Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Crow's Gym Thoughts: The Fifth Thirty

Crow's #Gym Vol. 121
One of my favorite things to tell people as it pertains to my own personal insanity is "There is a committee, a tribal council if you will, that meets in my head every three days to vote me off the island," and it is that very committee that is working the hardest against YOU when it comes to getting healthy. Sure you finally have that day when you tell yourself that you are going to go to the gym, you are going to exercise and you are going to diet, but you can't deny that there aren't a lot more voices in your head telling you not to bother. The secret is to drown out the noise and just get with it.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 122
Don't fear the gym. Don't fear anything for that matter. The average hater is a hater regardless of where you are, and for every dickhead at the gym there are 20 people who are cool and worthy of knowing. It is the same scene as work, school, the library or the grocery store. It takes a wide variety of people to make up the world, and that same percentage is going to be at the gym, just like all those other places. Smile, move on, and be happy that you aren't that person like the rest of us, but for the love of GOD don't let that very small minority of douche-bags keep you from getting your build on.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 123
How much time you spend at the gym doesn't always signal a great workout, but it might signal a bad ethic which leads to bad results. I personally dedicate two hours to the gym (between the time I leave the house to the time I get home) and on the days I don't have to get to work I will slow down a bit and add a few extra things extending it to about two and a half. Now I have been able to get a real good burn from an hour, but have learned that is often a fluke. If you really just aren't feeling it the next day when you lift, it's probably time to start thinking about time in general as well as the exercises you are doing.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 124
It's all about the next day isn't it? I mean I love really tearing it up at the gym, but the real joy of a good workout is the next day when all the muscles are sore, and I stretch and move in a way to aggravate them all that much more. If you aren't getting that then you just aren't working out hard enough, and need to fix that.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 125
You'd be surprised the things I learn because I blog. No seriously, I started keeping a health blog, so I started paying greater attention to what I was doing at the gym. I started paying greater attention to what I was doing at the gym, so I could blog about it, then I started taking pictures of myself to track the progress. That became a blog and a year later I have a years worth of progress evidence. Somewhere in there I started recording my exercises for those (like myself at one time) who don't get it, can figure it out. Then down the road I am making new videos of the same exercises I had already taken video of to show myself and others how much better I am at it. All it took was an investment of time, and some determination and I feel better, look better and better yet, I have proof for others who may need a little push. Most importantly I have all that proof for when I NEED a little push.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 126
Any day that you leave the gym and you know that you totally killed it is a great day, but if you ask most bodybuilders they will tell you that if you totally killed leg day then it is worth two of any other day. If I can barely walk on my way out of the gym on leg day, and I know that I left absolutely nothing on the table, I just want to walk around and brag to everyone about it. Oh yeah that's basically what I am doing now. Go kill it!

Crow's #Gym Vol. 127
That day when you pick up the sixty pound dumbbells and you remember when that is what it felt like to pick up the thirty pound dumbbells. Yeah that's what you are shooting for if you haven't been there yet. It still surprises me today but I always take a moment here and there to enjoy the victory.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 128
I now have a gym that I have been going to for about four years, almost every day and I have noticed something recently. I have officially outlasted everyone. The people who work there have changed over at least 10 times, the people that workout when I do have changed over at least that many, and of the very few that were there when I started going there I may see them once a month. Being observant of the people around you is good for one thing. It gives you an opportunity to pat yourself on the back, because you're doing great.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 129
Everyone loves a tragedy. If we didn't half the people on Facebook would have nothing to say, but unfortunately there comes a time when you have to be honest with people or they will only get worse. You have the people that cry about their marriage while you watch them not spend any time working on it or respecting the other person in it. You watch the fool that invests all their money in the stock market without spending any time watching trends. Do you give them pity or an objectivity lesson? What about the most common of all of these, the person who won't spend an hour doing any sort of exercise yet they are always complaining about being run down or overweight? Don't be an enabler, tell them the truth.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 130
The videos really do help. All these videos that I take of myself doing exercises, and then I put them on YouTube and make animated GIFs out of them, well they really are a good teaching tool. Even if nobody watches these things I watch these things, and I have learned more from watching version 1s and version 2s of my own videos than I could learn from volumes of books and magazines. I see my personal growth, my betterment of form, and I also get that self righteous feeling of just seeing how much better I am at both. If I were you (which I might have been at one time) I would break out that cell phone and record your routines every couple of months, to track progress. Who knows maybe you'll become a YouTube hit by accident!

