Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cycle 19 - Results and a big change in my workout routine

Hey guys,

I've finished cycle 19 and I decided to make a change in my routine. The next 30 days I will use a totally different workout design to give my results a boost, because I feel like my body got used to my current workouts and therefore it needs a change to overcome the plateau. My plan is to use German volume training for a 30 day cycle and, afterwards, I will come back to my current workout design. GVT is a method that is capeable to bulk you up very fast without the use of drugs (I'll publish an article about GVT next monday).

Here are the results of cycle 19:

Area 1: My Convict Conditioning results

This week I have only done kneeling push ups (30/30/18), flat bent leg raises (30/30/20) on day 1 and half handstand push ups (7/7/7) on day 7.

Area 2: Not CC related workouts

I did 50 box jumps and 200 squats on day 3 and several pull ups on day 3 and 5. On day 6 I did 10 sets of 5-10 reps leg press (pyramid up to 705 lbs [320 kg]).

Area 3: HIIT cardio

No HIIT this week. But I accomplished a 3.5 mile run on day 2.

Area 4: The 30 Day Push-Up Challenge

Day 29: 145 push-ups
Day 30: 150 push-ups


That's all!

Cheers,
Andi

Monday, June 24, 2013

Half Handstand Push Ups - Video + exercise descriptions

Hey guys,

After a long period of getting used to the invert position (see Wall Headstands) and gaining enough balance (see Crow Stands) and strength (see Wall Handstands) to master handling your whole bodyweight on your arms only, it's finally time to start with the actual exercise - The Handstand Push Up. To begin with hspu I advise you to do Half Handstand Push Ups first, as you will still need to add more power to your shoulder muscles to perform the full range-of-motion of the exercise. I can tell you from my own experience with this exercise that it's a real feats of strength and bearly seen in a gym, so it might be possible that you get some attention from other gym members who are confused to see you doing this. Most people train their shoulders with press exercises, where you lift a weight (dumbbell, barbell, kettlebell) over your head, but there are few people who are able to press weights equivalent to their own bodyweight, which is actually what you do by performing hspu (and you gained the strength for starting with it through the preliminary exercises). By practicing half hspu your upper body strength and your balance will continue to increase rapidly and this will make a huge difference in appearence, strength for other exercises and health of your muscles, joints and tendons at your arms, neck and shoulders. It's vitally important that you don't overestimate yourself by doing hspu. If you feel that you aren't ready for them, do the previous steps for one more month to get a safer feeling. If you feel that your muscles get tired during the exercise stop immediately, because muscle failure could be dangerous as you are upside down and I guess you don't want to crash on the floor with your face first. You don't have to start with a big range of motion, just do a small one in the beginning and increase it from session to session.

Let's start with the how-to-perform explanation:


The first part is similar to normal wall handstands: At first you have to find a solid wall or tree stem (you can use the same as you already used for wall headstands). Get down on all fours and place your palms about shoulder-width apart on the floor (approx. 6-10 inches from the wall). Your arms should be extended. Now bring the knee of your stronger leg close to your corresponding elbow and straighten out the weaker leg. Push down with the strong leg and kick the other leg simultaneously in the air. Both legs should now move up in the direction of the wall. After your feet touched the wall, straighten your legs until your body is aligned. Breathe easy through your nose. The contact with the wall should be with your heels only (the body is slightly curved in the pose).
Now comes the actual push part: Just bend slowly at the shoulders and elbows until your head is halfway towards the ground. Pause for a second and push yourself up slowly to the start position. Repeat the movement as often as possible (up to the requested amount). If you can't manage to hit the target instantly just do 2 sets of as many reps as possible and try to add a rep every session until you are able to manage the target reps. As it may happen that you get problems with your shoes "sticking" to the wall (depending on the surface of the wall) you have two options to avoid this. Firstly, at some surfaces it could help to do the exercises with socks only (they "slip" better along some walls as shoes do) or, secondly, you try to get a bit off the wall with your feet during the push part (as it would be, if done without the support of a wall).


