Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How Changing Your Exercise Routine Helps You Grow Stronger.

     Have you ever hit a plateau in the gym?  We all do it, we do the same exercises in the same order overtime we go into the gym for a long time and get results for a while, but then after a few months your muscles start growing slower or not at all. Overtime you go into the gym do you do the same workouts in the same order every time.  In this blog post I will describe what has been working for me.  I also talked about this in an earlier blog post but will share this updated version for people who want to read it and the new viewers.
"How long should I stick to a routine?"
     I had my routine for a few months but knew it was time to switch it up recently and try something new since my muscles were getting used to the old way.  I'm not saying I won't ever go back to drop sets but for now I am doing high rep low weight exercises instead, the drop sets did work very well, but we always need to be challenging our muscles in new ways, just as we do our minds.  I stuck with this routine for 3-6 months which for me is when I usually notice I need to change up my exercises and routine.  Although everyone is different our muscles all will get used to doing the same thing overtime eventually.  If a routine is working very well for you definitely stick with it as long as you can.  A routine working well means you are increasing weight gradually every time you go into the gym.  With drop sets I was easily adding weight to most exercises doing the same amount of reps and every time.  Until I started to not increase after a few months for a couple weeks so then I knew it was time to try something knew.
     Like I said in the above paragraph I started doing high rep low weight workouts.  I do anywhere from 15-40 reps depending on the workout and how much weight I use.  When doing this routine I like to concentrate one arm or leg at a time if its arm or leg day.  Using both arms to do a preacher curl with a bar for example can result in one arm doing more of the work and building on more muscle than the other.  So for that exercise I would for example use a dumbbell in one hand do my set then switch hands to make sure both arms are doing the same amount of work.  To get back on topic, switching a routine can be very beneficial, but before switching to a whole new routine I highly recommend you switch up the order of the workouts you are doing in your current one if you are hitting plateau.
Keeping a weight log.
     Is keeping a weight log of your workouts really necessary?  The answer is a huge and I mean HUGE YESSSS!!!  keeping track of every workout is very crucial to improving in the gym.  Now this is something I struggled with and still sometimes do, but have been forming a habit over the last few weeks to keep the log in the notes on my iPhone.  Everyone is bringing their phone to the gym anyways so this is a way to proactively use it to benefit your workout experience and is very simple, but like any habit is hard to get into.  I used to just walk into the gym and do my workouts and keep track of my exercise weight mentally.  You can already tell how that went.  Lately I decided to take 2 seconds after each workout and record the weight I did for each exercise.  By typing the name of exercise or machine, then the weight I was lifting and how many reps I did.  I am now about 75% used to the habit and it has helped me tremendously.  Not only am I able to add a little weight to my workouts every time I go into the gym, but I am also noticing my progress and muscles grow faster.  
     I would like to share my new ab routine that I made, I know you guys will love it, especially if you love a challenge.  Depending how strong your abs are you can do 1-3 sets of this workout and/or rest instead of doing mountain climbers (MC).  I currently do 2 sets and the routine is straight forward.  Go back to back with each exercise 20 reps of each exercise including MC, then when you complete the round take a one minute rest and start over if you need to drink some water during the round feel free to as well, what matters is doing it and achieving what you want to achieve!  Summer is coming lets crack right into the exercise to help you form those abs for your summer body!
Reminder all are 20 reps!
1) Bicycles
3) Iron butterflies 
4) MC
5) Leg raises (Lay on your back hold your legs straight up at a 90 degree angle and lift your butt)
6) MC
7) Roman twist
8) MC
9) Leg spreads (Hold your legs straight in front of you about 4-6 inches off the ground and spread then close and repeat)
1 minute rest.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

