Friday, August 1, 2014

Guest Article by Becky: Swimming For a Healthier Heart

Hey guys,

My friend Becky Flanigan, who already wrote a guest post about Aqua Aerobics for my blog, came up with a new idea that could be interesting for you (especially if you don't work out regularly or if you have/want to avoid trouble with your cardiovascular system). I know that activities in the water are really beneficial for your health but I am not an expert in the field of water activities. Therefore I'm proud to present you Becky's new article about how swimming could lead to a healthier heart:

My Dad was an athlete in college, and was always in great shape. Then he took a job as a salesman. That meant a lot of time sitting, either in the office, or at lunches with clients. He started having blood pressure problems, and it concerned me. I did some research and told him all about how swimming could make his heart stronger.

The best advantage of water. Everyone knows that swimming is a super form of exercise. But something I didn’t know – the resting heart rate is 10 beats per minute slower just being in the water, and the max heart rate can be from 10 to 30 beats per minute slower. There’s not a definitive answer on why this happens, but it is believed that the lower gravity, and the lower temperature of the water causes this effect. The bonus for swimmers is that while performing a vigorous workout that is guaranteed to strengthen the heart, they’re putting less stress on their heart. Here are some of the resources I found with more details:

· Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercise

· Take The Plunge For Your Heart

· Heart Health & Swimming Pools

Less risk of heart disease. One article I read stated that heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is the number 1 killer in America. Over a million people a year suffer heart attacks. That’s a great reason to strengthen your heart. Many of the heart related problems occur because plaque begins to build up and constrict the walls of the arteries. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow, and if a large blood clot gets stuck in one of those arteries with smaller blood flow, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. Even a small amount of exercise in the pool – and for short periods of time – can help improve the strength of the heart. By training the body to use oxygen more efficiently, it leads to a lower resting heart rate.

Swimming to reduce stress. My Dad has a stressful job, there’s no doubt of that. His doctor has told him the job contributes to his blood pressure problems. The doctor told him he needed more exercise. But while he ran track in college, his knees have been acting up the last couple of years. I suggested that one of the benefits of swimming is low impact – it wouldn’t affect his knees like trying to go out and start running. Besides, when I’ve gone swimming, there is a really soothing element to being in the water. The buoyancy of the water provides a lightness that I enjoy. When I’m swimming, outside noises are muted, and I just get into a rhythm where all I think about is the next stroke. My Dad liked the sound of all of that.

Start slowly if you’re new to swimming. Most of the research I did recommends that beginners start slowly – swimming is a vigorous form of exercise. The starting level is around 5 to 10 minutes of smooth lap swimming. Once that time becomes comfortable, swimming for longer periods will come around as the endurance builds. Trying different strokes – the freestyle, backstroke, or side stroke, can work different muscles.

See the impact. My Dad finally took my advice, and started swimming at the community pool when the lap lanes were open. He groaned about having to go at first, now he really looks forward to his swim sessions. I have seen his stress levels go down as he has continued. When he gets home after a swim, he is smiling, looks alive and energetic, and is looking forward to work the next day. He looked at me when I came over the other night, and just smiled and gave me a big thumbs up. He didn’t even say anything, but I knew what it was about.

Becky Flanigan writes for AnApplePerDay.com, and focuses on kids, parenting, exercise and health. She is avid about her workouts, which range from aqua jogging to marathon training. She and her husband Ed also enjoy entertaining and traveling with their three kids.

I hope you liked Becky's article! Feel free to share your thoughts down in the comment area.

Cheers,
Andi

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Guest Article by Cat Smiley - 4 Fun Tips to Restart your Fitness Journey

Hey guys,

I'm more than happy to present you a new guest article, written by amazing Cat Smiley, a professional health, Nutrition and fitness writer based out of Whistler, Canada. She’s been nationally syndicated in over 300 newspapers for over 5 years, and is an award-winning personal trainer and nutritionist. The topic that she covers is a very important one, because everyone has to start one day (and most of us have to start more than once in our lifetime ;) ).

