MAD + lifestyle = The Best Summer of Your Life

We keep talking about this ‘lifestyle’ thing.  We talk about what it means to us, what our lifestyles made up of, essentially, and how to connect all the pieces when it comes to what drives us forward. We spent last week in Charleston getting a few key things in order, doing some spring cleaning, and more than anything, getting all our ducks in a row to make sure that the lifestyle piece has the best opportunity to find it’s roots in the community as we close out year 1.

fuel sweat grow: MADcharleston Mount Pleasant

We happened to be there through Cardio Week – the most passionately loves and hated week of all, depending on how your lung capacity is.  Across all MAD locations, clients and friends commiserated with and encouraged each other through the sanding test of the previous three months, and it was awesome. Charleston, you impressed and pushed us through an amazing week, so THANK YOU.  And thanks to Donna and Tim for unintentionally defining the not-so-promoted lifestyle realities of Cardio week (relaxing low country afternoon, meet our friend, Advil).IMG_2464

With cardio week behind us, this week we’re getting back to the base (durability month), to strengthen us, and to propel us forward into our full cycles of the pace (momentum month) and then return to the race (anaerobic month). That’s where we build our strength, we sweat out stress, and push our bodies to function just a little better.  But that’s not the whole lifestyle – that’s a habit of passion, and the fitness side of things, and while it’s important it’s incomplete.

When we have new clients join our community, that’s kind of the hook — the sweating, the intensity, and the results.  The fitness piece is the starter that’s sparked by the diverse science that drives forward not only how we do our programming, but how we view fitness and health on the whole.  It’s about how you’re training your self: how you’re challenging your body and mind to push forward, to build strength, to increase endurance, and to know how to do so smartly, safely, and with balance.  The securing factor is community.  The connection, the interaction, and the full support of all members, that’s that keeps us growing — growing strong, not dilute.

The piece that completes us, and typically the final piece in the lifestyle for most of our clients, is food.  Food + Nutrition is the game changer.  It’s not something we pretend to be experts in, or something that is integral or forced from a membership perspective, but it’s truly the only way to overcome plateaus, increase energy, and complete the full cycle of the lifestyle.  It’s the maximizer of the group, and from what we’ve seen over the last few years, the thing that makes all the damn difference in the world.

fuel sweat grow: the whole damn thing

You can probably tell where I’m headed by this point…..because as we’re all headed straight into the sunny season (the bathing suit, beach all day, hanging by the pool and wanting to be active 24/7 season) we’re going to head towards local food, clean meals, and more conversation about completing this lifestyle.  Charleston, brace yourselves, The Whole Damn Thing is coming right at you….and soon.

This coming Monday we have MODpaleo heading over to MADabolic Cville for a little Meat & Greet / Taste Testing for their amazing pre-packaged meals that I’m so obsessed with.

fuel sweat grow: Meat and Greet MODpaleo

They’re truly the tastiest, cleanest, and most convenient meal options out there (at least in my life) and happily show up and deliver to all the places that I need in my life (that’s you Cville, Charlotte AND Charleston).

And Charleston (#MADcharleston if we’re being real), don’t worry, we did NOT forget you.  You’re about to get all up in the lifestyle with us  – even more – and we’re pretty pumped.  If you’re a planner, write this down: MODpaleo will be at MADabolic Mt. Pleasant on Monday May 4th from 6:15-8:15pm for a food sampling AND a little paleo fundamentals 101 talk at 7:30. You can count on more information coming your way soon, promise.

fuel sweat grow: MODpaleo

So, it’s all happening.  This is definitely the cliffs notes version, but I can tell you with all certainty, it’s all happening, and it’s going to be amazing.  Make sure you’re tuned in over the next week because ALL THE THINGS will be coming at you, and we could not be more pumped.

Advertisements

Easy at Home Workout: Barbell Circuit

Bug is pretty much summing up the ‘it’s been a long week’ sentiment that has been lingering in the air.  I’m not sure if last weekend just blended into the week, or if this week has been that non-stop, but I found myself being slightly jealous of her ability to throw down and nap, anywhere, anytime.  It’s an enviable skill.

tired bug

Since end-of-week workouts can be sort of blah when you’re drained, here’s one that I did with Dar last week for a quick and dirty garage gym workout that was felt for days.

circuit workout

This is a barbell workout, so anywhere you can find a 25lb, 35lb, or 45lb barbell, or just a really big stick (kidding!), you’ll be good to go.  While I love all the awesome toys that we have these days to make workouts more dynamic and varied (i.e. wall balls, medicine balls, bands, kettlebells, etc), sometimes it’s nice to keep things simple and just crank out a workout with one tool only.

barbells

This workout was TABATA style, 45 seconds on/15 seconds off, cycling through all the exercises and repeating the circuit for 4 full rounds. It did change a bit from how I wrote it out (note: ad-hoc arrows), so here’s how it works best:

1) composite rows: starting with the bar at/against your shins with feet hip width apart, and knees slightly bent. Drive through your heels to drive the bar straight up, standing tall, finishing with a high pull and returning all the way back down to the initial set-up and repeating the pull in a continuous cycle.  These are tough (essentially a narrowly set up sumo deadlift high pull, simulating the full body rowing motion). These were my nemesis circa 2002, thanks to Jim (GYM) Ferris.