Target: 2 sets of 20 reps


When you don't feel ready for handstand push ups yet, but the wall handstand already became an easy exercise for you, you may have the feeling of doing a step in between those exercises. If this is the case, you can do Inverted Shoulder Presses to gain more strength in your upper body. I also add this exercise after performing half hspu to squeeze the last power out of my shoulders and triceps (it's not as risky as hspu are when your muscles are already tired).

As I'm just writing an article for my blog and not a whole book about hspu, I won't describe the whole exercise but show it to you in a video. Just take care about a straight back and do 10-20 reps per set.


Last to say: I really love doing handstand push ups and I bet you will as well!

Cheers,
Andi

Friday, June 21, 2013

"The LLA-Method - How to get really healthy, fit and sexy for a lifetime" - Release of my new ebook about strength and cardio training!

Hey guys,

today I've released my new kindle ebook "The LLA-Method - How to get really healthy, fit and sexy for a lifetime Part II: Strength and Cardio Training" on amazon for a really affordable price ($3.99)! I've already published this book in German and now it's time to present you the strength and cardio part in English as well! I'd translated it on my own and I want to take the chance to thank my amazing proofreaders Eric Kitei, Drew Jarrett, Christen Madison and Gerard Christenhusz for helping me to adjust the language stuff so that it becomes a proper read for you!

Still content is king, so here are some information about the topics of the book that can help you to get the physique you want:

The LLA-Method is a fitness and nutrition concept, developed by graduated sport scientist Andreas Heller (author of www.andisfitnessblog.com). "Part 2: Strength and Cardio Training" aims to provide you with comprehensive and well-founded knowledge about the fundamentals of strength and cardio training, written in a compact manner.  First off, the book introduces important knowledge about strength training with some of its varieties (e.g. workouts with free weights, kettlebells etc.). Afterwards the field of "Kettlebell Workouts" is covered with more in-depth information and a very effective and time saving full body kettlebell circuit will be presented to you (including pictures).  In the following chapter HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) as the “royal road of cardio training” will be described (including possible workout designs). The final chapter provides you with some tips on how you can implement the LLA-Method easily into your life and you can find some additional tips for daily life fitness. “The LLA-Method Part II: Strength and Cardio Training“ can help you to improve your life by showing how you can get really healthy, fit and sexy for a lifetime. Do yourself a big favor and read this book! Last to say: Have fun in your better new life…

The LLA-Method - How to get really healthy, fit and sexy for a lifetime Part II: Strength and Cardio Training

 
 
If you want more information you could find a short excerpt of the book on HealthMeUp (one of the major fitness and health websites in India)! 
 
Please find below some pre-release reviews and reviews from the German version:
 
Steve from hoylesfitness.com: "I read this book over the weekend and enjoyed the variety of content on offer. Explaining a mixture of kettlebells, bodyweight and weight training, the book provides an insight into exercise without making outrageous claims. If you are new to exercising and looking for a good start guide, look no further!"  
 
Sven (Germany): "Very rich in information and easy to read. The book has shown me the failures of my former workouts and helped me to improve it. Special thanks to the author!"
 
Suse (Germany): "As a fitness beginner I received some tips through the book which I directly implemented to my workouts. It showed me the benefits of kettlebell training and gave me a better understanding of it. The cardio part was also very interesting. I could read this book in one go, because it is not filled with useless stuff but gets straight down to the nitty-gritty."
 
Marion (Germany): "My husband bought this book and is very satisfied with it. He read the book more than once and can highly recommend it!"
 
Get a copy here to improve your life:
US: amazon .com ($ 3.99)
UK: amazon .co.uk (£ 2.99)
India: amazon .in (Rs. 240)
 
Cheers,
Andi
 


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cycle 18 - Results of CC, non-CC, HIIT and Push Up Challenge

Hey guys,

Results, results, results...Cycle 18 is finished...That week I haven't done a lot but as you know, consistency is what counts most (and, at least, I did a few workouts)...

Area 1: My Convict Conditioning results

This week I have done only kneeling push ups (30/25/22) and flat bent leg raises (30/21/22) once (day 1).
Nothing else...(due to a lack of time).

