Saturday, December 17, 2016

The 500 Workout Explained

Pic of the Day: YMCA
I didn't wake up this morning the way I imagined I would. Well, I didn't imagine I wouldn't wake up... I just pictured it differently. I didn't picture a dark, warm room, and I didn't imagine there'd be frozen rain falling from the sky; or was it snow?

I'm not one for extreme emotions so I didn't do any kind of freedom dance. In fact, I stuck very much to my wake-up ritual, sans the AM exercise, (AMX) and the doom and gloom reports about the economy collapsing and the truth about the geo-political climate in the planet.

There's a lot of newness in my life. It seems like it came suddenly, but it's been brewing for a while now. The only surprise was the laptop replacement. I am getting used to this Dell and slowly but surely logging in to my social networks and obligations from this "new device."

Of course I weighed in; 176 even, 14.4% body fat (less than 25 lbs of fat on the Bod) and 44.5% (78.3 lbs.) of muscle, according to my scale. That's a 3.09:1 ratio. That may not mean much to you yet, unless you've been following the Bajai Boot Camp 6 Sessions. Attaining and maintaining a 3:1 Muscle Mass to Body Fat ratio has been a goal of mine for two years. I figured I'd be able to meet that goal only after I managed to leave the gig. I'm sure it's just a coincidence. The biggest change I've made is a new 2 - 3 times a week workout I call the 500s. I snagged this name from the 300 workout from back in the day, when the movie "The 300" was released. I think that was around the time people started flipping tires and such.

Simply explained, I perform 100 reps of five exercises. They all target big muscle groups and all except one are combination exercises, which involve multiple joint movement. I think today was the fifth session. The theory is sound; although I'm sure I see any results in the mirror, the feedback I am getting from the scale is impressive. [At this point I hope the results continue, otherwise I will be very perplexed.]

Leg press type at the YMCA
So here's the set up. I give myself guidelines for these programs to help keep me honest and injury-free. Ideally I start with the leg press. The challenge is to do 30+ reps on the first set before I can increase the weight. Today I started with 360 lbs., and only got 20 reps. So next time I'll start with 360 lbs again. This way I can gauge my progress. Before today I'd add 90 lbs per set, however that was getting pretty hairy, so I half-stepped in a few sets. I was able to go from 360 lbs to 450 lbs., but had to stop at 500
lbs. before I took it 540. I maxed out at 720 lbs., but kept the safety pegs engaged.

I am a firm believer in legs day. People, especially men, neglect their legs to their detriment. There are quite a few men at the YMCA who are top heavy. They can bench incredible weights, but have no leg development. The way I see it, these gams got to keep me up and walking for a long time.

Next station is the bench press. I started out with the 45 lb. bar the first time out and today I advanced to 100 lbs. The guidelines are different here and for all the rest of the stations - maintain a steady weight and and push 100 reps in as few sets as possible. I don't count sets. I try to get 30 reps in the first set - I have not achieved that as of yet. I get carried away with adding weight, but now that I'm up to an even hundred I may be able to stick around there for a while.

The next station is a leg extension machine. I'm at a good weight, 130 lbs., I've been trying to increase the reps (18) today. I'll stay at this weight for a while.

Seated cable row is the same procedure, only today I realized I can change the grip to make the same weight more challenging as well as hit different muscles in the back. I think I'll explore that.

Cable Crunch
Finally, is a cable crunch. Only today I opted out of the cable... I am very close to racking the bricks on this one so I used a tension band, which provides a very different feeling and I expect a different result as well.

And that was that.

In case you want to try this here are a few items to keep in mind. #1) use lighter than usual weights, (if you're used to lifting weights). #2) This program is time consuming. Break times can range from 30 seconds to several minutes. Sometimes I can feel my heart rate spike (not to dangerous levels) and I have to wait for it to settle down before I do the next set. I also stretch a bit between sets. My main goal is to get 100 reps done and although I haven't had to resort to single rep sets, I think I would do it to complete the task. #3) This isn't a program to be performed daily, or every other day for that matter, (especially if you're just starting out.) This is a full body workout so you have to rest and repair your entire body before you go again, and that generally takes 48 hours. Two days break, I have found to be idea. Three days is too much. I took three days off once (due to circumstances) and I felt I lost the momentum.

Finally, despite the positive results I've gotten and the strength gains I've apparently made (lifting and pulling higher numbers) I find it boring, (but that's just me.) So I am considering doing something like this every so often over 30 days. If you maintain an every third day schedule you'll get ten workouts in. Thirty days is a good duration - you could probably even stretch it out to 90, but I've found that after three weeks, I start to lose any gains (or weight loss) I've achieved. So It's probably a good idea to go for thirty - do something light or fun or aerobic like walking, yoga or Zumba for a week or ten days and then get back into some kind of resistace training.

I will be experimenting with such strategies during the year (2017) and reporting back, either on You Tube,  Facebook (Minimum Wage Fitness), or right here.

Confession: This entry didn't really go the way I'd envisioned it, but it certainly went the way it needed to go. And with that, I bid you adieu.


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