Enjoy Cat's article about restarting your own fitness journey:


Nobody can lead, motivate or inspire you to shape up unless you have made the decision to do so. But if you’re tired of starting again, try not giving up. Or at least not giving up completely! Starting points are not permanent; you will progress from this stage quickly. It’s better late than never – some people ride on the ‘never’ for way too long until health risks start rearing their ugly head. Don’t wait for a health scare to kick-start your workouts because you may not have the same kind of choice to exercise then, as you do now.

If you need a reason to get started, numerous medical studies have shown that an active lifestyle prolongs and improves the quality of life. Here are a couple of things you can do to keep your kick start light and enjoyable.

1. Get Medical Clearance 
The ‘fun’ part of this tip is hearing the doctor clear you for exercise. It’s a privilege to be given the stamp of approval especially if you’ve been running in the wrong direction for the past few years. Spin the doctor visit positively no matter which way the cards turn – if you’re obese they will likely tell you that this means disease risk factors have increased drastically (hyperlipidemia, coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, hypertension and chance of a stroke) since you hit this body weight, however he or she will give you guidelines on how to turn things around through exercise. Consider the benefits of taking control of your health, cleaning up your diet and starting to move more. Wahoo!

2. Move it or Lose it 
Find something you like and you’ll be more likely to do it often. Daily movement is essential for the body to function efficiently, physiologically speaking. You might think you can get away with no exercise, but sooner or later it will catch up with you – not necessarily in the form of weight gain.

3. Think Happy 
Something as simple as a regular walking program (30 to 60 minutes, three to four times weekly) can improve your circulation and breathing, boost your body image while at the same time conditioning your body. This all leads to a more positive state of mind – and when you feel positive, you look and feel better… from the inside out!

4. Take Baby Steps 
Start by going for a walk tonight, and finding your running shoes in the back of your closet. Get used to drinking as much water as you can, get a training journal and tell all your friends about your exercise intentions so that they can hold you accountable.

Recognize that you are negatively affecting your health by not exercising or eating a proper diet. Getting out of this stage has to come from you, no matter how difficult it is to admit it, so stop kidding yourself. You CAN feel more energized, you CAN start changing your mindset – find your power today! Many mistakenly try losing the weight first before starting to exercise, but even fifteen minutes of gentle walking per day will boost your confidence, mood, range of movement and desire to eat healthy foods. Consider it to be movement, not exercise. All mammals need to move, and guess what. You’re a mammal!

Author's Bio:
Cat Smiley is the owner of Whistler Fitness Vacations, located in B.C. Canada. Her live-in weight loss retreat combines hiking, personal training and outdoor training with gym workouts in a luxury boot camp environment. Buy her book The Planet Friendly Diet to follow her program at home.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Awesome Fennel Curry Soup - The healthy bomb for your body

Hey guys,

Over the last months I tried out some new recipes and the following one is one that I can really recommend because it's unbelievable tasty and healthy!
Fennel has so many health benefits that I haven't enough space in one article to describe all of them in detail, but it should be mentioned that it could help to prevent cancer, reduce inflammation, fight intestinal problems (like the formation of too much gas ;) ), lower blood pressure and it could help to improve the milk supply of breastfeeding mothers. It is also very high in antioxidatives and fibres.
The bottom line is that fennel is really, really good for your body! Onions, ginger, garlic, chili, curry and fennel seeds support the health benefits of the fennel even more, so that this soup becomes a healthy bomb that'll support you in getting or staying fit and healthy.

