Category Archives: fitness

Yoga in a Time of Zombies, Pt. 1

Cat Yoga HeadstandThere are so many obvious benefits that come from partaking in regular yoga practice — immediate (centeredness, mental clarity, improved breathing) and eventual (muscle development, flexibility and stability). From vinayasa to restorative, yoga is clearly one of the best things that a person can incorporate into their workout routines.

When thinking of yoga, though, I immediately fall victim to the Pinterest-perfect ideal  — the long, lithe figure, chill demeanor, and apartment completely free from pet dander. (You’ve seen the pins. You know what I’m talking about). More than eucalyptus or lavender aromatherapy, that particular idea of yoga instantly calms me down. I realize that this is a well-marketed image and not necessarily reality. Still, I can’t help but be sold on the idea.

This is usually where I start asking myself just how many asanas and savasanas I plan on doing in the zombie apocalypse, because the answer is probably not many. Gyms and studios will turn into sanctuaries and fitness equipment of all kinds will turn into weapons. Namaste what? All that we know now will be replaced by the need to survive.

That said, I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve tricked myself into thinking that partaking in mostly functional exercise is a most efficient way to prepare for the coming of the undead. I am more than aware that cross-training ups the ante on not just the physical, but largely the mental aspect of a workout. In either case, I’d really like my thighs to stop jiggling before civilization as we know it ceases to exist, and I’ve heard there’s a few flows for that.

What’s your favorite style of yoga? I’ve already a few options to explore and am looking forward to documenting them in this series. Topping my list is mastering pigeon pose, warrior series (especially the flow into warrior 3), and honestly just making and keeping the time to devote to practice.

Let the adventure begin, for as much time as we have left this side of turning.

Be sure to check out my zombie-tinged strength training series here:

Episode 5
Episode 4
Episode 3
Episode 2
Episode 1

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Strength Training for the Zombie Apocalypse, Ep. 5

Leg day, glute day, lower body day — my favorite, my favorite. Probably because when I see or feel progression, it is such an accomplishment. My lower body is a beast and I’ll always be working to tame it. Definitely a worthy challenge.

Here’s a routine I did the other day for time, which was around 56 minutes:

I have a community gym in my apartment complex – no fancy machines, but some equipment (dumbbells, ankle weights, resistance bands, ab rollers/slides, pull up bar, etc.). It’s been fun figuring out and improving upon basic exercises/functions in the name of strength progression. Like kinesiology, except, well, obviously not.

Still, it can be a little bit of a challenge to wake up other muscles in the body, which why I surf other blogs, YouTube channels, Pinterest, and the great and powerful Google for inspiration. I mean the way that the “yeah, she squats” craze burned across the interwebs years ago, I’d’ve never thought to do abductions or pull throughs. Like, come on now. She does more than squat, fool.

Anyway, a lot of folks incorporate and modify moves by “The Glute Guy” Bret Contreras, who incorporates and modifies from others as well. Let’s face it, though: he’s some kinda king. Boss of butts.

Abby Pollock on YouTube is also a favorite of mine with her scientific breakdowns to understand why and how instead of blindly jumping in and hoping for the best.

Check out previous episodes here:

Episode 4

Episode 3

Episode 2

Episode 1

Where do you get your workout inspiration?

Strength Training for the Zombie Apocalypse, Ep. 4

So I’ve realized I’ve got a little time to kill before the humans start to turn and am going to hop on the vanity train for mile or two.

I’ve been alternating upper body and ab days with glute and leg days, throwing in HITT and LISS cardio where it fits. My upper body tends to show more progress sooner than other areas, yet I’ve noticed that my back and shoulders could use a little work (in comparison to my biceps, triceps, etc.).

My favorite upper body exercises tend to involve bodyweight strength progression (i.e. push up variations) — again, functionality over aesthetics. I will be incorporating more challenging bodyweight exercises to up the ante while achieving a more balanced look — i.e. tricep push ups, diamond push ups, pull ups, chin ups, and handstands…. probably in that order.

I just haaaaaaaate push ups in general, though. They’re not supposed to be easy. And maybe two sets of 12 reps is adequate at this time. I just have to learn to be patient with myself. The post-apocalyptic civilization won’t be built in a day.

Yesterday I did more back-centric exercises while not neglecting (shoulders, bis n’ tris) coupled with core work. Completed this bad boy below in 52 minutes and 6 seconds:

Am doing lower body today and will follow up with that routine later this week.

Check out previous episodes here:

Episode 3
Episode 2
Episode 1

What does your workout routine look like?

 

Strength Training for the Zombie Apocalypse, Ep. 3

I’ve been working out every day. I promise I have.

I just don’t like pretending to be something I’m not. Like, how many more fitness personalities does the internet actually need?