Crow's #Gym Vol. 131
Contrary to what you may have heard, most injuries at the gym occur because of bad posture and form. As you can see in the animated GIF below, most exercises that involve low back movement I always have my hands in a position to steady my body in case something goes wrong. Back injuries in particular are nasty little devils and most of the time they happen suddenly and can only get worse from there. Simply by being able to steady yourself you can at the very least get yourself out of a situation that could be a lot worse. It doesn't hurt your piece of mind either.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 132
Ask around and you will find many different opinions on the advantages of getting older. Yes you heard me, getting older. Most people will tell you that your wealth of knowledge and the increase there is the main advantage, but physically there are advantages too if you look at it the right way. The youthful body is so quick to regenerate that often the muscular gains that you make are negated by youthful regeneration, while an older bodybuilder can get better gains working out less often. This doesn't mean that you work out less often it just means that you can separate body parts and have longer split cycles. What used to take 3 days to do the entire body becomes 4, later on in life 5 etc. How will you know when it is time to increase the split? You'll know when it becomes harder and harder to NOT feel pain in the muscle you are going to work, when you are on your way to work it.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 133
Where to start? If you're an intermediate bodybuilder you may be at the phase where you could actually do more than your body weight for all of your sets. In my opinion you should never do this. Some people will tell you differently, but ever since I was able to press more than 160, pull down more than 160 and squat more than 160, I never started there. The reason is because your warm-up set is about stretching, moving blood and making sure your form starts at a good point. I am way better at making sure if I keep the weight within my body's parameters. For those that keep up on my #SelfieSaturday project and the new videos, I will go a lot more in depth on this later today. Have a great one.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 134
My favorite day at the gym changes constantly and it really just has to do with which muscle group appears to be getting the best results at the time. Today is my back & shoulders day which currently is my least favorite so as I am writing this I am fighting off the urges to do a cardio day, or some other excuse not to work my back & shoulders. If you have read my thoughts for a while you know that back & have been my favorite at one time or another, and currently legs & core are my favorite and EVERYONE has hated those at one time or another. The trick is to remember the most important thing to tell yourself. Shut the f*** up and do it!

Crow's #Gym Vol. 135
My need to create content has become my greatest ally in the art of body sculpting. I spend more time looking into new exercises so that I can make new videos to have new content, then I do them and guess what? I have new burns to keep my muscles stimulated. Now I would never tell anyone to completely change up what they are doing, but simply adding a new exercise and removing one every week I have accidentally come across something that has been not only keeping the furnace stoked, but the muscles confused and growing.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 136
The completely off day. I neither hate it nor love it, it is just simply part of the plan. That one day when I do no bodybuilding at all (most people would call it Wednesday) just happens to coincide with the day that I go into work two hours early. It wasn't until I was forced to not go to the gym that one day a week (and about a year) for me to realize that I need it. No weights, no zippy drink, no after workout cocktails. When I step on the scale that morning I am actually four pounds lighter than the day before or the day after. It's cleanses and refreshes me so that for the next six days I can get my #hulksmash on. I still hate admitting that.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 137
The "After Workout" is something that has been debated for decades. The first time I actually remember reading about the "after workout" diet was from Franco Columbu and I was like seven years old, but you know what is funny? Things really haven't changes that much in almost 40 years. Within an hour or so after working out you need about 40 to 50 grams of protein and about 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrates and both of them need to be quickly absorbed. This is where you are lucky to be alive today. A couple of scoops of whey protein and a scoop or two of maltodextrin or waxy maize in a sports bottle, does the trick perfectly. That definitely beats the old days.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 138
The argument about what you eat and how you eat, has been fought for years. Some people have proven that the amount of calories is what matters and others have argued that it is the types of foods you eat. All I know is that the results are what I am looking for. As a bodybuilder, weight lifter, body sculpter etc, the object is to get the desired results and to do that you need more protein than carbs. If you want a six pack, you need less fat than protein, and if you want to feel good about yourself you should at least keep half assed track of these things.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 139
The differences in the type of pain you feel after a workout should be noted and understood. Sharp pains denote an injury and lingering or burning aches denote muscles have been worked and are now rebuilding. More important is to understand that the burning or even aching pain that you feel in specific muscles that you worked the next day is a good thing, while sharp pains in your joints are something that should be avoided, or looked into by a trainer or physician. It's ok to feel pain as long as you know the pain you should be feeling.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 140
As I had brought up yesterday in my #SeflieSaturday Project Journal, you have to have certain days where you know you have extra time and you are going to take everything slow and measured. In a perfect world every workout day would be slow and measured, but lets face it life happens and a three hour gym visit rarely fits into everyday life. I assure you though if you can fit one in every once in a while you should because it will make all the difference in the world. By difference I mean the difference between someone who goes to the gym and someone who bodybuilds.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 141
I make no secret that I prefer to get up in the morning and drive to the gym and workout there. I know some people that get a good workout at home, but I know a lot more that fail when they don't have the drive to go get that workout. There is more commitment to getting up and going to the gym while at the same time less commitment because there is a much wider variety in what you can do. In any regard, you need to work out, for the sake of your health. Knowing that I will be getting out of the house and going somewhere other than work for a couple of hours each day, is my sake of sanity too.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 142
The good, the not so good, the bad and the horrible. That would be the title of my workout book should I ever write it. Like anyone else, I have good advice, bad advice and sometimes advice that becomes silly. This goes for almost anyone, and just because I can do something at the gym doesn't mean everyone else can. The important thing to do is try as many things as your body will allow and then figure out the things that work best for you. It's actually very little effort for the greatest rewards.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 143
Do you make friends at the gym? I know some people who like to just charge into the gym, get their thing done, and get out. I also know those that like to go in socialize and hardly get anything done. I on the other hand like to know everyone's name, give everyone a smile and say "Good Morning" for a very selfish reason actually. I remember the days when I was not so loyal to getting my workout on every day. Hardly anyone knew me and it made it a lot easier to just skip days. Now that everyone knows me, it really does make me not want to have people looking at me thinking "Where has he been?" It works on that very rare occasion that I am feeling lazy. Give it a try!