That should be enough about the benefits...here's how you can cook it:

Ingredients:


- 1 red onion
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 34 fl.oz. (approx. 1 liter) organic fluid vegetable stock
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 fresh chili pepper (or 1-2 dried chilis)
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. curry powder
- 1 thumb-sized pc. fresh ginger
- 7 oz. (approx. 200g) cream
- 2 tbsp. (approx. 30g) butter
- 1/2 fl.oz. (approx. 15 ml) olive oil
- salt and pepper

Preperation:
- Chop the onion and braise it lightly with some olive oil in a saucepan.
- Wash and cut the fennel bulbs into small pieces and add them to the saucepan and sautee them for approximately five minutes.


- Pour the vegetable stock into the saucepan and add the fennel seeds.
- Cut garlic and ginger to pieces and add them to the saucepan.
- Cook everything for around 15 minutes.
- Now add curry, butter, cream and chili and let it cook for 2 more minutes.
- Finally purée the soup with a blender and add salt and pepper to taste.
- If you want to you can arange the soup in a bowl with some greens of the fennel.
- As always...Enjoy your healthy soup!


Cheers,
Andi

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Guest Article from Alfred: Matcha Green Tea - The magic bullet for your physical and mental health

Hey guys,

Last week I got an offer for a guest article from Alfred who's passionated about matcha green tea and its health benefits. I was always curious about green tea and its benefits, but hadn't the time to research for writing a good article about it here at my blog, so I was very pleased to recieve Alfred's mail. After reading his post I was convinced that it really is a fitting topic for my blog and that you should learn more about it as well.

Have fun with Alfred's awesome article:

Tea has always been popular (in fact, only water is drank more often than tea in the world) and recently I’m sure you’ve noticed an explosion in the popularity of green tea, a magical elixir renowned for it’s innumerous health benefits. While green tea is getting popular outside of Asia, Matcha green tea, which has been the drink of choice for the Japanese for almost a thousand years, has been shown to have more than 137 times the amount of antioxidants that regular green tea has - yep you’ve read that number right! Made from grinding down the most tender and premium shade-grown green tea leaves, when you drink matcha you ingest the full tea leaf where most of the antioxidants are instead of just drinking boiled water of a regular tea. This simply means…. more antioxidants and benefits!


Matcha green tea is arguably the healthiest “superfood” on earth due to it’s high antioxidant levels. Compared to other “superfoods” such as goji berries and spinach, this drink blows them all out of the water when it comes to the amount of antioxidants per gram! Studies have also shown innumerous health benefits to drinking matcha green tea, from better looking to skin to an improved immunity system, it’s no wonder why the Japanese have considered it a sacred tea for so long!


Aid in Weight Loss:
It’s long been held that green tea aids in weight loss and according to a study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea increased the body’s rate of caloric burning by almost 4x! Unlike synthetic “fat burners” which has tons of side effects and can even be dangerous for your health, matcha green tea is a natural way to increase your metabolism as well as your body’s ability to burn fat off.

Boost Your Immune System:
The antioxidant catechins in matcha tea have been shown to have antibiotic properties that overall promote good health and strengthens the immune system. By protecting your body from damage by free radicals and similar compounds, matcha green tea helps keep the immune system running well and a healthier immune system is better equipped to fight against bacterias and viruses. Also, matcha is filled with potassium, iron, calcium and vitamins - essentially goods for your body. According to a study by the National Institute of Health with regards to green tea on the body, “The health benefits of green tea for a wide variety of ailments, including different types of cancer, heart disease, and liver disease, were reported.”

Improve Your Skin:
Green tea has been documented to reduce signs of aging including the reduction of wrinkles and giving an overall appearance of healthier skin. The antioxidants in the tea helps stop harmful substances attacking your skin and also reduces lipid damage and inflammation which will leave your skin glowing! Be aware, however, that these benefits are in large part preventative. Drinking matcha tea will not turn back the clock but will help keep you looking younger for much longer.

Prevent Depression and Improve Brain Function:
In a recent study, it was found that drinking green tea for more than a month helped improve cognitive learning ability and also symptoms of depression. According to the authors, “We propose that green tea would probably have the potential for normalization of anhedonia through improved reward learning and have implications for the prevention of depression. On top of that, matcha green tea has been found to be a calming agent as well as an energizer. Monks in Japan drank the tea so they could stay awake and concentrate but do it in a peaceful state during meditation. Research has now shown that the Theanine amino acid, found naturally in the teas, is the reason for this amazing combination.

