The Get Micah Ready For Hawaii Project is officially over so I know the question on everyone’s mind is: How did he do? One word: Great! Here’s a breakdown of the results along with an explanation of the method to the madness:
Let’s go over Micah’s goals again: To get more defined abs and pecs (which translates into: Lose body fat (specifically in the abdominal area) and gain some muscle mass so he can have more sculpted pecs and abs). But before that, watch the final video!
My initial plan (as you can remember from our introductory video) was to start out with three weeks of muscular endurance and interval training followed by strength and hypertrophy training. This ended up changing a bit as we started to work together.
I decided to focus primarily on posture. All of us have muscular imbalances that throw off our posture in one way or another. I’d say the most common postural issues we see nowadays are hunched over shoulders from sitting at the computer all day as well as super tight hip flexors or super tight hamstrings (or both) from sitting all day which tilt our pelvises either forward or backward. These issues can all cause crazy things to happen up and down the body and until those issues are addressed, I believe it is irresponsible to throw in super heavy in an effort to “get big pecs”.
When we started training, Micah was hunched over with rounded shoulders. This caused his upper/mid-back muscles to be lengthened and his chest and lats to be really tight (but not necessarily strong). In order for Micah to have stand-out pecs, we first had to get his shoulders and chest to open up and his back to get a bit stronger.
Micah’s pelvis also happens to be rotated forward a bit. This usually causes a few things: stretched out hamstrings, stretched out abs and a really scrunched up low back. In order to try to pull that pelvis into a more neutral position, we had to focus on strengthening his core and hamstrings. With two sessions per week together for a relatively short amount of time, I chose to focus primarily on his upper body, core stability and keeping his heart rate up to maximize the calorie burn.
This kind of work takes longer than the seven weeks we had but I think you can see a pretty great postural difference in these pictures (I added black lines to trace his alignment from his ear to his hips so you can see the progress more clearly; you ultimately want a straight line down from ear to shoulder to hip):
So with all that said, here are Micah’s numerical results!
· 4 lbs lost – ALL BODY FAT!
· Down to 13.85% body fat which is less than 1% away from going from a “fitness” level to “athlete” level!
· Skin fold testing showed losses at all sites but the most significant loss was at the abdominal site (4 mm lost).
· Circumference testing showed 2 inches lost around his waist, 2 inches lost around his hips and 2.5 inches gained around his chest!
Muscle mass remained the same before and after which means Micah did a great job with his nutrition (specifically post-workout) so that his lean muscle could recover after workouts and not break itself down (see this post for an explanation). Micah’s fat loss and postural corrections alone make Micah’s pecs and abs stand out more than they did seven weeks ago.
Should Micah decide he wants to get more buff, I would suggest that he continue with the interval training to get even lower in body fat but to slowly add in more intense strength training coupled with a stricter diet heavier on the lean protein and choosy on the carbs and fat.
I hope these last 7 weeks have proven that the way to get a six pack and pecs does not happen by doing pushups and crunches all day. Putting together a program that addresses the individual’s needs and wants is tricky and I believe it is best to consult with a fitness professional before embarking on any new fitness regimen so you can avoid injury and get the results you want!
I hope you’ve enjoyed these last few weeks as much as I have. If you’d like to know more about IzzyFit Personal Training and how personal training might benefit you, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-497-8999.
We're at The Final Countdown! One more week to train until Micah's off to Hawaii! This means we need to get the biggest bang for our buck during the hour-long sessions we have left to help Micah lose fat and gain muscle. Here's how we're doing it: straight-up metabolic training. Metabolic training is essentially working with intervals. Very simply put, the combination of doing exercises with some intensity (low/moderate/high depending on how fit the individual is) followed by specific periods of rest can lead the body to a state of "oxygen debt". This makes the body work ultra hard AFTER the workout to get back to its resting state which means the body will need to burn calories until it gets there. This can sometimes take up to 48 hours. Talk about getting the biggest bang for your buck! (By the way, this is formally called EPOC: excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.)
Intervals have been our bread and butter since Week 1. They can be done in a variety of ways including:
The great thing about interval training is that it can be done by anyone! The key is to know the appropriate intensity, work:rest ratio and proper exercises so that your training doesn't lead to injury. Done improperly, interval training can be incredibly harmful, so always seek out the opinion of a health professional before you incorporate this into your workout regimen.
Speaking of injuries: everyone needs to avoid them (duh) so getting a good dynamic warmup in and incorporating "maintenance" exercises (like the tube internal and external rotations at the beginning of the video) are super important. High-intensity exercise takes a toll on the body so it needs some TLC before jumping into the meat of the workout. Cool downs and stretching post-workout are also key.
The next video will be the final one and in that blog entry I'll outline the complete method to the madness. In the meantime, enjoy Weeks 5 & 6!
Week 4 of the Micah Project is actually a mashup of pre-Christmas and pre-New Year's workouts. As you all know, Micah's goals are to get more defined and bigger pecs and 6-pack abs. If you asked the general population how they might achieve those goals, you'd probably hear "lots of crunches and pushups". And while you might see a lot of core exercises (not so many crunches) and chest exercises, there is a lot more to think of in order to achieve these goals. (And, BTW, crunches will not get you 6-pack abs. More on that next week.) Here are a few things I like to keep in mind when training Micah:
POSTURE: I like to do an equal amount of back exercises to chest exercises with Micah because he doesn't have the best posture (the ratio is usually 1:1 and sometimes 2:1 back:chest). Doing chest exercises alone would aggravate that hunched-over position Micah tends to carry himself in which would pretty much hide Micah's pecs completely in the long run. As you'll see, we alternated bench presses with rows, pushups with lat pulldowns.
SHOULDER HEALTH: Micah had a shoulder injury some years ago and his shoulder acts up from time to time. If anyone wants a stronger upper body, they HAVE to focus on keeping their shoulders as healthy as possible. Micah and I spend a lot of time with shoulder stability and mobility exercises (seen in the stability ball circle and plank to rotation exercises, among others).
TOTAL BODY EXERCISES: In order for someone to see more defined muscles, they need to melt some fat! One of the best things you can do to get to that goal is to incorporate some total body movements. Some of my favorites are single arm dumbbell cleans to presses and kettlebell swings.
Without further ado, here is Week 4!
I left Micah with a few tasks while I went on holiday: 1. Keep working out; 2. Don't completely overload on yummy Christmas food; and 3. Please write a guest blog because I think people would love to get your side of the story. Micah rules because he did it all! Without further ado, here is Micah's blog entry! Enjoy!
"When I began working with Izzy I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew is that I really wanted to get in shape and I needed a jump-start.
Honestly I’ve never had a girl train me and I had my reservations. But, why wouldn’t I? I’ve worked out plenty of times on my own and have seen people give up when things got hard. That’s just not me. In fact, I'm the opposite! I’ll set some stationary row machine to a setting and tell myself that I’ll go hard for 10 minutes and try to keep it above whatever number. Well, when things get going I’ll find myself push those numbers up and increase the difficulty level and time. By the end I’m exhausted and loving it. I knew I didn't need someone to push me that way but I did want some guidance before my upcoming trip to Hawaii.
Here are some things Izzy has taught me or reinforced in my mind so far:
I’m only 3 ½ weeks into a 6-7 week workout plan and I can see Izzy’s wisdom. When I wanted to go full speed she slowed me down and made me focus on form. She was building up tendon and ligament strength that I wouldn’t have done on my own. I probably would have also sustained an injury or two, but she has kept me away from that. She has revved the engine and now we are beginning to hit the weights! I’m beginning to see results and it’s pretty exciting.
It’s been a blast so far!