Posts Tagged gym

Extreme Treadmill Exercise Styles

This guy has a goal to reach a running speed of 24 mph. For months, he has been consistently training to reach his goal. He slowly walked up the top of the treadmill and began running as fast as he could reaching 23.5 mph. He didn’t quite reach his goal leaving him frustrated but he was a step closer.

This man has a different take on extreme exercise: relax…life is short…


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Motivations to Lift Weights

gym inspiration

gym inspiration

Saw this and am lifting weights right now…with breaks to post this picture…

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Growing Up And Working Out

Jonathan Lipnicki stole the show from Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire and is now a gym rat

I love to see how people change over the years and decades, so I was amused by pictures of child actors who work out as older guys. I was familiar with just one of them as a kid—Jonathan Lipnicki from Jerry Maguire—and felt badly that he built up his muscles for a movie requiring a buff body, and then his shirtless scenes were cut from the film. But he still works out 4-5 times a week, so he is on a healthy track…

Danny Bonaduce is funny: he goes to red carpet events topless. Maybe he should next follow Lady Gaga’s lead: she just stepped out bottomless.

Aaron Carter

Danny Bonaduce was in The Partridge Family

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A Reader Writes:

On Aug 28, 2009, at 3:42 PM, Michael Bluejay wrote:

Hi Ira. I always think of you when I use the crunch machine at the gym. I still don’t have visible abs but I think I’m close. My first problem was that I had a lot of weight to lose, but I lost nearly 20 pounds in the last 2.5 months, so I’m close.

On Sep 11, 2009, at 4:12 PM, Ira wrote:

Hi Michael–Congratulations on your progress and thanks for the kind words. Is it OK if I post them on the site?

You should write a story of your own about your fitness efforts. You know it doesn’t have to be a before and after tale…it can be a work in progress just like mine.

On Sep 11, 2009, at 9:23 PM, Michael Bluejay wrote:

Sure, feel free to post my comments. Read the rest of this entry »

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Injury and Laziness Set Me Back Big Time!

Haven’t been to the gym since July 30th. What the hell happened? Where is all that discipline that others are resenting (see post on August 17)? How could I go at least six times a month for two years—and eight times a month since I started this site—and give it all up so completely?

Here are my excuses. I strained so hard setting new records for chin ups and pull ups, that I hurt my shoulders, forearms and right elbow. The tennis and squash that followed probably didn’t help. But I played through the aching. I needed to stay away from the machines and weights in the gym to recuperate. However I still could have done my crunches. Yet I didn’t. After just three days of them in two weeks, I stopped.

Traveling eight days and having visitors and events at the house another four may have kept me from the gym. But crunches take less than half an hour. So there is no excuse. Just laziness.

Saw the doctor and am now wearing a tennis-elbow, velcro wrap. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can You Get Fit in Six Minutes a Week?

Excerpts From an article in the NYTimes, 5/24/09, by Gretchen Reynolds. [Summary: Six minutes or so a week of hard exercise (plus the time spent warming up, cooling down, and resting between the bouts of intense work) had proven to be as good as multiple hours of working out for achieving fitness. The short, intense workouts aided in weight loss, too.]

The potency of interval training is nothing new. Many athletes have been straining through interval sessions once or twice a week along with their regular workout for years. But what researchers have been looking at recently is whether humans…can increase endurance with only a few minutes of strenuous exercise, instead of hours? Could it be that most of us are spending more time than we need to trying to get fit?

The answer, a growing number of these sports scientists believe, may be yes.
“There was a time when the scientific literature suggested that the only way to achieve endurance was through endurance-type activities,” such as long runs or bike rides or, perhaps, six-hour swims, says Martin Gibala, PhD, chairman of the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. But ongoing research from Gibala’s lab is turning that idea on its head. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Reader Comments on Various Exercise Approaches—Ellipticals, Rowing, Treadmills, and Home Gyms

Rudy Kellerman asked me to get in touch.

*The ELLIPTICAL CROSS TRAINER gives you less bounce to the ounce:

For every ounce of weight you lose, for every calorie you burn off, for every globule of fat you get rid of— the elliptical cross trainer machine will give you less bounce per ounce. Big deal, you say? Well, it is a big deal when you consider the pounding your body takes as you rack up miles on your trainer machine. Just talk to a jack hammer machine operator. He’ll tell you about shake, rattle and roll and the dangers of getting all shook up. Remember, you’re using trainer machines to give your muscles a workout, not the delicate organs inside.

