Tag Archive: heart rate

I asked Leslie to spend a session with me just leading me through all the basic TRX exercises – showing me the ropes, as it were.  This way I can feel confident using it at home for whatever I need at the time. (We weren’t using a TRX at the studio, that is a brand name, but same thing basically.)

This workout is a little different, we just tried out all the movements we could, some of them were easier than others.  I figured we could take pictures, I have visual aids on hand when I want to see how it should look when I am at home; Les could check my form, give me pointers.  Win win.

We did:

Chest Press (a pushup)

Clock Press (a one arm pushup, free arm sticks straight out to the side)

clock press

clock press



Low Rows (arms by waist)

High Rows (arms by shoulders, 90 degrees)

Biceps Curl (lean back, curl yourself forward)

Triceps Press  (lean forward, elbows by temples, press back up)

Y Fly (reverse fly with arms in Y shape)

Y Fly

Y Fly

Clutch Curl (pull with your biceps like you are hugging something)

Triceps Press with a reverse grip (palms facing in, much harder)

W Fly (reverse fly, arms bent)

W Fly

W Fly

Hip press (lie on back, push butt straight up, this is hard!)

Hamstring Curl (lie down, bring knees to chest)



Single Leg Squat

Torso Rotation (hold with one hand, lean back, curl other side of body up, wasn’t a big hit with me)

Core Work

Core Work

Crunch (plank position, bring in knees)

Side Plank (hard!)

Pike (uh… gettin rather hard for me, Leslie you do it!)



Mountain Climber (alternate bringing knees in, optional hip thrust up if you wish)

Supermans (lean forward, arms straight over head, like how Superman flies)

Chest Stretch

Hip Openers

Quad stretches (I liked these)


One thing to remember when using the TRX, keep your core hard and your arms flexed, or else you fall forward and strangle yourself with your own bodyweight…



OK! Now, as I promised to discuss the other day, how long should you workout? Super fit people often do HIIT (high intensity intervals), AKA XX seconds going all out, then xx seconds resting. You can get your total workout done in 15 min! Everyone should do it right?

NO. HIIT is not for everyone. People just starting out, morbidly obese people, older people, people with bad joints, out of shape people… HIIT is unnecessarily tough on you. Maybe you get through the 15 min of craziness not injuring yourself, but you wipe yourself out so hard you go home and sleep for the rest of the day! How many calories do you burn lying in a broken heap? Don’t slaughter yourself in the gym then lay comatose in your house, surrounded by junk food and burning little to no calories.

Super fit people can do HIIT, then go lead an active or at least normal day. But the unfit or the newbies can reap much greater benefit out of LISS (low intensity steady state), AKA go for a walk for a couple of hours or a bike ride for an hour or something similar. You won’t blow out your knees, and you will still be able to act normal and do normal things for the rest of your day.

Daily caloric burn is also a function of your life, not just your gym time. Look at it this way. Let’s say you are 40 years old, super heavy, let’s say 350 pounds, out of shape, bad joints. Not horrible joints, but not strong joints. Underdeveloped muscles, not able to handle a ton of exercise. You burn about 2,500 calories a day just living your life, doing your job, maintaining your house, breathing, whatever. You have 2 options:

Option A – HIIT, do some tabata interval training for 15 min

Option B – LISS – go for a walk for an hour

Option A – you do some crazy tabata, 85% max heart rate, using the formula from calories-calculator.net, in 15 min you burn … 318 calories! 15 min work, 318 calories! score! You don’t hurt yourself, but you are badly winded, your lungs burn. You go home, take a nap. You end up lazing around for the rest of the day because you have a crackle in your lungs when you inhale, your daily burn of living your life is only let’s say 2000 calories instead, you are pretty close to immobile most of the day, laying on the couch for 7 or 8 hours. Total burn for the day: 2,318 calories!

Option B – you go walk the dog, then go for a brisk walk yourself, total walk time is an hour. Not strenuous but you huff and puff a little bit, maybe break a light sweat, 50% of your max heart rate. Using the calculator from above, you burned… 927 calories! You got a much better burn rate from Option A in a much shorter time, but after the walk you feel mildly energized, you do your chores, get your work done, you hit your “living your life” burn of 2,500 calories for the day. Total burn for the day: 3,427 calories!

You get my point? HIIT only works if it doesn’t burn you out. If you are quite out of shape, HIIT often does not make sense. Everyone is different and you have to find the routine that fits for YOU.

Next time I will discuss how much anaerobic work to do (aka how much to work your muscles).  See ya!

dealing with a bad day

Some days things just don’t seem to be going your way.

