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Tag: The 3BG System

QnA: Rowing Machine vs Treadmill and Carb Cycling

Friday QnA with Strength Coach Drew Jamieson

Question: A buddy keeps telling me to carb cycle. Says I should only be eating carbs on days I workout to avoid getting fat and gain muscle. What is he talking about?

Jim Salter, Cleveland, Ohio

Carb CyclingAnswer: Carb cycling is a fancy term for tapering back carbs on certain days of the week and then consuming lots on other days to help maximize fat burning and muscle building.

While I agree that consuming more carbs on days you workout is a good idea this will come naturally if you follow the guidelines laid out in the 3BG System. During your pre and post workout window you are consuming carbs that you normally wouldn’t be eating on your off days because you aren’t hitting the gym.

In a way the 3BG System has some carb cycling built in, albeit a very basic and dummed down version.

Carb cycling has proven very useful for bodybuilders and figure athletes that are looking to get rid or the last 5-10 pounds. It’s a very analytic approach to getting your measurements and body fat exactly where you want them.

Having said that, for a beginner who’s looking to put on some muscle, gain strength and lose fat, tinkering with exact numbers, calories and percentages of your macro-nutrients would not be a good use of time. Carb cycling is tailored more for intermediate and advanced athletes that have been serious about working out for at least 2 years.

In summary: Eat good whole foods with a balance of carbs, fats and proteins and hit the gym hard with compound multi-joint exercises. Develop a solid consistency and show commitment to a plan that helps improve your physique. Then when you are ready to take things to the next level we can talk numbers.

 

Question: Rowing machine or treadmill? What’s the best for total body fat loss?

Fred Muse, Freeport, Maine

Rowing machine vs treadmillAnswer: When it comes to cardio you always want to look at total body involvement when possible. Unless you need to train a specific movement that is directly related to your sport (a sprinter would have no business rowing or swimming for example when he should be running) you should look at getting the best bang for your time- this is found by incorporating your whole body and movements with full range of motion when you train cardio.

This means that although jogging is a nice challenge for your legs, it doesn’t do much to involve your upper body.

Rowing is a better hybrid of upper and lower body movements and with the right tension and intensity I would put it ahead of a slow boring jog.

However, if you really want a good cardio workout you’ll involve both upper and lower forms of exercise that are both; fast and challenging. Things like explosive push ups, jumping jacks, burpees, shadowing boxing, swimming, rowing, medicine ball slams, medicine ball throws, and mountain climbers are all great full body cardio exercises that offer an intense challenge along with a total body effect.

The reason these are better is they give you an after-burn effect which allows you to burn fat hours after you have stopped working out. Movements like these also teach you to be more athletic, not to mention are more enjoyable (mentally at least) than a boring, monotonous steady form of cardio.

Instead of jogging on the treadmill, here’s a quick workout you can do:

Pick 2 to 3 of the above exercises and repeat each in a circuit for 20-40 seconds before moving onto the next exercise. Rest briefly between each exercise and complete 2-4 rounds, totaling approximately 10-15 minutes of work combined with the minor rest periods.

 
 
Even though this workout will take you a third of the time you would normally spend running on the treadmill, you’ll burn more fat, challenge your heart and save a ton time. Sounds good to me.

 

The questions, as always, were great again this week. Looking forward to it next Friday.

Stay Strong,

Drew

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20 Minute Ladder Workout

3BG Ladder WorkoutThis month’s 20 Minute Fat Blasting Circuit is called the 3BG Ladder Workout. It involves 3 total body exercises and all you need is a pull-up bar. So if you have one at home- it can be done there or get outside to your local park and use the monkey bars.

You’re going to perform the exercises one after the other in a circuit. You will start with one rep of each, then two, then three and so on until you reach 10 reps of each of the 3 exercises. You’ll go up the ladder but you won’t be coming down… not yet anyway.