About two or three years ago I came across an Instagram profile of one Sophie Gray (@wayofgray) and I was ultra inspired by her. Then came the folks at Bodyrock.tv with their 12-minute workouts, Jen Selter, Freelee the Banana Girl’s high carb low fat lifestyle (and through her, Kayla Itsines), and so on.

But in an attempt to be my best, most healthy self, I thoroughly screwed myself up.

I named these individuals as an example of how I personally viewed the rise of the Instagram and then YouTube health and wellness persona that has truly taken ideals of health and fitness by storm. One of my childhood friends is one of these #fitgirls, which is still super inspiring to me.

That isn’t the life I want to lead, though. Unless a support system is involved, and one is using their body and lifestyle as part of a brand or business (inclusive of the entertainment industry), I am not a huge fan of this hardcore, buzzword/hashtag-driven, pics-or-it-didn’t-happen sort of advertising. And yet here I am. Trying to have fun, trying to strengthen my body, attempting to offer discourse within all the clutter of what one “should” do and what is actually possible.

Last year, I took a Cancun vacation in August. From the moment I booked the trip that February, I worked to come up with the perfect diet and workout in order to have The Instagram-Worthy Beach Body™.

Well, I never got that body. I kid you not — I stayed the same size for the whole damn year. No matter how little I ate or how much time I spent in the gym, my body stayed the exact same size. The measuring tape did not budge one damn inch. I had a great time in Cancun, but I wasn’t at all pleased with how things turned out.

In contrast: this year, I formally exercise around 45 to 60 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week. I am actively working to cut that down to 30 to 45 minutes, 5 days a week. I am also a lot more relaxed on diet, but make sure to drink as close to three liters of water a day.

I don’t drink that much — maybe once every two weeks, but I’m considering lessening even that.

My sleep quality could improve, but I average six hours a night.

I also get really stressed sometimes, to the point that it physically manifests itself as edema or a rash of some kind, sometimes eye twitching (always fun).

I cry when I’m happy, sad, and angry. I let things get to me. I keep things inside. Sometimes I’m a hermit and don’t want to come out.

I’m not perfect, and will never advertise myself to be as such. “Do not be like me” would be my slogan of choice. That said, since I’ve just gone along with life instead of trying to control every move, I’ve lost eight to ten pounds. I feel more comfortable in my skin. I don’t count calories. I eyeball portions instead of measuring. I just try to exist at this point, and my body seems to like that a lot better than what it had previously been subjected to.

If I had to recommend anything, it would be that — stop trying so hard. Set your own standard and don’t feel badly for eating more than your macros, for sleeping in, for taking a leisurely walk around the block instead of lifting heavy weights. Work within the limits of your body. Push them a little if you can, because, I mean, the zombies are coming.

Function and strength is awesome — remember that.

But more importantly, remember that no one is going to give two shits whether you’re swole af or your thighs jiggle when the zpocalypse hits.

Check out previous episodes here:

Episode 2
Episode 1

And find me on Twitter — I’d love to hear from you!

Strength Training for the Zombie Apocalypse, Ep. 2

I’ve been putting off on writing this for a bit, largely because I’ve been feeling like a stranger in my body — a combination of hormonal fluctuations, giving in to dietary cravings, and not really caring whether or not looked good in a swimsuit over 4th of July weekend.

My favorite give-in as of late has been decompressing on the couch with a bowl of ice cream after a long day. The action itself has been great, I won’t lie; I’ve been loving it. 12/10, would do it again. But it’s been contributing to a re-creation of habits that I will gladly re-break if it means feeling more able and present.

TL;DR I’ve gotten comfortable and it just was so damn easy. But being dehydrated, sugar-saturated, and floppy long-term isn’t necessarily part of my dream board. Plus, getting comfortable is a death sentence during the zombie apocalypse.

That said, my workouts have been less about function and more about feeling better and able rather than making gains – aka cardio over progressive weight training. Neither one being right, neither one being wrong, but both to be used at one’s own discretion.

Here’s a 45-minute workout I did today, with warm up and cool down — starting with 3 rounds of the following  bodyweight circuit at 50 seconds of work with a 10 second rest (15 minutes):

Goblet squats
Step ups
Bear crawls
Diamond pushups
Static forearm plank

Followed by the following cardio sets  (30 minutes):

I0 sprinting intervals
20 minutes moderate cardio

I really enjoy the 45-minute workout in all its forms, largely because the “less time, more effort” approach seems to be both efficient and comprehensive. There’s those of us that want (or prefer) to spend hours time in the gym under florescent lights, and then there’s those of us who want (or prefer) to live life before the zombie apocalypse hits.

Thanks for tuning in to Episode 2 — Episode 3 will follow much sooner, I promise! If you haven’t “seen” Episode 1 yet, check it out here.

I’d love to hear what your favorite workouts are as of late — let me know in the comments and @ me on Twitter!