How to Make ANy Exercise More Difficult

November 15, 2019

 

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HOW TO MAKE ANY EXERCISE MORE DIFFICULT. There are many ways to make any exercise more challenging without adding more weight or doing more reps. Today I offer one such technique. It involves manipulating the tempo (speed). In other words, purposely moving faster and/or slower. It could also involve some deliberate pauses, often called isometrics. This can be a very useful tool. There may come a time when you want more from an exercise or a piece of equipment. If so, try some new options before adding weight or reps. With that said, it’s important to note that there is no magical rep range for the average person. That means that there might not be a huge difference if do 5 reps, 8 reps, 12reps, 15reps, 50reps, 100reps, etc of certain exercises. The magic is found in the effort. 100 reps done sh*tty is of little value. 3 reps done with smooth form and a ton of intensity may in fact be worth more. It’s always about the quality not the quantity. Find creative ways to get more out of any exercise by demanding more from your own body. Do more with less. The power is within. #tempotraining #trainingvariables #isometricexercise #austinpersonaltrainer #austinpersonaltraining #blueskystrongbox

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The 3 Major Kettlebell Exercises

November 1, 2019

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THE 3 BIG KETTLEBELL EXERCISES. You should first know that you don’t actually “need” any equipment for strengthening the body. Our own body weight is enough. However, equipment can make things a bit more fun and challenging. My favorite piece of equipment is a single Kettlebell. In fact, this is what I use most often and have for the better part of a decade. There are many exercises that can be done using a single Kettlebell. However, there are 3 big ones that I see as essential. 1) Swing 2) Goblet Squat 3) Turkish Getup. In fact, these 3 make up the main components of the HKC Certification (Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge). I use some version of these with almost every client I work with and have for many years. These may look easy but regular practice is absolutely essential to get the most from them and prevent injury. Kettlebells may not be for everyone but you’ll never know if you never try. If you do decide to give it a go, start slow and light. Build stronger over time. Perfect form and smooth-graceful movement should always be the goal. #kettlebells #austinpersonaltrainer #austinpersonaltraining #blueskystrongbox

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Minimalistic Dumbbell Workout

October 25, 2019

 

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MINIMALISTIC DUMBBELL WORKOUT. This works the entire body using only 1 dumbbell and 2 exercises. It’s simple and effective. The key is to challenge yourself while making sure your form on each movement is smooth and correct. I promise you…long workouts are not needed. Most adults are busy. The number one excuse for not exercising is a lack of time. There is no excuse why you can’t do this (or something very similar if modified for an injury or limitation). Make it all matter. Aim for 5-12 reps on both exercises, done for 2-5 rounds, 1-3 times each week. Don’t be scared to challenge yourself. #minimalisticworkout #1dumbbellworkout #austinpersonaltrainer #austinpersonaltraining #austinfitness #austintexas #blueskystrongbox

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Strength Training requires at least 3 Exercises

October 15, 2019

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EVERY ADULT NEEDS TO DO STRENGTH TRAINING AT LEAST 1 DAY A WEEK. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Workouts don’t need to be longer than 30-45minutes max. 5-10minutes of a really good exercise done really well could do the trick (think Deadlift, Heavy carries, Kettlebell Swings, Heavy Squats, Turkish Getup, Squat to Row). For health, 1 workout a week can work. For health and to look better, 2-3 days a week is better. Oh yeah, don’t forget Diet, which is THE most important factor in approving appearance. You can never out-exercise a bad diet and too many liquid calories. How many exercises, and which ones? Regardless of how often you Strength Train, each workout must include a Lower Body Leg/Hip Exercise, an Upper Body Push and an Upper Body Pull. There are a ton of choices. Keep it simple. You can do more but I would limit it to a total of 6 exercises. Try to find exercises that involve the entire body while targeting the specific areas I just mentioned. How many sets and reps? I personally like 2-3 sets per exercise. For reps, l like 15 reps some days, 10 reps on other days and a heavy 5 reps on days I feel rested. Any rep range will work so long as you challenge yourself without beating yourself up or allowing form to degrade. Variety is nice. The secret to getting results is NOT missing workouts, walking a lot each day, proper rest and above average diet/nutrition. Never forget that. Get to it! #blueskystrongbox #strengthtrainingathome #strengthtraining #resistancetraining #austinpersonaltrainer #austinpersonaltraining #blueskystrongbox #johntylerhighschool #cujonation

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Seek Balance of the BIG 3: Flexibility-Strength-Stamina

August 30, 2019

 