With all the purported health benefits of drinking this wonderful tea, it is almost a no-brainer to pick up in your daily routine. From the boost of energy (without the crash and jitters of traditional caffeinated drinks) to the load of antioxidants filled in every sip, it is no surprise why matcha green tea has been so popular and sacred to the Japanese for so long. Although not yet extremely popular outside of Japan and still a bit difficult to find, matcha can be found at large whole food retailers and online at Amazon.com or specialty tea stores like teaglad.com. Go pick some of it up and see why the tea is getting so popular!

Author's Bio:
Alfred grew up drinking tea as part of his upbringing and has always enjoyed trying out all the different types of tea available in the world. After a trip to Japan and falling in love with Matcha tea there, he came home to beautiful San Francisco excited to share it with his friends and family but had an extremely difficult time finding it in the city. With his background in online marketing, Alfred finally decided to start an e-Commerce store to bring the world's tea to the front steps of everyone's' home at www.teaglad.com.
I hope you liked Alfred's article and share it and its information with all of your friends (maybe while drinking a cup of matcha green tea or a green smoothie with matcha ;) ).
Cheers,
Andi

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chaos Training - A way to shock your body and boost muscle and strength growth

Hey guys,

I don't know if you've ever heard about chaos training days, but I guess everyone who exercises regularly should think about it every now and then.
Let me first explain what chaos training actually means in the context of fitness training. If you are like most people who work out on a regular base then it is very likely that you have a fixed training plan (either written down or just in your mind). You probabely have some exercises that you do over and over with a more or less fixed sequence. If you are kind of experienced in the field of fitness training (cardio and/or resistence training) it might not be a new thing for you to change your workout plans every 8-12 weeks to give your muscles some new impulses for further improvement and to fight familiarisation effects (that lead to plateaus, where your body won't adapt any further).That's already a big benefit compared to those who follow the same routine week after week and year after year.

To be clear about it, I'm not just refering to the same exercises but also to the same training principles you might follow like" always 3 sets with 10-12 reps in the same speed" or "always with a heart rate around 140 beats".

To give your muscles, strength and endurance an additional healthy shock with an enormous strong impact during your 8-12 week periods there is an effective method called "Chaos Training".

Actually it's pretty easy to explain and even easier to implement it into your "normal" workout periods. "Chaos Training" means in that matter, that you should do a totally different workout session that your body is not used to once or twice per month to set back the "system" and give it new improvement signals. To get a better insight let's look at some examples:

If you are doing a workout plan (like mine here) which is supposed to stay for 12 weeks with several superset exercises in a "3 sets of 8-12 reps, moderate speed"-style then a chaos day after 4 weeks could look like this:
Go to the gym and do whatever exercise comes into your mind (no matter if it's in your regular plan) and do it with a much higher weight than you're used to (maybe as a pyramid) with 4 sets of 3-5 reps (less reps because of the higher weight). Or you do the exercises in super slow motion (e.g. 10 sec per rep), or you can do just one set of each exercise you feel like doing with 30-40 reps (of course with a lower weight) as fast as possible, or you do just bodyweight exercises instead of free weight training (maybe a freeletic session like Aphrodite) or, or, or...

I, for example, do normally 3 sets of 10-12 reps with 176 lbs. (approx. 80 kg) deadlifts during my current workouts. On my chaos day I felt like doing deadlifts as well, but I did 1 set of 20 reps with 110 lbs (50 kg) as a warm up, 1 set of 8 reps with 220 lbs (100 kg) followed by 1 set of 3 reps with 264.5 lbs (120 kg) and a last set of 1 rep with 275.5 lbs (125 kg). This not only shocked my body and gave my muscles some new growing impulses but also showed me of what I'm actually capeable of (chaos days can help you overcoming psychological barriers as well). In the next training session I felt confident to raise the weight to 198.5 lbs (90 kg) for the 3 set of 10-12 rep scheme and it worked out very good.