That’s why, if running on trainer machines is included in your wellness or body-building program, a good trainers review will recommend elliptical trainer machines best for you. Because of the bio-mechanics of the elliptical shape, there’s less stress at every position of the elliptical path, without the sudden “drop-off” found in circular paths. This “drop-off” is like walking along, not realizing there’s a step down, and then your whole body goes ker-plunk and out of whack!

Without this stress anywhere along the machines elliptical path there’s a smoother ride for your internal organs inside. While outside there’s a greatly reduced physical impact on the joints of the body— mainly the ankles, knees and hips. Now, with these bodily areas taken care of and protected, you can put your attention back where it belongs. On the rest of your body.


Oar else you’ll have to exercise much harder and longer to get in good physical shape. Not counting the pain, or the strain you might get from other exercise machines. A rowing exercise machine lets you exercise almost every muscle group in your body. Read the rest of this entry »

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Here’s How Chris Ivey Trained To Do 103 Pushups in 2 Minutes To Earn First Place in His Navy Boot Camp Competition

After graduating high school in 2005, I gave college one semester and withdrew to join the Armed Forces. I had wanted to join the military since my early teens for personal satisfaction and to continue our family tradition. I went to a recruiting office and met with recruiters for the Marines and Navy. My mother begged me not to become a Marine, because of their tip-of-the-spear philosophy in war. Between how she felt and the encouragement of my cousin, who would end up enlisting with me, I ended up choosing to be a sailor instead of a soldier. It was mid-January ’06 when I signed my contract to leave for boot camp in early March; it gave me 2 1/2 months for training.

Chris Ivey showing his stuff—Spring 2009

Chris Ivey showing his stuff—Spring 2009

In high school I was active, athletic and weight-lifted frequently. However, since graduation I had rarely worked out. This meant I was going to start from scratch to become boot-camp ready. My plan of attack was to stick strictly to calisthenics; more specifically, running, pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups and dips. The high frequency and lightweight exercises were going to keep me lean, strong and quick. Perfect for the functional strength I would need. Also, at 6’2 and 180 lbs, I was not trying to lose any weight. In fact, I was trying to gain 5-10 lbs.

I joined the local gym, even though I did not use the machines, and found a secluded corner to do my push-ups in. I had a basic principle to my workouts: max out every day. Where as some may say to themselves, “I have to only do 100 push-ups before I can get out of here today,” I never put limitations on my exercises and would just do as many reps as possible in my gym session. I started off by doing as many sets of 30 push-ups as I could. In the first several days of working out, my sets were adding up to between 90 and 120 push-ups. I was also doing sit-ups, pull-ups and chin-ups at this time. Sit-ups were between 100 and 150—a 100 set and a 50 set. I would rotate my pull-ups and chin-ups between wide-grip to normal chin-ups and normal pull-ups; all in sets of 10. They were adding up to 30-40 overall reps. After my routine I would run a mile on the treadmill to cool down.

Chris Ivey in boot camp—2006

Chris Ivey in boot camp—2006

The first two weeks were pretty brutal. I was working out 4-5 times a week and was constantly sore, but by the second week I was seeing gains. The lightweight and high repetition workouts were great for definition, which was becoming evident. Gaining weight was not happening easily, but I was at least maintaining well. I kept at my simple routine and philosophy of maxing out.

After the second week, reps increased rapidly across the board. By my fifth week I was up to 400-600 push-ups in a session. The reps had slightly evolved: I would warm up with sets of 50 until I had finished 150 total. I was rotating my push-ups between close-grip, normal and wide-grip. My pull-ups and chin-ups were totaling 90 and 120. Sit-ups were ranging from 200 to 300. In terms of running, my least favorite activity, I was still doing between just one and two miles for my cool down. It was around this time that I hit a plateau, and increases in reps became pretty much non-existent. By now I also had gained 5 lbs.

Before I knew it, I was catching a plane with my cousin—we ended up going through boot camp together—and two other local recruits to Great Lakes, Illinois for Navy boot camp. I was very fit by now, but still a little anxious about what was to come. After arriving, we were put into divisions. My division was #151, comprised of 40 girls and 40 guys. We also had a brother division with the same proportions of girls and guys. We split the bunkroom with the guys from the other division and did nearly everything together. Read the rest of this entry »

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And Even More Gym Records—701 Ball Crunches And 10+10 Pull Ups+Chin Ups

For the 9th time in a month, I exercised, 8 of the times in a gym. I had mentioned that I did 500 crunches and was told about a guy who does 1000. So I went to beat my record and did 150+150+200 crunches with legs on exercise ball and back on floor (60 seconds in between sets) and then a two minute break followed by 201 crunches—could have done more— with back on floor and smaller ball between knees in the air. I’m not rising up much, but I am tensing the abs, which are growing. This total for the ball is 701, compared to the earlier record on July 21st of 360!