Crow's #Gym Vol. 144
Admitting defeat is very hard for someone who things they know everything, namely myself, but I am sure there are plenty of other people out there that just want to be the bull in the china shop forever. Just this week I finally decided I can no longer do a 3 - 3 - 1 split because I was going from leg day to leg day in pain with no day of "ahhh no pain." That simple move of going to a 3 - 1 actually did change everything. I actually give my legs time to heal before I go after them again. It isn't easy getting older, but as I said before, your workouts can get a bit easier and you'll still do great!

Crow's #Gym Vol. 145
Remember how badly you wanted to sit at the adult table when you were a kid only to find out that it wasn't as fun as the kids table? This is an analogy for ALL of life, and it also pertains to the gym. There just comes a time when people notice you, then some of them will talk to you, and quite a few will start offering advice. Most of these people are genuinely helpful and a few of them are not, they just want to mask a criticism in what appears to be a helpful tidbit. Makes them fell better about themselves for whatever reason. It isn't easy but you have to realize who these people are so you can smile, thank them and then completely forget what they just said. Do it for your own sanity, trust me.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 146
Not every week at the gym is going to be an impressive gains week. Sorry, it just doesn't work that way, there will be weeks that aren't that impressive. The good news is it takes all of those mediocre weeks to make the spectacular weeks all that much better, More important than that if every week isn't spectacular you can take solace in the fact that you aren't also doing what it takes to injure yourself,

Crow's #Gym Vol. 147
Symmetry ~ the quality of being made up of exactly similar parts facing each other or around an axis. Despite all efforts to get HUGE this is the real goal of bodybuilding. The need to look symmetrical fuels it all. The hardest thing to do is get huge, out of balance and then work on symmetry. There have been many pro bodybuilders even that have been unable to get the balance necessary to win at the highest levels, so to that end it is better to keep symmetry in mind during the entire building process. Use some dumbbell and cable exercises along with your heavy bar exercises to make sure that both sides of your body are always on the same level.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 148
One of the hardest parts of trying to help someone else get healthier is getting them beyond all the wrong things they have been taught and in turn memorized. It's a human trait to believe the wrong things for as long as we possibly can. Health enthusiasts, bodybuilders, etc understand that you can't starve yourself skinny, and you can't make any one part of your body smaller. It's important to realize what is out of balance to make something else look that much worse. For example, I used to have the world's worst love handles, which were accentuated by the world's flattest ass. Squats and deadlifts took care of the love handles, no it didn't shrink them it just gave me glutes to dwarf what I thought were love handles. Now go out there and figure it out folks.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 149
As we wind our way to New Years, because the count is on after Thanksgiving is over, are you waiting to make a healthy resolution? Have you continued your healthy resolution from last year? The fact of the matter is that health, wellness and feeling better about yourself is a daily thing. If you hadn't started it yesterday then you need to start it today. If you need special days and incentives, you may never be able to do it. The only day you have is today and today is as good as any to make the commitment to a better you.

Crow's #Gym Vol. 150
I think I did enough bragging yesterday about the completely killer leg day I had, but there is something a lot more important to remember when you have a killer workout, it helps the muscles that you didn't work too. I mean my killer leg day followed a totally killer back and shoulder day, and every single squat made my lats and my traps rage along with my quads and my glutes. Why is this? Well because your body escalates hormones that don't just go to the area that is being worked out, but are also distributed around the body. Have a great workout now and then and all those crappy lazy ass workouts you surround it by will cut into whatever gains you made on the good days. Make damn sure that EVERY day is the best workout day you can have.