Area 2: Not CC related workouts

On day 4 I did my kettlebell circuit and on day 8 I did 50 box jumps and 50 squats.

Area 3: HIIT cardio

I did 30 minutes of HIIT cardio once that week. I'd just warmed up 6-7 minutes and added some sprints, uptempo runs, hill runs and stair sprints as high-intensity intervals until I'd filled the 30 minutes.

Area 4: The 30 Day Push-Up Challenge

Day 21: 115 push-ups
Day 22: 120 push-ups
Day 23: 125 push-ups
Day 24: REST
Day 25: 130 push-ups
Day 26: 135 push-ups
Day 27: 140 push-ups
Day 28: REST

That's all for cycle 18....up to the last days of the push up challenge!

Btw.: Tomorrow my new ebook is going to be released on amazon! Will tell you more tomorrow!

Cheers,
Andi

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tortilla de verduras - Super healthy and delicious low-carb meal

Hey guys,

Summer's here and I bet some of you like having a picnic every now and then. If you are wondering what would be an awesome dish to take with you, try a tortilla de verduras! It's super healthy, low in carbs, high in proteins, fibres and antioxidants (due to the vegetables inside). Tortilla de verduras is really an awesome dish that could be eaten as a main dish, appetizer or you let it cool down and take it with you to a picnic.


Ingredients:



- 1 eggplant
- 4 garlic cloves
- 10 dried tomatoes (in oil)
- 1 bell pepper (yellow/orange or red)
- 7-10 eggs
- olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- some herbs (if you like)


Preparation:
Preheat an oven to 300° F (approx. 150° C). Cut the eggplant into slices and put them on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Now wash the bell pepper, cut it into stripes and place them onto the baking sheet as well. Afterwards cut the garlic in thin slices and spread them on the eggplant and pepper pieces (make sure that there is at least one slice of garic on each slice of eggplant).
 

Slide the baking sheet into the oven and leave it there for approx. 15 minutes (until the eggplant is ligthly browned). Now cover the eggplant and the bell pepper with aluminum foil and cook it for 10 more minutes. Now take the baking sheet out of the oven. Cut the eggplant slices, pepper stripes and the dried tomatoes into small pieces, put them into a preheated sauté pan and stir-fry them with some olive oil. Crack the eggs  into a bowl. Add salt and pepper (and the herbs) to taste and beat them until they turn a pale yellow color. Pour the eggs slowly into the pan with the vegetables and let the egg mixture coagulate at low heat.

 
Use a spatula to loosen and lift the edges of the tortilla (the mixture), allowing the uncooked egg mixture to run underneath.When the egg mixture is fairly set and browned underneath, put a plate on the tortilla, turn it and let the other side coagulate as well. When the tortilla turned golden brown, pierce the top with a knife to make sure that it is cooked all the way through and slide it out of the pan on a plate.


 

You can enjoy it warm or cold as a snack, appetizer or main dish.

Cheers,
Andi

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cycle 17 - Results of CC, non-CC, HIIT and Push Up Challenge

Hey guys,

It's time to present you the results of cycle 17. This time I'll keep the post short and simple as there weren't any special trainings or so that week.

Area 1: My Convict Conditioning results


Still improving...

Area 2: Not CC related workouts

On day 3 I added my kettlebell circuit training to the CC routine. During the next week I'll start to post a series about kettlebell exercises and the benefits of working out with a kettlebell here at my blog! I hope you'll enjoy it! On day 5 I did 100 spiderman push ups to cover ab workout and the demanded push ups from the 30 day challenge at once. On day 6 I made several pull ups (different varieties), barbell rotations (the exercise recommended by Steve Hoyles, remember?) and 10 sets of 5-10 reps leg press (pyramid up to 620 lbs [280 kg])...afterwards I had a terrible muscle soreness at my butt...but variation in workout routines leads to even better results, so I'm fine with the sore muscles.

Area 3: HIIT cardio

I did 30 minutes of HIIT cardio twice that week. I'd just warmed up 6-7 minutes and added some sprints, uptempo runs, hill runs and stair sprints as high-intensity intervals until I'd filled the 30 minutes.