2.  Back Squat: just what you think it is – standard back squat.  Feet about shoulder width apart, drive through your heels to keep your glutes and core engaged.  Since there’s no extra weight on the bar emphasize rhythm, sticking with a consistent speed and getting a full range of motion (hip crease drops below knee level). Think about pressing your knees out as you pull your hips towards your heels.

3. Push Press: Feet hip width apart, bar resting high on (in front of) shoulders.  Grip slightly wider than shoulder width, elbows in front (pointing at 45 degree angle), fingers wrapped around the bar.  Bend from hips and knees to initiate the dip, keeping your core engaged, drive through your heels to straighten your legs (and extend through hips). Finish by pressing the bar overhead right in line with your shoulders, hips and heels.  Just tilt your head back so the bar doesn’t hit you as you press it straight up to the ceiling (arms fully extended).

4. RDL : for this one you’ve got the bar in front, set up similar to the composite rows – feet hip width apart, slight bend in the knees, back straight (core engaged) and hinging from the waist.  The movement here is keeping your core engaged, weight in the heels, hinging forward until barbell comes to mid-shin, and standing straight up keeping the bar close to the body, and hinging back down to repeat.  This is one of my favorite moves of all time because it feel so good like a hamstring stretch while you’re doing it, but always leaves the glutes and hammies screaming the next day.

5. Front squat: Just like the back squat you’re keeping your weight in your heels and squatting until your hip crease is below knee level, but the bar is resting on the front rack position (on shoulders).  Arms are in front, elbows pointing forward and high, with the bar resting and balanced on your fingertips.  Unlike the back squat that emphasizes gluteal and hamstring work, this will light up your quads and tops of your thighs.

Like all interval workouts, the key here is really setting a consistent, and challenging pace.  If you push it during the work time, you are guaranteed to get your engines going.  If you just survive it, you’ll still be sore but you’re missing most of the benefit.

Give it a shot, and even modify whatever you’d like (time, weight, sequence) and let us know what works or doesn’t work for you.  We’re always playing with different combinations and love to change things up.

Happy Squatting!

Garage Workout + Some Kettlebell Moves

Last week Dar and I hit her garage gym on a particularly awesome (first day above 80) afternoon.  As you will soon start to figure out, we have very different preferences when it comes to designing our own workouts, but what that means for our purposes here is that you get two full circuits today instead of one.

My circuits are typically time based rather than chipper style, but I changed things up today to just give myself a little consistency.  I’m not a fan of counting on timed workouts, or timing counted ones (which is just one of many reason’s I don’t love CrossFit), but rather want to focus on consistency, length, and form.  Here’s what I settled on:

val workout

I’m really loving kettlebells right now so there are a few movements in this workout, balanced out with some really effective bodyweight movements that can be incredibly effective.  Step ups are always a good option for anyone, and any fitness level.  When I’m feeling good I’ll crank up the step ups to box jumps, but as I’m still recovering I happily rocked the step up.

The other bodyweight movement in here was an ad-hoc, chalk drawn agility drill that I called the ‘dot drill’ but drew with x’s on the driveway.  This seems like one of the most fun sections, but I assure you, it will fire up your quads before you know it.  Here are the basics:

Start in the center.

dot drill center

Jump feet forward onto front 2 x’s

dot drill front

Back to center:

dot drill center jump

Jump back:

dot drill back

Jump back to center, and that counts as one.

Staying in a low stance with bent knees and an engaged core help to make the movement most efficient, but as you can imagine, it cranks up the burn a bit.  It’s a good burn, so jump right into it!

If you want to scale the workout down I recommend taking the reps down to 20, and/or take it down to 4 rounds.

As I worked my way through the reps, Dar went with a little more aggressive circuit for herself, less reps and higher weight, all for time.

Dar WOD

 

Since Dar is pretty abbreviated with her descriptions, and skilled with her movements, here is some clarification:

  •  DU’s are double unders (when you jump rope and it makes two full revolutions around before your feet hit the ground again).  They can be challenging and definitely take a little practice, so if you’re not advanced with that skill, just triple the number and do single jumps.
  • Kettlebell snatches: these are a little more complicated, so Dar let me take pictures of her doing a couple so you can get the basics.  If you’re not experienced in kettlebells, you can (should) substitute in a dumbell snatch.