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There are many reasons why exercise is important. All you need to know is that thus is a fact. So do it and keep doing it. Don’t stop, can’t stop, won’t stop (hopefully). But if you are gonna go to all that effort to move and exercise regularly, why not do it right? There are 3 BIG areas that I desperately believe need balance and dedicated attention: 1) Strength 2) Flexibility 3) Stamina. In general, it does little good to excel in one area if lagging in one or both of the others. Unfortunately, this is too often the case. We all know someone that fits the bill. I was once one of them. You may be right now as well. If so, its ok. Why not do something about it? It helps to think of each of these 3 areas in terms of an empty glass that needs filling (or a bucket-thanks Mike Boyle). If any one glass is low, then fill it up. Don’t let it stay low forever. If any one area starts to overflow, just pull back. Seek balance for each glass. It’s sad to see really strong people that can’t touch their toes or get tired walking up stairs; or the Yogi who struggles to lift something relatively heavy or the runner who’s strength, flexibility and posture are so bad, they struggle to understand how they keep getting injured year after year running. Balance is key. This could apply to anything. Keep in mind, there are other areas that might need attention. These are just what I consider my big 3. (I like limiting most ideas to 3 for simplicity.) The main idea is to always master the basics, the “big fundamentals”, first! #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox #heathandwellbeing #StrengthFlexibilityStamina #austinpersonaltrainer #austinpersonaltraining

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A sample of my own Workouts…

February 15, 2019

 

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I’ve had a few people ask about my own personal workouts lately. So today I filmed exactly what I did WHILE I was in the middle of it. I’m only showing this to illustrate an example of an effective, yet simple workout for an intermediate/advanced trainee. This entire workout took 30minutes and was completed during an hour break I had this morning, which gave me enough time to exercise+shower+eat. It’s nothing too fancy. I am only showing ONE rep examples of each exercise. Yes, I did more reps and sets. Yes, I did rest between most sets. I normally do only 2-3 sets for any exercise. I typically do 5-10 reps on most of my exercises, which is exactly what I did today. Some days I do more, some days I do less. I rest between sets long enough to feel like I’m in control before starting the next set or exercise (and not the other way around). Being too out of breath or to hurried begs for mistakes and injuries. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Today I supersetted Kettlebell Swings with Goblet Squats and Single Leg Deadlifts + Pull-ups w 1-arm holds and Upside Down Rows. On the next (last) round, I supersetted Dips + Handstand 1-arm Stability Holds. Yes, I even had some Cajun music 🎶 on for company. Do things YOU enjoy and understand. Have a reason for everything you do or don’t do. Don’t just do stuff because it’s popular or someone else is doing it. Nothing you to needs to be complicated. In fact, purposely keep things simple. Don’t do things you absolutely hate or dread either. Because how long do you think you’ll keep that up?! With that said, don’t skip the things you NEED to do to be better. Most importantly, whatever you do, just make sure it’s repeatable. #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox #carltonsmixtapegumbo #carltonmusicatx

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The Best Affordable piece of Exercise Equipment

September 26, 2018

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For those that prefer to exercise at home or while traveling, the best and most affordable option for strength-training equipment (besides your own body-weight) are Resistance Bands, aka Exercise Bands, Tubing Bands, etc. Basically, they’re nothing more than big strong rubber bands with handles on each end. Prices, brands, sizes and what they call them will vary greatly. My favorite are the “First Place Travel Bands” from the online company @perform_better. They include a door hanger, come in a Light, Medium or Heavy thickness, and currently cost $18.95 usd (I make no money telling you this.) They are superb for working the Upper Body. There are many exercises you can do with them. I recommend starting with the two exercises I demonstrate in the video above, which is a Horizontal Press and a Horizontal Row. Just make sure to attach them somewhere safely and correctly. Start slow, perfect your form, build strong. From time to time, inspect each band for any cuts or worn-out areas that may tear while using. Replace as needed. The thickness is important, because this determines how difficult they will be when stretched during use. Typically they range in thickness by colors. Different companies use different colors to represent how difficult they are. Some may be too easy, some may be too difficult. You will need to experiment. You should be able to do a minimum of 5-10 perfect reps with whatever size you choose. I do use these regularly myself and in fact used them exclusively for an entire year to train my upper body when I was age 31. Combined with a complimentary diet (and complimentary sleep), I became the leanest and most muscular I’ve ever been. I weighed almost 15 pounds heavier than I do now, mostly lean muscle (I did also squat heavy often using barbells, etc which made my hips and legs grow more muscular but also heavier). However, it did prove to be much more work than I would ever want to do again, especially eating enough healthy calories to support more muscle mass. My point though, Resistance Bands are a great option for doing upper body strength work. I’m always here if you have any questions! #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox

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New Weekly Health & Fitness Video Tipz! This week I demonstrate and describe a short and simple exercise routine that can be done anywhere by most anyone, with very little equipment. Don’t be put off by the fact that it might only take 10 minutes to do the entire workout. Don’t be put off by the fact there are only 3 exercises. I’m not going to go into great detail on this today, but just know that exercise need not be long or include lots of exercises to be effective. All 3 of these exercises will help improve the three big areas that constantly need our attention: Stretching, Strength & Stamina. Do you need to lose body fat? Then focus most of your precious energy on eating better and food prep, sleeping well and managing your stress. Most of us don’t need to exercise hours on end. But yes, we should move every day and eventually work towards 2-3 days of simple strength training each week. There will be much more on all of this in the coming year. In the meanwhile, get to work. Ask for help if you need it. You are in control.