Area 4: The 30 Day Push-Up Challenge

Day 13: 85 push-ups
Day 14: 90 push-ups
Day 15: 95 push-ups
Day 16: REST
Day 17: 100 push-ups
Day 18: 105 push-ups
Day 19: 110 push-ups
Day 20: REST

That's all for cycle 17.

Cheers,
Andi

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jackknife Pulls - Video + exercise descriptions

Hey guys,

Today I'll explain a very useful preliminary pull up exercise to you - The Jackknife Pulls. If you wanna get serious about performing full pull ups one day and haven't got enough power to do at least 5 slow reps of full pull ups yet, you should invest some time in this exercise. It has a lot of similarities with regular pull ups, even though jackknife pulls are way easier! This exercise will (especially if you perform it with the 2-1-2 cadence) help you to develop enough strength in your upper back and biceps to enable you to go further in your pull up progression process. The movement is quite similar with normal pull ups, but it's just half as hard, because some of the power to pull yourself up comes from the support of your legs/heels. This fact causes another big advantage of this exercise, in particular when you care about your joints and tendons at your elbows and shoulders. While they have to carry all of your bodyweight during regular pull ups, the stress they have to endure is less when performing jackknife pulls. They get the needed time to adapt and strengthen, so that they eventually are able to withstand the upcoming stress of full pull ups (after you are able to perform the target reps with the mentioned movement speed). Just give this exercise a go before you do full pull ups (btw. just because you are strong enough to do full pull ups doesn't necessarily mean that your whole body is capable of resist the load!).

Let's start with the the how-to-perform explanation: 


First off, you have to find a horizontal bar that allows you to sit below it in a jackknife position (L-position) when you hold on it (use an overhand grip) with your arms shoulder-width apart and almost straight (your butt should be slightly above the ground). You can use a Smith machine (like I did in the video) for example or you use a normal high bar with an object situated in front of it, that allows you to place your heels on it, so that you end up in the jackknife position by hanging on the bar with your arms almost straight and your legs fully straigthened out. Now pull yourself up slowly until your chin passes the bar (2 sec). Support this movement part by pushing down with the power of your legs (through your heels). Hold the finish position for a second and lower yourself down slowly and controlled until you reach the start position again (2 sec). Repeat the movement without a rest. If you can't manage to meet the target instantly (which is probably the case), do as much reps as possible each set, until you can do the requested amount. Be careful if you use a high bar and an object for performing the exercise! In this case always stop the exercise and get down safely before muscle failure (you should avoid to fall down with your butt first).

Remember to keep your shoulders tight all the time (as mentioned in the post about the vertical pulls)!


Target: 3 sets of 20 reps


Let's do it to come closer to the full pull ups!

Cheers,
Andi

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hot Plums with Almonds - Another Dessert for Gourmets

Hey guys,

Plums are great...I love them. They are also pretty good for preparing a delicious dessert/snack that fulfills all criteria of my low-carb diet (see here). They consist to 85% of water and contain lots of vitamins, minerals and healthy fibres (that's one reason why they are well-known as a "medicine" for a good digestion).

Ingredients:


- 18 oz. (approx. 500g) frozen or fresh plums (both are ok)
- 1 oz. (approx. 28g) butter
- 2-2.5 oz. (approx. 50-70g) flaked almonds
- 1 dash white wine
- 1 tbsp. cinnamon powder

Preparation:
Cut the plums into halves if you use fresh ones. Heat the butter in a saucepan until it is melted. Put the plum halves inside and add a dash of white wine after 3 minutes. Let it cook for approx. 10 (fresh plums) or 15 (frozen plums) minutes and then add the cinnamon powder and the flaked almonds. Let it simmer 5 more minutes. Stir it from time to time. Finally your next healthy dessert is finished! Again a simple one that can be prepared by everyone.



