seconds and repeat 1 time

Superset #3
30 Second Plank
30 second Hip Bridge
Rest 30 Seconds and repeat one time.

Easy intervals:
Walk at an easy pace for 5 minutes to warm up, then alternate 30 seconds of very brisk walking, with 30 seconds of easy pace walking for six rounds.  Cool down with two minutes of walking at an easy pace.

Suggested Stretches to Finish:

Side stretch:
Reach right arm  overhead and stretch to the left, hold for a slow count of 8, repeat on other side.

Standing Hamstring Stretch:
 Place flexed right heel on the floor in front of you, sit back with the hips and lean the upper torso forward until you feel the stretch in your right hamstring.  Hold for a slow count of 8, bring your feet together and roll up.  Repeat on the other side.

Calf Stretch:
Step back with the right foot, lunge gently forward on the left leg until you feel the stretch in the right calf.  Hold for a slow count of 8, and repeat on the other side.

Arm and shoulder stretch:
Lace your fingers behind your back, slowly straighten your arms and hold for 8 counts.  Relax the arms, then repeat.

A note on stretching:  I believe that flexibility is the "secret sauce" for a beautiful healthy physique.  The challenge is that it is much easier to demonstrate flexibility exercises than to describe them in writing!  I strongly recommend seeking personal instruction to create a flexibility practice.  Recent research indicates that stretching should be performed at the end of your fitness practice after the body is fully warmed up and your resistance training is done.

Please e-mail me at with any questions.

Tomorrow:  E is for Eating:  A post about finding your best nutritional philosophy.  I call it:
 "Serving the Food That Serves You."

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