After that record, I did a few machines and went to the chin up bar, where I bested my previous record of 10 pull ups + 8 chin ups by doing 10+10. Felt great.

Don’t know where this strength is coming from. Maybe it is inspired by the Chris Ivey push up story that I just received…

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More Gym Records—500 Crunches and 11 Chin Ups

Went to the gym today–the 7th time in the month–and there was another exercise hour at home. So I might make 9 sessions this month! Set two new records today: did 300 bicycle crunches–this was three sets of 100 each (up from 290 in four sets!). Then I did 200 crunches using the exercise ball for my legs with back on the floor (up from 150).

After that, another record, sort of: did 11 chin ups followed in five minutes by just 6 pull ups. Previous record is 10+8…maybe it still stands if I look at the totals. But 11 is 10% better than 10, and I am a bit closer to my goal of 25. Sure have to gut out the last two.

Not pleased with the minimal growth of my lats. May have to change the routine more. But the abs are appearing. One gym rat said he sees his abs best when brushing his teeth. Maybe that is where I take the next photo.

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Exercise Report—More New Records

July 17th—Some exercises at home…core roller, bent over rows, and 10+6 chin ups+pull ups

July 18th—Set a bicycle crunch record: 100+60+70+60=290+150 ball crunches (up from 280 bicycles +100 ball crunches). Did set chin up+pull up record of 10+8, up from 10+6½.

July 21st—New exercise-ball crunch record of 160+60+140=360 (up from 350). Lots of pain, and the abs were really popping. A big achievement, given I didn’t want to go to the gym, though I went at 8:30 pm, very reluctantly, lots of procrastination, was tired, but was inspired by Charlie Narwold’s urging to make the abs burn. Only 10+6 chins+pulls. But I was also able to hold Supermans on the ball for 60 seconds—both left and right hands. That is a long way from trying to do it for 2 seconds. And I did those AFTER the crunches. I love the progress.

July 22nd—Went to the gym yet again and did 11+8 pull ups+chin ups…another new record. Also heavier dumbbells for bent over rows. And 1 1/2 hours of racketball, my third time ever, including a hard lesson from an experienced player who mentored me.


Exercise Report—Shirking Visits But Setting Records

Falling behind schedule these last days—only going to the gym once a week. And not working at home. Uh oh. Not a good sign. Only excuse is lots of tennis, four days out of town, and some tiredness from changed diet due to taking doxycline to fight Lyme’s disease.

But I did set some crunch records each time:

On July 10th I did 85+60+75+60=280 bicycle crunches followed by 100 ball crunches. Previous record was 250 bicycles in 4 sets. Then only 8 pull ups + 7 chin ups (record is 10+6½).

On July 14th, I did 150+100+100=350 ball crunches (record was 300), supermans on the ball that lasted 15 seconds some times, and only 7 pull ups + 6 chin ups. Not too bad, considering that I played tennis in the morning.

Today I never made it to the gym, but I did do 9 chin ups followed within a minute by 6 (or 7) pull ups. And the 45-lb dumbbells felt a bit light for bent over rows.

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Exercise Report—Two New Records: 300 Normal Crunches; 10+6 Chin Ups+Pull Ups

Practiced squash today at the prep school courts of the club I just joined. Such an exhausting sport. I love it. What a workout. Too tired to look at local fireworks.

Last night at the gym late—done at 9pm. Two new personal bests: 300 crunches (3 sets of 100 each) with the exercise ball (not the bicycle-type crunches, which are much harder) and 10 chin ups followed by 6 pull ups (increased from 10 + 4 1/2). On June 16 I was at 135 crunches with the exercise ball. That’s progress to me. I am loving the chinning bar. I want to move along it like a ninja.

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Exercise Report

On June 27th, I did a little exercising at home and set two new personal bests this time around: 250 crunches (75+75+100), up from 200; and 73 total push ups, up from 69 in groups with 10-breath rests in between (45+11+8+9). But then my home-gym activity was interrupted by family stuff.