Cheers,
Andi

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cycle 16 - Results of CC, non-CC, HIIT and Push Up Challenge

Hey guys,

Something new in my routine...Finally I've integrated HIIT cardio into my weekly plan. I wrote an article about HIIT around 2 months ago and now, I started with it myself. Therefore I integrate a new section into my result post (Area 3: HIIT cardio). Regarding the other stuff I can tell you that it's going pretty well. I did the usual Convict Conditioning stuff, HIIT Cardio, the demanded reps from the 30 day challenge and a bit more not-cc-related stuff than before. Here is what I've done:

Area 1: My Convict Conditioning results


Everything works as usual. Only special thing I like to mention is that I've progressed in the handstand push-up series! I started with half handstand push-ups last week and I can tell you that it works and that I love it :) Here's a video of my second attempt:


Area 2: Not CC related workouts

On Day 3 I did, additionally to the CC hspu, 3 sets of 6 reps single leg romanian deadlifts with 132 lbs (60 kg), some hang stuff with a towel and 3 sets barbell rotations (the exercise that my buddy Steve recommends in his blog, thanks man!).
On Day 5 I did several pull up variations on a playground, 50 box jumps, 100 aquats and 50 lunges after my HIIT cardio session that day.
On day 7 I visited the gym again and did the same stuff I'd done on day 3 plus 3 sets bodyweight dips and on day 8 I did some pull ups again.

Area 3: HIIT cardio

As it gets warmer and warmer I feel the summer is finally coming and I'm not yet satisfied with what I see in the mirror. This has boosted my motivation for doing the cardio that I'd skiped way too often before. In cycle 16 I'd done HIIT 3 times (day 1,5,8). I haden't found my sports watch, so I hadn't done the 30-20-10 stuff, instead I'd just warmed up 6-7 minutes and added some sprints, uptempo runs, hill runs and stair sprints as high-intensity intervals until I'd filled the 30 minutes. It was hard, but I always felt better afterwards.

Area 4: The 30 Day Push-Up Challenge

Day 5: 55 push-ups
Day 6: 60 push-ups
Day 7: 65 push-ups
Day 8: REST
Day 9: 70 push-ups
Day 10: 75 push-ups
Day 11: 80 push-ups
Day 12: REST

That was all from cycle 16. How is your training going btw.?

Cheers,
Andi

Monday, June 3, 2013

How-to Fight Knee Issues - Some Stuff that Could Help!

Hey guys,

everytime after I've published a new article about squats I get lots of comments and mails from people who ask for advice, because they want to do squats for getting strong and toned legs, but are suffering from knee issues caused by injuries, overstress or misload in the past.  

Actually I do have some recommendations for you, because I also had some issues with my knees when I was younger. Firstly try to start with "easy squats" like Jackknife Squats (a description is in my blog as well), but (different to the description) don't go all the way down. Stop the movement, when your thighs are parallel to the ground. Do them with a very slow movement speed (without momentum; pay special attention to the downwards part and don't dip down fast) and start with 10 to 15 reps (3 sets). This way the stress on your knees is not that high and your joints and tendons get time to get used to the squat movement (and get stronger meanwhile). Increase the rep number and the range of motion slowly every week until you can manage the target reps (as mentioned in the description). Then move on to Supported Squats and later to Full Bodyweight Squats without support.

Another important point is that you should pay attention to the position of your knees while executing the exercises. Don't let your knees travel inwards and don't let them travel beyond your toes at any time of the exercise.

An alternative exercise you can try is Split Squats (aka Lunges).

To get really stable knees it's also vitally important, that you take care of the back side of your thighs as well (they can cause knee troubles too). For strengthening this part, Kettlebell Swings are a great option as they train the whole rear kinetic chain. Make sure that you learn the correct technique first!


If you don't want to use kettlebells by now, the leg curl machine is a good thing for the beginning (I don't like machine training, but for getting started after having knee issues, this one is ok). Squats (and Sprints) train the back of the thighs as well, but for most people it is still a weak part (except you do squats and/or kettlebell stuff already) and should get individual training first/additionally.

I hope this could help you a bit! (Btw. Try the Trifecta as a stretching program...it improves the flexibility of the whole body, including legs, very fast).

One more thing: If you have serious trouble with your knees, don't hasitate to consult a physician before you start working out your legs!

Cheers,
Andi