As the weeks and
months went by, I literally felt my body change and my strength increase.
After a few months, I bench pressed 220lbs. A year later I hit 265lbs
and then I hit a roadblock. As I learned more about training and nutrition,
I was able to make some more changes and was back on the road to progress.
My bodyweight reached a solid 180lbs. I actually had a chest now and
my stomach flattened out. In addition, my energy and confidence went
through the roof. I had caught the fitness bug and spent much of my
free time studying different methods to improve my energy and strength.
A few years
later I learned the truth about the dairy and egg industries and
decided to go vegan. Although it was difficult in the beginning,
I soon discovered that there are a great number of delicious foods
to feast on and I adapted quickly. Becoming a vegan had a profound
effect on my training. Soon after going vegan, my bench press excelled
past 315lbs and I noticed that I recovered much faster. In addition,
my body fat went down and I put on ten pounds of lean muscle in
a few months.
years later, I continue to follow a vegan diet and my training continues
to get better every year. Over the last two years I decided to move
away from standard weightlifting exercises such as bench pressing
and curling and focus more on functional strength training.
combine bodyweight exercises with kettlebell lifting. A kettlebell
looks like a bowling ball with a handle and is great for both rapid
and slow movements. For more information on kettlebell training,
go to www.dragondoor.com.
I use a kettlebell handle that I purchased from www.fractionalplates.com
that allows one to load it with 10lb plates up to 110lbs. This combination
of bodyweight exercises and kettlebell training is much more functional
than standard bodybuilding exercises and in my opinion much more
enjoyable. I do Kettlebell lifting three times a week and bodyweight
exercises 2-3 times a week. Here is an example of my workout week:
I always start
off each workout with a wrestler's back bridge (go to www.mattfurey.com
for information on how to bridge) I hold the bridge for three to
five minutes. This exercise really stretches my spine and energizes
me for my workout. I have been doing it for two years and as a result
never suffer from lower back pain.
Next I move
on to the kettlebell one arm military presses. Since my left arm
is slightly weaker than my right arm, I always start each set with
my left arm when it is fresh. I warm up each arm with a 50lb kettlebell
and do three reps. From there, I move on to my working sets:
take sixty-second breaks between each set (after completing reps
for both arms)
Next, I do several
sets of the kettlebell snatch to work my back, speed, and coordination.
The snatch involves
grabbing the kettlebell from the floor and in one swift motion taking
the weight overhead. I recommend strongly Pavel Tsatsouline's "Russian
Kettlebell Challenge" video for proper execution of all KB
lifts. You can learn more about this video at www.dragondoor.com
After doing a few warm up sets with a 60lb KB, I move up to 90lbs
and do three sets of ten.
Similar to my
kettlebell workouts, I always start my bodyweight workouts with
the wrestler's bridge. Again, I hold this position for three-five
minutes. Next, I move on to full range handstand pushups between
two chairs. I use two sturdy dinning room table chairs and place
them about a foot and a half apart and about two feet away from
a wall. From there I kick into a handstand on top of the chairs
and place my feet firmly against the wall. I breathe in as I lower
my body to the floor and hold my breath as I press back up to the
starting position. Holding my breath keeps my body tight and strong
during the pressing portion of the exercise. I do five sets of five.
Handstand Pushups, I do one-legged squats and ab wheel rollouts
from my feet. One-legged squats are an incredible exercise for functional
leg strength as well as for increasing balance and focus. To start,
hold one leg slightly in front of you and place your arms straight
in front of you for balance. As you lower your body, bend down and
turn slightly to the leg that you are holding out. Breathe in as
you go down and breathe out as you come up. Be sure to keep your
arms in front of you during the entire range of motion and look
straight ahead. These take a while to learn, so do not be frustrated
if you cannot even manage one in the beginning (I will be writing
an article on how to progress on one legged squats in the future).
I do five sets of five one-legged squats.
For ab rolls,
I use an ab roller that you can get at any Target or Walmart for
less than $10.00. If you are not familiar with this device, it looks
like a small bicycle wheel with a handle on each side. To do full
range ab rolls, start the exercise on your fee and roll the wheel
as far out as you can. If this is too difficult, start off on your
feet and gradually progress to a standing roll out. This is a fantastic
exercise for lean, solid, and functional abs
I do some light stretching and call it a day. All of my workouts
take less than 45 minutes and most are around 30 minutes.
Next, I will
get into what I eat on a daily basis and when to eat what to maximize
fat burning, muscle building, and workout performance.
has been a strength athlete for over ten years and is available
for phone consultations. If you would like more information on a
personalized strength training and nutrition program to address
your needs or to set up a one time "free phone consultation",
please email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call him at 703-259-4471.