At any rate, here is what it looks like in action:

Dar KB swing

Dar Snatch

Dar KB snatch

Dar KB snatch

 

Dar KB snatch end

Again, the KB snatch is very difficult to learn and do correctly, so don’t try to do it without having a solid background of instructional training with kettlebells.

Both of our workouts were great, and left us happily sweating (and puffing) afterwards.  Since then we’ve done several more workouts we will share with you, including a simple barbell workout and the first bootcamp workout from yesterday that kicked off with 20+ campers.

Until then, I leave you with your moment of zen (aka one of Dar’s mobility stretches):

 

Dars moment of zen

 

 

An Anywhere Workout: AMRAP Style

Hey all, it’s Dar.

Last Sunday I kicked off my week by heading to Solidarity CrossFit for the “open gym” WOD (workout of the day).  I had missed the Saturday WOD, which was the kick off of the Whole Life Challenge that Solidarity was starting, so I took the opportunity to make it up with the Sunday group.

The WOD was an AMRAP (which breaks down to mean As Many Rounds as Possible).  It consisted of 5 Burpees, 10 Ab Mat Sit Ups and 15 Air Squats, for 12 minutes.    This is a great ‘anywhere’ workout that you can do it at home or if you are traveling and don’t have access to a gym.  I made it through in just under 12 rounds, which I was pretty happy with.

WLC wod

Around 2pm when I started to feel the air squats in my quads, I decided to give my bootcampers a chance at it on Monday.  Just to keep things interesting, I threw in a 500 meter, Erg (Rowing) test with only a few minutes of rest before starting the WOD.

Here’s what this WOD looks like – I challenge you to give it a go, and see how many rounds you can accomplish.  But first, here are a few suggestions:

  • Make sure you have someone or something to track your rounds – It’s too easy to lose count
  • If you don’t have an ab mat…just make sure you secure your feet and have your hands touch the ground behind your head and come up through your legs and touch your feet

I’m Dar. You Can Call Me, Coach Dar.

fitness blog - darWelcome to Fuel Sweat Grow, I’m Dar.  You can read the guts of my bio on the sweatworker page, but I wanted to share a little bit more of the personal side of me, and my passion for fitness.

I’m motivated by human interaction.  There’s nothing better than to work with an individual or a small group of people to motivate, educate and coach them to achieve their goals, feel better and even look better. I have strong convictions when it comes to fitness, but mostly this is based on years of trial and error, working with hundreds of individuals and experiencing first hand things that work, and things that don’t. I’m always working on my own fitness goals, welcoming new challenges, and trying to get a little stronger in my weaker areas.

I spent the last year trying to master double unders.  mission (mostly) accomplished.
I spent the last year trying to master double unders. mission (mostly) accomplished.

Any blogs or articles that I can find, I read, and I am always attending trainings and seminars to evolve with new methods.  I’ve done it all or at least tried it once.  Ok, that’s a lie – I never did step aerobics in the 80s and refuse to do any step class.  I never have done Zumba and you wouldn’t catch me in a Zumba work out.  It’s not because these workouts don’t work – it’s because I lack coordination and rhythm. Then again, I said I’d never take Pure Barre and as someone well on their way into the 100 class club, I should probably never say never.

The people are truly what make working in fitness so rewarding for me.  I love working with awesome people who are passionate and motivated in the same areas as I am, and are invested in building stronger and healthier lives.  It’s a very personal journey with each client, and I really value the personal relationships and connections that grow out of the shared experience. When my boot campers call me Coach Dar, I love it, but really, that’s just a bonus.

fitness blog - dar training
one of my favorite all-time WOD buddies

My contribution(s) to the blog will be focused greatly around the “Sweat” section, with a few guest appearances in the fuel pics.  My cooking has historically been boring to others and mainly features the same three ingredients on a steady rotation, but I’ve been working on my own personal ‘growth’ in the kitchen, so you never know, I may shock everyone with an amazing culinary masterpiece.

To wrap this up and keep in short, I’ve always been active.  My real personal fitness journey started in my college weight room back in the ‘80s, and I didn’t know just how much it would change my life.  I’m lucky and very fortunate to do what I love.  For a long time, fitness was something I did as a personal passion and interest, planned around my regularly scheduled ‘9-5’ life.  It wasn’t until recently, in the last five years, that I took that passion and transformed it into a lifestyle and career of working with others.

I’m excited to share my passion and sweats on the blog, and am so glad that you’ve clicked over to see what we’re up to.