Watch below as I struggle to complete this months 20 Minute Fat Blasting Circuit:
 

3BG Ladder Workout

 


 
Perform the following 3 exercises in circuit:
 

  • Drop Squat
  • Push-up
  • Pull-up**

 
**If you cannot perform a pull-up, do a body-weight row.

Complete all 3 exercises in circuit for 1 rep, then 2, then 3 all the up the ladder until you reach 10. Use proper form when completing each exercise and rest as needed.

In the video you’ll see me take my share of rest periods as I struggle through this months circuit. It took me 9 minutes and 53 seconds form start to finish. I did however just finish a workout of weighted dips, chin-ups and deadlifts right before, so my arms were pretty shot.

Regardless, see if you can beat my time.

Yours in health,

Sean

PS. Follow the link for more free workouts.

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Keeping a Workout Journal

Keeping A Workout JournalI hate when this happens…

It’s 10:20 pm and I just got back from a never miss a Monday session at the gym.

I know it’s late and the last minute workout tonight will probably keep me up an extra half-hour, which I guess isn’t that bad because I’m reading a great book called Golf’s Sacred Journey.

Sometimes life and a hectic schedule get in the way and you have to make time (even if it is a late night workout) to get the week started off on the right foot.

During the pump I came to a quick realization. I forgot what weight I was using last week for the Dumbbell Step Up exercise.

Don’t you hate when that happens? Especially when you go to pick a weight from the rack and within 2 seconds after starting the exercise you know that it’s too heavy. You’re only going to get a few reps in let alone finish the complete set with proper form.

What an idiot I was. Keeping a workout journal is such a simple concept in the 3BG System and I forgot. It’s so simple to do. It takes seconds to enter your weight load during rest periods and jot down how you are feeling that day.

Being able to look back on your week, pin-point areas where you might be feeling weak or areas where you feel you are improving is a huge part of knowing if you are heading towards your goal or moving away from it.

A workout log or journal can even be used to keep track of the foods you consume throughout the week. In fact, it might be useful in the grocery store next time around. Seriously though, whether you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle it helps to know exactly what you are putting in your mouth (more on this topic later).

Over the years I’ve seen a few ways to keep track.

Printed out sheets, clipboards, a small spiral note book and now even iphone’s or blackberry’s can store notes. Personally I’d recommend you leave the cell phone in the locker room as nobody needs to listen to you jibber-jabbering to your buddies between sets.

Whatever you decide be sure to get in the habit of doing it. You will pleasantly surprised a few weeks from now when you look back and see how far you have progressed.

All in all I learned two valuable lessons tonight:

1- Even the pros mess up… and

2- I was using 45s last week not 110s.

Go after it.

Jon

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The Gift of Change

 

Change and the Force of Nature

 
Change and the Forces of NatureIt seems that expressing my thoughts on transformation through change is facilitated somewhat by the fact that I am currently visiting relatives on the coast of Maine. The sights, sounds and smells of the Atlantic Ocean bring a sense of tranquility and relaxation.

It is hard to believe that within minutes the force of nature could change the peaceful landscape. I have experienced the fury and destruction caused by violent thunderstorms, high seas and even lived through a tornado that destroyed numerous cottages that were in its way.

Living on the ocean can be peaceful and yet very unpredictable, as far as the forces of nature go. We always need to be well prepared should nature decide to rear its nasty head and let us city folk feel its incredibly devastating power.

As I reflect more on what I have just expressed, I am fascinated with the idea that life itself is quite similar to the unpredictable forces of nature. From my vantage point, I would have to say that one of the things I love about life, besides “life” itself, is its unpredictability and all that this brings to our lives.
 

The Unpredictability of Change

 
One thing for sure is that none of us know what lies ahead. Unlike the weather, there is no technology to predict what is in store for us. And unless we decide to try to improve our lot in life by implementing a specific planned change (i.e. health/exercise program), we’re setting sail without our navigation systems turned on.

What I have come to learn over the years is the only security we truly have is the belief in our unique talents, our capabilities and ourselves. We all have the incredible resilience to make amazing comebacks, no matter the situation. Mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually- no challenge cannot be overcome.