Played tennis on the 29th, when I substituted in doubles, then again today with the oldest guys. I am in a slump and hitting lots of balls long, though my serve is the best of most of the other six players. At least that is my professional, totally unbiased opinion. But my team still lost two out of three sets the first day, and both sets today, one in a tiebreaker.

Back to the gym this afternoon, where I set a record for bicycle crunches: 250 in four sets (80+60+60+50). Still made 8 pull ups followed by 5 chin ups.

Feeling pumped, so I wanted a new progress photo. A little awkward, when I asked some stranger to take the picture. He did it and ran out. It wasn’t that good. I decided not to ask guys in towels who might drop them to take the second shot. Finally found someone to do it who didn’t think I was coming on to him. Oh well. I am learning the delicacies of gym locker etiquette. Gotta figure out how to flex those abs. It can’t be that hard!

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Exercise Report

Yesterday I did 48 push ups (10 breaths) then 12 more (then 10 breaths) then 9 more…and the phone rang. So 69, a current record.

At the gym I did 200 bicycle crunches (3 sets) (new record) and also 10 pull ups (another record–up from 8) followed by 6½ chin ups. Some progress. And that is 7 visits to the gym this month. I am thinking and feeling that twice a week is not enough.

Still can’t figure out how to flex my abs. What is my problem?

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Some Gym Progress and Tennis Movement Way Backwards

Played tennis again this week and went to the gym twice. The good news is that I did 150 bicycle crunches (3 sets of 50) and then today actually had some sets of 60 ab crunches on the exercise ball.

On the chinning bar, I did 8 pull ups, when I did those first—and then just 6 chin ups—and today I did 10 chin ups—when I did those first—followed after a break by just 4½ pull ups. These are new records for me. Both days I did the usual stretches and various machines and some free weights. And here is another accomplished set of abs for inspiration:

ryan reynolds must work out a lot

ryan reynolds must work out a lot

After Tuesday’s terrible tennis, I hit with my son for an hour on Wednesday, and was pretty consistent. I was raring to go Thursday, but played poorly yet again. Serve no good, forehands too long, awful. After the doubles losses, I played singles with one of the guys, took a 5-1 lead and then lost lost lost until we were at 6-6. Then I blew the tie breaker 2-7. What was that all about? Just a normal slump?

I was attempting a different serve, a spin serve. I was trying a different toss. That may have messed me up, along with being tired from so much activity (four hours on Tuesday, 2 hours on Wednesday). But that doesn’t excuse all the other poor shots.

I practiced alone for an hour and did great. Then I picked up a hitting partner who was more powerful than any of the guys I played doubles with, and I was stroking fantastically. I can’t explain it…other than recalling those famous words about how one should play the game as relaxedly as when one is practicing.

Tomorrow I will play squash at my friend’s court–first games in ages. Can’t wait to see how I do, now that I can hit the ball so much better and have worked at volleys, rail shots and service returns.

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Gym and Cardio and A Look at the Goal Line for Great Abs

Went to the gym late on Friday the 12th. Did 7 pull ups—up 2, but then only 5 chin ups—down 5. Still tired from Wednesday and Thursday’s 5 hours of cardio. But I put in the hour, including three sets of 45 crunches.

Some sick people in the house. After attending a funeral Monday morning, I learned that a house guest has swine flu and that my daughter may have caught it. Turns out not the case, but pretty upsetting when I was already glum from the church service and the sad crying and sense of shared loss. Fragile life.

Another four hours this morning playing tennis (poorly, my side lost 4-6, 4-6 to opponents who are 93 and 85—I hit lots of balls too long) and then practicing tennis serves and strokes followed by an hour of squash hitting. Feels good to be tired this way. Rushed home for a protein shake. Weight holding at 170.

And for those who might be interested, here is a good looking, very inspirational 6-pack developed by Mark Wahlberg who is posing in his underpants for a Calvin Klein ad. This is what we are all working hard to achieve—this is the goal, the finish line in the world of desIRAble abs:

Mark Wahlberg's abs revealed in Calvin Klein Underwear Ad

Mark Wahlberg's abs revealed in Calvin Klein Underwear Ad

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Homer Simpson Goes To the Gym Too

Christopher Ivey sent us this link:

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Late Night Gym Work

Made it to the gym for a 75-minute session. Arrived at 7 and not home till after 9. I was determined to get there, though one friend who is an early riser harassed me good naturedly for being so compulsive. I tell him I could never be in the gym at 6:30 am, which he finds easy to do. I think he was amazed I could go so late at night by his standards. He is almost in bed. Different rhythms.