January 9, 2017

January 23, 2015

Ideas for a better warmup:
THE “Old” WARMUP (5-15min): Most people just hop on a treadmill or stationary bike for anywhere from 5-20 minutes to “warmup”. This works but it’s most likely not as effective as other options. Guys who plan on lifting “heavy” weights often ONLY warmup by doing light warmup-sets of their chosen exercise(s) for the day. Again, this also works but considering the fact that most of us know we need more stretching in our lives, including at least a few simple stretches in the warmup might be more optimal. Often guys are also scared to stretch before they lift because, “rumor has it”, you won’t get as big and strong. While it may be true that doing a marathon stretching session before lifting might be counterproductive for some, including other “types” of stretching has proven to actually increase strength & performance when done correctly. Lastly, some folks do their “cardio” first before lifting “weights”, i would assume in hopes of losing some unwanted body fat. Again, this is probably not the best idea UNLESS you are primarily seeking to increase your endurance for a specific event, competition or occupation. But for everyone else, i don’t recommend it. Ever, really. Normally, too much “cardio” before “lifting weights” interferes with… you guessed it, the weights. (And just to clarify, “weights”, “lifting”, “lifting weights” “strength machines”, “strength training”, “resistance training”, “body weight training”, “calisthenics”, “hard yoga”, “hard pilates”, etc are ALL basically the same thing!) “The primary purpose of resistance training is to get stronger, and for some, also build muscle. Both these things can also indirectly aid with fat loss. But keep in mind, getting stronger and building muscle both require INTENSITY to get the desired results. So don’t empty your fuel tank too early by doing too much in the warmup. If your goal is fat-loss, getting stronger or packing on more muscle, try including a short, intense 10-minute “interval session” after “weights” (aka “a finisher”). I’d also recommend doing your longer “cardio” workouts or group classes on another day, all by themselves, if you have the time available.

THE “New” WARMUP (5-10) So here we go. Here are some new things to try as your “warmup”. First and foremost, correct breathing is essential and often overlooked. This means breathing deeply from your diaphragm, through your nose. Keep this in mind as you warmup and proceed to the rest of your workout. I often tell people to do all movements at a pace that allows you sync your breathing with each repeat of that movement. Start your warmup by massaging some of the major muscles regions (back, legs, hips, calves) with a Foam Roller. (This is what most professional athletes do.)Most gyms have them. Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc all sell them for $30 or less). Then do a few safe Dynamic Stretches (aka “moving stretches”). Google this. Then perform a few easy body-weight warmup movements, focusing on stabilizing your spine and moving your many joints about (especially the hip & arm sockets). To summarize, you could very quickly Foam Roll 2-3 major areas of your body, do 2-3 full body stretches and 2-3 major body-weight movements (easy pushups, easy pulling & easy squatting), and be done in less than 10 minutes. You could even include 1-2 “core” exercises near the end or even devote some of the time to practice a new exercise (with no weight or a light weight) that maybe needs some practice. If you really want to hit everything, perform all the primitive movement patterns every time you warmup. (Check out any of Mark Verstegen’s Books). Research all this stuff! Educate yourself. It’s free. Keep things simple. Many things could work. Just keep this in mind, the purpose of a “warmup” is to get you prepared/ramped-up for the harder work ahead, not beat you done prematurely. The key is always to maximize your time, this should include not wasting any precious time doing useless sh*t during a warmup. You may want extend your warmup longer if you are sore or dealing with an injury, have specific “corrective exercises” you know you need to include, it’s really cold outside or you just woke up. We all know we need to stretch more, etc. Include these type things in your warmup and you can always get a lot done in each session, regardless of time. Density is the key.
– Carlton

p.s. Keep things simple. Always. I know i mentioned a lot of things, and that was just the silly warmup. lol. The reality is that the details of exercise and programming can easily start to bog any mind down. So don’t let it. Start by including just one new thing next time your workout. Build on that over time. The point is to move more, move better. There will probably never be a “perfect” way. And while some will waste time searching tirelessly for that, you should be out there getting work done. Time is of the essence. Ask for help if you need it. Work hard. Play hard. Enjoy.


New Weekly Tipz! This week’s video is for all those out there that truly hate to exercise (which is probably 99% of most people)…but you also understand that you should probably do a “little” of something. How does ONE exercise a day sound? No, this is not a gimmick. This also isn’t to help you lose weight. One exercise a day won’t help much with that, sorry. This is to help you with the many other aspects of your general health. At the very least, do 1 upper-body “push”, 1 upper-body “pull” & 1 lower body/(leg or hip) exercise each week. Surely you have 5 minutes or less a day. (I did include 5 sample exercises for your convenience)

October 5, 2013

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