I woke up on Monday (aren’t they always Mondays?), and was dog tired, maybe even fighting off something, a bug or something.  I postponed my workout until the evening (first bad decision), and went to work.  Crossing the street this guy takes a hard right and almost runs me over, cursing and flipping me off as he does so.  Wouldn’t that be a good way to die?  Smooshed on the street right in front of your office building?

they let the intern organize my funeral

Enter my building, take the elevator up, 2 people in there, man and a woman.  Right as I step out of the elevator and am walking down the hall, he mutters to her, “Some days I wish I had a .22 with a silencer.”  She laughs.  And in my head I am thinking, “why did he wait until I stepped out? was he talking about me? why am I just being dogged today?”

Yeah, one of those days nothing seems to be going your way.  By the end of the day I was miserable, bordering on angry.  Irritable, maybe a touch of sad.  Some days you just get the blues and become very irritable to boot.

I came home, and just stewed.  After a few hours, I was just pissed off.  Everyone has those days, just frustrated at everything.  You don’t know how to handle these feelings, they are antisocial, improper.  You want to be alone, but as you sit alone you just get more cheesed off.

In the past, I would handle these days by playing video games, loading up on junk food, yelling at my screen until I got tired, and go to sleep exhausted and bloated with pizza and soda and what have you.

I am in better shape now.  But I still don’t know how to handle a slow-building rage, noone does.  I decided to go exercise.  I couldn’t go to yoga class, it would calm me down a ton, but I wouldn’t be good company.

I decided to make up for the gym session I missed in the morning (good decision!)  At the gym I could be alone and just grind out the burn until I worked the grumpiness out of my system.  I headed out to an all-night gym.  Got there about 9:30 pm.

chest & tri:

cardio warmup 5 min on the arc trainer

dumbbell presses (2 min rest):  55 x 21, 65 x 12, 75 x 8, 85 x 6, 85 x 6, 75 x 10, 65 x 12, 55 x 11

pec dec (30 sec rest):  130 x 23, 11, 6

two-handed dumbbell extension (30 sec rest):  75 x 13, 7, 3, 5, 2

pushdown machine (1 min rest):  170 x 10, 10, 7

cardio cooldown 10 min on the arc trainer

notes:  I was tired, it was the end of a long day.  I was also very distracted with all of my gripes.  I was able to pull it together for the sets, but between exercises, I needed slightly more time to cool off.  The gym was busy, which made it ambitious to monopolize the dumbbells like that, but thankfully it was a more casual crowd, and they weren’t messing with much past the 60 pound dumbbells.


less popular than the barbell, the dumbbell flat press remains an excellent exercise

Normally I go up 10 pounds if I can squeeze out 6 reps, but with the 85s, the 6th rep felt REEALLLY shaky, I was good until about 75% of the way up, then control was not all there.  I DID squeeze out the 6th rep, but I didn’t feel confident about it, so I compromised.  Instead of going up to the 95s, I did a second set of the 85s before climbing back down the ladder.  As far as I am concerned, form is everything, and if I can’t do 6 good reps, then I didn’t do 6 reps.

On the way back down the dumbbell weights, I actually did better on the 75s than on the way up, so I was happy about that.  But by the time I made it back down to the 55s, my left shoulder was plain tuckered out, so I couldn’t do more than 11.

The pec dec in this gym had free moving handles!  Oh glorious day!  The flys felt much more natural, and as a result I did slightly better than last week.

You can see with the tricep extensions that I struggled with the weight.  I rallied and hit my rep goal though, so it only gets harder.

Check out Scott Herman, he is pretty awesome and has a ton of youtube videos to watch.

My triceps were tired, so I went to a pushdown machine, and finished myself off.

For the cooldown cardio, I noticed the arc trainer in this gym felt different on similar settings than what I am used to, that is the thing with new gyms, speed 7 or incline 9 doesn’t mean the same thing between sets of treadmills or arc trainers or whatever.  I found incline 16 and resistance 60 worked quite well for me here.  On the plus side, the heart rate monitors worked!  Hooray!

I checked my heart rate every 5 minutes to see what my burn was.  After 5 min I had a pulse rate of about 145, which is the upper end of the aerobic zone for me.  I decided to go harder.  At minute 10 I was about 160, upper end of the anaerobic zone for me.  That is pretty much as hard as I should go, and by this point it was almost 11 pm, so I called it a day and went home.

On the way home I stopped at an all-night pizza place and had a slice of vegetarian pizza and a diet coke, haha.  Dirty calories!  But it was a crap day and I felt like I earned it *halo*  by the time I laid down to sleep, I was actually feeling much better.  I felt like I had dealt with my negative emotions in a constructive way, and that’s how you gotta do it.  Just exercise.

Later guys!