4 Lessons I Learned From "How To Win Friends and Influence People".

Lesson 1 - Learning the art of empowerment instead of criticism.
     "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain-and most fools do.  But it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving."  How many times have we criticized someone even for something they can't control, what does that say about us?  Everyone has their flaws but when we judge someone that means we are only noticing their flaws in us and feeling a sense of insecurity about it.  Something I learn was instead of to criticize, maybe next time I can look at how the person did something right, or how to help the person do the right thing next time, and help them improve instead of put them down and belittle them.  It's so easy to put someone down, because it makes us feel better about our selves and often it's the easy way to do things.  I mean if we don't put people down then we ourselves must have to work on improving ourselves as well and have the chance of making mistakes, which can involve pride and ego getting in the way.  Maybe next time I want to criticize, I can shift my focus on look at what I can learn from this person?
     Charles Schwab says "There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors.  I never criticize anyone.  I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault.  If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise."
This lesson is valuable to me because most of us are taught to just yell at someone to get our way instead of stating the good someone did and encouraging them to do better.  I like to think of it like this, if some random person walks up to you and tells you "you aren't a good writer" chances are you might get mad for a second but after a minute you'll just be like "whatever" toward it because they don't even know you, and move on with your day.  But on the flipside if a family member or friend says the same thing we can take it personally because they know us on a personal level.  Now if your family or friends think its bad instead of criticizing they can reframe and talk about how much better you were at writing than you were a month ago and how fast your writing is getting better and better.
     "One of the most neglected virtues of our daily existence is appreciation.  Somehow, we neglect to praise our son or daughter when he or she brings home a good report card, and we fail to encourage our children when they first succeed in baking a cake or building a birdhouse.  Nothing pleases children more than this kind of parental interest and approval."  Before we move on to Lesson 2 remember to always look for the good someone did!
Lesson 2 - People love talking about themselves.
     "You can make more friends in 2 months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."  This is something I wished I would've learned a long time ago.  It still affects me today, even though I work on it, it is a very hard habit to break out of.  From my experience I love talking about what I wanna do instead of hearing as much of what others want to do.  Even as the other person is talking at times I will notice I am thinking in my head what I am going to talk about next instead of how to respond to what they are gonna say and ask empowering questions about their topic to go more in depth.  Talking about the other persons topic makes them feel more important and will show your genuine interest in them.
Lesson 3 - Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
     I have always struggled with remembering someones name even a minute after they say it I can have some trouble remembering what they said it was.  In the book Carnegie states a technique used by Napoleon the third emperor of France and nephew of the great Napoleon   The technique?  If he didn't hear the name distinctly, he would say, "so sorry I didn't get the name clearly."  If the name was an unusual or unfamiliar name her would ask for the person to spell it for him.  At least for me this is important be many times I didn't quite get the name the person told me but I was too afraid to as them to repeat it and just kind of would guess a name.  This is one many people I know have trouble with and I feel my story easily connected with you guys.  
Lesson 4 - Don't fight fire with fire.
     the Buddha said "Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love."  There have been many times I have flipped out because someone got mad at me, So what is the first thing I do.  That's right, I get mad right back and start rage on both sides.  Not looking at what they want and what I want, and how to achieve peace for both sides, but instead only looking at what I want.  Showing hate towards hate (fire with fire) usually never works, usually we fight back because we don't want our ego hurt, but what is that worth, if all trying to win does makes our ego smaller?
     Going hand in hand with the ego is not telling people they are wrong.  Telling someone they are wrong only hurts them and will create tension.  Is red better than blue, are the Beatles better than the Rolling Stones?  If someone doesn't agree with you this doesn't mean they are wrong, even your biggest enemy could be right and have something to agree on that is the right thing.  In the book it is pointed out that Jesus said "Agree with thine adversary quickly"  Agreeing with an enemy on a certain point can bring comfort to their side and make them more likely to agree with your side as well.
Closing thoughts.
     Note that to me these are the most valuable lessons in the book, and what I see helping me the most.  If you want to purchase the book I highly recommend it, and will be one of the most important books you read, especially if you are and introvert like me.   I will have a link to amazon in my recommended resources page, if you would like to buy the book and support me that would be a real thanks.  I hope these lessons helped you and gave you a good guide and sense into some of the book.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Without Struggle We Cannot Grow. (Our Mind Is Like A Muscles)

     We all know that training our muscles will grow them.  Many of us are so focussed on that but not whats to grow on the inside, our brain.  When I first started working our that's all I saw was having a better body would be making me a better person in some respect.  What I saw after I really started was that training my outer muscles made me want to train my inner muscles as well.  Without starting going to the gym, I would've never wanted to start training my brain.  The brain is just like a muscle, reading books can be very hard, along with mediation, but the struggle of it is always worth it and allows my mind to expand.
To grow our minds we must face the bull.     What we spend our minds time on can really affect if it is growing, or not.  When I used to play video games all the time, my mind never really could grow because there was nothing I was really being taught from them.  Now I'm not hating on video games they can be very fun, but they also numb the brain at least for me.  I tend to lose track of time, and very easily lose track of what my priorities are.  For me they would help me be more on my toes, since I would play lots of call of duty or war games you would have to be constantly alert of things around you, so in that aspect it did help, but when I was in my gaming days thats all I could really focus on was the game.
     The gaming wasn't really challenging my mind to grow, because it was never really a challenge to turn on a system and start a game.  The things that have been a challenge have been getting myself to read 50 pages a day being a very slow reader and only being able to read word for word at first, and then teaching myself and watching videos on how to read faster and still comprehend everything.  Not only learning to read faster has been a struggle that helped my brain grow but the fact that almost every book I have read I found something else to learn from or do that can challenge me even more to become my greatest version.
     Not only reading has been a big impact in growing my brain to be able to think more and better, but also writing.  I often talk about how writing isn't my strong point, or wasn't in school, but since I've started writing for this blog it has gotten extremely better.  Even to the point where people around me say I do a good job compared to how I used to in school.  But how has it helped me expand my brain?  First off I'd say I've become a better thinker on thinking of what to talk about and spread to you guys.  But on the other hand it can also be hard to come up with what to write about, but those days are where eI challenge myself the most.  I not only have to come up with a topic but also have to write multiple paragraphs about it to try and share what I feel can help people around the world.  Those days are often the ones I feel like I can't do it but I find a way to push myself instead of telling myself I can't do it just because I feel like I have not energy or can't thing of something.  Even if the writing is bad to me, I'd rather do it than give up on myself and sell myself short, when I know I can say even one thing and help somebody even if its not my best writing.   SO pushing through those days of struggle is what makes me and everyone else grow, all it takes is that one step of struggle to improve yourself and you mind.  If you aren't challenging yourself you're not growing.  The challenges are supposed to be tough, but getting through them will make you stronger and wiser.
     Maybe a challenge is learning another language.  It is always a struggle and is very hard because we are accustom to speaking whatever language you speak.  And learning a language is like starting over from scratch.  But it has many benefits.  You can get a better job and connect with people of different countries easier just to name a couple.  I know it is a challenge for me, and over the past couple days I have been teaching myself to learn to say a phrase in French each day and also write it down.  I am deciding to start with French because it is an easier language to learn than something like Chinese, but is still a challenge for me and can help me in life, also for if I travel to a French speaking country.  Without training each day to learn one new phrase my mind will not go, just as if I skip the gym my muscles will not grow.

Go out, live life to the fullest,