Most of us will have ample opportunity to demonstrate a certain amount of courage in our lives. It is at these times whereby we grow immensely as a person, no matter our age. Personal struggle is often seen as an opportunity to change for the better. I have adopted an attitude or mind-set that any change whether it is a loss of a job, a life-threatening illness, a promotion, a job transfer, etc… can be an opportunity for personal growth and development.

There are many books written about adapting to change that outline key steps to take when encountering a new situation. I would like to give you my own perspective on this subject, together with a number of ideas and techniques that I have personally found useful along my journey of adapting to life changing events.
 

A Gift of Change

 
I have sought out the services of specialists in change management, been mentored and coached by one of the best in the field and have developed, through trial-and-error, my own techniques. This is why I can say without doubt that change, no matter what the type, should be looked at as the most invaluable “gifts” you will ever receive.

The very next time you encounter any change in your life, take this gift, unwrap it slowly and look for the special benefits that lie within. May I suggest that you be very patient as it sometimes takes days, weeks and even months to realize what the gift actually is. Once you have defined your gift, I recommend that you nurture it for all it is worth and document the benefits to life that gradually unfold over time.

Unfortunately there isn’t a way to escape the need to adapt to change. Whether it happens unexpectedly or is planned, you cannot hide from it. It must be dealt with.

I learned very quickly I had a better chance to capitalize on the benefits of change if I was operating from a position of strength. The process of change itself is an opportunity for personal growth and development. I found that new situations were what I needed to operate out of my comfort zone and grow. Doing this resulted in increased levels of self-esteem and self-confidence. If I had a set back, I learned from my mistakes and kept adapting.

As I reinforced above, the more we believe in ourselves, our unique talents, our special abilities and our competencies- the better the chance we have of benefiting from any forth coming changes.
 

Choose to Change

 
Even if the change is one we choose to make, and know is a good change; the transition from the old way to the new way is never easy. This certainly applies to starting up an exercise program. The advantage though is self-initiated changes give us the time to work out a strategy to ensure we gain maximum benefit.

I am sure that for many people, thinking about implementing change in their life as simple as an exercise/health program, can be like standing on the edge of a pool wanting to jump in and go for a swim but waiting for someone to push them in. Fear of the unknown or in this case, the idea of cold water, frequently blocks people from making the change they know will be beneficial in the long run.

Research shows that most successful change happens when the person looking towards potential benefits arising from the planned change initiates it. Do not be the one caught saying, “If only someone had pushed me”, when it may be too late. Jump right in and choose to change.

Below are steps to help initiate change with respect to improving your overall health/fitness (they can be applied to any aspect of life):

1. Recognize and agree upon the need for change. Draft a personal vision of how you want to feel and/or look like, following the completion of all facets of your health and exercise program.

2. Identify key people and resources that you will need to achieve your change.

3. Assess your need to change and your state of personal readiness.

4. State as clearly as possible specific reasons as to why you want to change. Describe what you want to change.

5. Set clear priorities and develop objectives and measurements for success.

6. Brainstorm what is actually stopping you from implementing your exercise program and evaluate each one as to whether or not they are real or merely imagined.

7. Describe what you know you could do, either on your own or with the encouragement and support of others i.e. personal trainer, clubs, Internet programs, websites, etc…

8. Make a personal commitment to take action.

9. Create a plan to ensure that your change is embedded and maintained.

10. Implement the change plan, celebrate successes and modify if need be.

 

The only way to ensure growth; both personally and professionally is to initiate change at opportune times in our life. Yes, the type and timing of change is relevant to any potential successes that may result from our efforts but regardless of whether we choose or it is chosen for us, we must embrace it. The only real security we have in today’s fast and ever changing world is the belief in ourselves, the belief we can do anything and be anything, no matter what life throws at us.

Keep changing, improving and do not settle for mediocrity. Change is a gift to be unwrapped, nurtured and implemented into our lives. Opportunities come to those who accept and adopt to change. Those that sit around, wait and complain will be left behind.

To your success,

Coach Mike

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