HAH, thought I forgot about this, didn’t you? What? Oh, you weren’t even paying attention to the fact that I missed my one-year progress report?
Okay 😦 .
So yes, I’m still exercising every day. This winter I started missing workout days because I was really busy with school (i.e. exhausted), then I was working a lot and taking an online course during the Christmas-time (i.e. even more exhausted), and then I was sick/dead for weeks, so I missed out on 2 months of exercise time… right as my one-year report was due. I was definitely set back a bit on my progress, so I figured I’d rather just skip the report altogether, since it took me into February to really feel completely myself again.
Anyway, my routine has definitely changed quite a bit (even multiple changes, in the time since I last wrote about it), but my focus remains the same. Priority #1 is cardiovascular health. I’m getting stronger, and practical strength is Priority #2, but what inspired all of this was the idea of taking care of my heart – and that’s still the goal. At the time of my previous progress report, I was making use of a higher number of exercises than I am now, and my focus had started to shift more towards bulk strength than my heart, so this winter I added a jump rope to my routine, using it to keep my heart-rate up in between groups of exercises. I’ve also lessened the number of exercises I’m doing… keeping my routine light but efficient.
After 1.5 years of exercise…
…this is what I look like:
…this is what I weigh:
132 lbs (a gain of 4 lbs.!)
…this is what I use:
Pull-up and monkey bars at nearby park, my body’s weight, a long rope, a jump rope, and my own two feet.
…this is what I do (and what I can do, as of this week):
I’m up at 6am every morning (unless my schedule or health dictates otherwise), and I grab a nutritional supplement drink before I exercise (a little something to keep me going without weighing myself down with a big meal). I alternate between 2 different routines, with no days off. I’ve cut out my 3-mile-long walks as part of my regular routine, for now, though I still do them on occasion.
Day A – For my one-year report, this would have been interval jogging, but I found that during the high-speed portion of my jog, I just couldn’t find a good way to maintain a proper, light-footed form, and the impact was getting a little rough on my knees.
In an effort to find an alternative interval system, I came across Jessica Smith’s Low-Impact HIIT Cardio routine – and I do it every other day. I actually stay in my room for this one… first walking/jogging/dancing in place as a warm-up, then I usually go through her routine 1-1.5 times (I’m slowly increasing how much I can do, and I move quicker than she does in the video to increase the intensity), then I cool down just as I warmed up. I look a little silly with these movements, as verified by the reflection in my bedroom mirror, but it gets my heart pumping hard (I’m a sweaty man by the end), and it’s easy on my joints.
After my cool down period, I sit on the floor and practice L-sits. I can get my feet off the ground for just a second, but I’ve started focusing on proper form, being able to hold positions for a long time, and being able to use slow, controlled movement.
Day B – Walk ~15 minutes to nearby park to do body-weight workout routine. You’ll find that I do an exercise for upper-body, then for lower-body, then core, then a jump-rope break before starting again. Also, if this is a single-appendage exercise, the count listed is for each individual side.
As of today, I do…
– Wide-grip pull-ups (8-10)
– – If I don’t get to 10 reps, I make it up on a smaller bar
– Tuck squats (4-5) [found at strengthunbound.com]
– Hanging full-vertical leg raise (1-2) [raising the legs up above the bar, perpendicular to the ground – freakin’ hard]
– Jump rope, 1-hop, medium then to quick speed (~30 seconds)
– Bar dips, straight-legged (6-8)
– – If I don’t get to 10 reps, I make it up with Overhead Tricep Extensions w/rope
– Single-leg glute bridge lifts (10)
– Hanging oblique raises (2 straight-leg, 2 bent-leg, 3 rotations)
– Jump rope, backwards, medium speed (~30 seconds)
– Inverted row w/rope (8-10)
– Hanging ab crunch (7-8) [minimal leg raise, movement mainly in hips]
– Wide-legged sumo squat (10)
– Jump rope, single-leg in-place skips (~30 seconds)
– Pull-up Shrugs (4-5) [came up with on my own. Hold two parallel monkey bars with palms facing in towards each other, hang below, pull up vertically so that head goes between two bars, slowly lower the body back down, repeat – felt mostly in biceps and shoulders]
– Gather ropes
– Walking lunges (9-12)
– Jog backwards (30-40 seconds)
– Standing calf raises on bench-edge (12-15)
– Walk home
…this is what I’m proud to have accomplished:
I really love how refined my routine is becoming. I’m always interested in trying new and more efficient ideas, and that has definitely been cause for a better workout routine. I’ve dropped movements in exchange for better ones, and I’ve stopped working on my chest (it gets enough with the other movements, and it’s not great for my posture). I also stopped doing handstand practice, for now, because the biggest hindrance in my ability to stay up was balance, not just strength… so my shoulders weren’t getting much exercise (hence my pull-up shrug creation).
If you compare my photo from this report and the previous one, I don’t necessarily look bigger. If anything, my stomach looks a little less gaunt now due to my core muscles growing more prominent in non-flexing position, but my other muscles don’t really look much bigger. Of course, I’ve also gained about 4 pounds, so what does this mean? I’m getting more dense. My legs aren’t in the pictures, but my quads have actually slimmed down a lot in the last year; I was hardly an overweight person, but they’re now nothing but muscle (not literally). I can feel it on my body, too… I’m not TOO much bigger than I was a year ago, but I’m definitely more solid. This is also why the reps on my Dips and Pull-ups have actually decreased slightly… I’m getting stronger, but I’m also pulling up more weight and doing harder/slower movement.
Also, when I jog, I can feel my pecs bounce… as a male who’s been skinny his whole life (i.e. no boobs), that’s a new feeling – and a strange one 🙂 .
I’m also proud to be focusing, once again, on my ticker… finding a great cardio routine and keeping my resistance training light while still focusing on controlled movement.
…this is where I’d like to be for the next progress report:
Well, I’d love to be able to pull off an L-sit for more than a fleeting second 😉 , but overall I’d really like to find a way to integrate yoga movements into my overall routine. How that will come about has yet to be determined, but the body control necessary for some of the more intense yoga moves/positions is definitely something I’m aiming for.
And there we have it. I wanted to make a video for my one-year report, but since I died for two months, I think I’ll save that for my two-year post in six months. Comments and questions are very welcome, as always, and I hope you’re taking care of YOURself, too – because if I can do it, so can you 🙂 .