I am proud that I made it there at all and am still working on my goal. Did 120 bicycles total again and then 10½ chin ups (new record—up from 9), 5 pull ups. Seated row machine for the first time. Followed it all with a protein shake that I had waiting in the car.


Seeking Pain for Later Pleasure and the Difference Between a Chin Up and a Pull Up

What kind of masochists are we that we go to the gym to experience pain for our own good? I was there again today and learned a few things from Eric, a trainer. Read the rest of this entry »

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Building Up Our Bodies and Talents From Different Starting Points

In the locker room at the gym, I heard one scrawny, little guy telling someone he was up to 118 since he started lifting when he only weighed 100 pounds.

We all come to the “table” with whatever body and talents we were born with or God gave us. What we do with that beginning is up to us, to our will and determination. I am glad that I am tall, slender, healthy and always had reasonably-defined arms. With my package there is also a pathetically narrow chest and no abs. I look at the fat guys attempting to lose weight, the beefy guys working for some definition. They have a real challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can You Work Out Well At Home? I Can’t.

May 24, 2009

Well I did NOT make it to the gym yesterday. But I did work out at home, but with lots of interruptions and distractions. Hard to focus. Think I need the gym to concentrate. Read the rest of this entry »

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Can You Serve a Tennis Ball While on Your Knees? Or Win Points by Walking or Not Moving?

Went to a pro squash match in Wilton CT. These players rank from 56 to 120 or so, and the quality of their game was way above college level. They can really whack the ball and retrieve seemingly impossible shots. Lots of long rallys. However I have to say the general play was not as strong as the other pro match I saw, when some players were as high as 24 or 36.

I’d invited a former college roommate to meet me there. Michael had never before seen a squash match. His droll comment was that “You had to be in pretty good shape to play this game.” It definitely takes endurance and flexibility. He did say he had heard over the years of heavyset guys who could place the ball so well that they won points and games in spite of their inability to move very fast or for long.

He also told me about a grossly overweight tennis coach in high school he would watch who could just stand in the middle of the court, barely move his feet, switch the racket from one hand to the other, and then win many points against his students. It was because he could place the ball so perfectly. Hard to imagine, even though I face excellent placement from many of the older guys I play doubles with. This coach would also SERVE from the baseline ON HIS KNEES, again to emphasize that you don’t need a powerful serve to win points. Just place the ball with great dexterity.

I’ve played against a guy who shifts the racket back and forth between hands. Weird. So I can vouch for that skill. But what do you think? Can anyone be even a decent competitor without a strong service game? Read the rest of this entry »

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You Have to Take a Shot or at Least Hit the Ball Over the Net

Up at 3:45 am to be settled in the woods before first light, which is now around 4:40. I am determined to harvest—don’t you love that politically correct word—a tom turkey eventually. One position, no movement for an hour, waiting for the birds to come out of the trees. I was about to give up…then my patience was rewarded: one lone hen flew down too far away. Still glad I out-waited her. Still glad I woke up so early.

In a nearby hayfield I called in three toms to my woods. (You make the sounds of a hen to appeal to the tom’s mating urge.) One approached my clucks curiously. He was only 25 yards away, but between two trees just two feet apart. There were lots of small branches to dodge between him and me. The opening might only have been a few inches. It would have to be a Robin Hood shot that only Kevin Costner can do in his movie. Licking the arrow feathers (the fletching) like Kevin did in the film might have helped. I decided to wait for a better shot. The bird turned away, and I never saw him again.

I should have taken what I had. I gambled and lost. How often do we do this in our lives? Wait for something that might be better? Girlfriends. Wives. Jobs. Business opportunities. So many times we pass up our chance for now and curse ourselves later when we realize what we missed

My first tennis coach said that you have to first hit the ball over the net. That is 50% of how you win the point. Even if it is a poor shot that your opponent smashes right past you for his winner. Hitting into the net is a sure loser.

Now no one hits into the net intentionally. Read the rest of this entry »

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Astonishing Video of Someone Flexing His Abs

Was just doing some crunches at home and looking at some of the videos already on this site for inspiration. Bumped into this amazing demonstration of a guy named Amin flexing his abs. I need to learn how to do this, so that I can make my abs more visible when I document my progress.

I don’t have the faintest idea how to flex an ab. Do you? I can do a bicep and a tricep. For an ab, I will have to stand in front of the mirror soon and figure it out. I did realize that if I want anything to show, I ought to have some top light shining down over my little nubile bumps. That will help them stand out a millimeter or two.

For now, check this out:

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