Out of my experiance I can tell you that an out-of-plan chaos training day is totally worth a try every now and then to boost your confidence and your improvement!

To give yourself an effective workout without letting your body get used to a special treatment, I recommand you to change your training plan every 8-12 weeks and to implement 1-2 chaos trainings each month.

So just give it a try and I'd love to hear about your experiances with chaos training as well!

Cheers,
Andi

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Time to prepare for summer - My workout plan for may and june

Hey guys,

At the end of april, when the Freeletics project ended, I had to decide what's next...and I made my decision.
I decided to start with a quite "normal" workout style for may and june. I've selected 16 gym exercises that I'll perform in 24 super sets (3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise sequence that contains 2 exercises) twice and I'll do my kettlebell circuit training once every week. Additionally I try to implement some HIIT sessions.

After doing a lot of bodyweight exercises in the last months I think integrating some free weights and kettlebells into my workouts is a welcome change and that my muscles will benefit from new impulses that could help them to improve further.

And here it is....the workout plan for may and june:

The gym workout (twice per week):
Warmup: 5 min cardio rowing to get your whole body on temperature
Superset exercise 1: Handstand Push Ups & Back Squats*
Superset exercise 2: Bench press & Bent Over Row with a Barbell
Superset exercise 3: Cable Flys & Reverse Cable Flys
Superset exercise 4: Lat Pulls & Double Leg Calf Raises
Superset exercise 5: Flat Bent Leg Raises & Short Bridges**
Superset exercise 6: Deadlifts & Pull Overs with a Dumbbell
Superset exercise 7: Lunges with Dumbbells & Shoulder Compilation Exercise
Superset exercise 8: Parallel Bar Dips & Ball Leg Curls
*You should begin with these two exercises because HSPU could be dangerous if your arms and shoulders are already exhausted and squats are one of the best exercises to force your body to release growth hormones that help to improve the impact of the whole workout
**(This part is important in the middle of the workout to get some recovery time for your arms)

3 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise sequence that contains 2 exercises; 1 min rest between the sets; 1-x-2 cadence (1 sec concentric, no rest in the final position, 2 sec excentric)

The kettlebell workout (once per week):
I'll explained my kettlebell workout in details in my last post (click here).

The HIIT workouts (once or twice per week, not on strength training days):
Cardio Rowing: 5 min warmup then 10 sets of 1 min row as fast as possible + 1 min very slow rowing
or
Sprint (Running) Training: 800m warmup running then 10 sets of 100m sprint + 300m easy running
If you want to learn more about HIIT Training read my article here.

Nutrition:
I follow my diet and my supplement plan strictly.


Let's enjoy the "normal" workout period!

Cheers,
Andi




Monday, May 12, 2014

The whole Kettlebell Circuit Training in one article - Functional fitness for a perfect body

Hey guys,

I wrote about the benefits of kettlebell workouts a long time ago (see here). I also wrote 4 articles in which I explained every single workout of my circuit in detail but I haven't wrote a summerizing article yet. As I want to give you one article with a brief overview of the very efficent circuit that I use, I decided to write this one now (it's also easier to have one article to refer to in future posts about workout plans).

The whole kettlebell circuit training:

If you already know how to handle the "cannon balls", try to do three sets with the mentioned reps without a rest between the eight exercises (30 sec - 1 min rest between the sets). If you aren't familiar with kettlebells yet, you should start easily. And with easily I mean with a lower weight and a strict focus on the correct movement sequence. Once you are able to perform the exercises with a perfect technique you can increase the weight and then you should start with one set first and increase the volume up to three sets over time.


1. Exercise: Clean & Press (one-handed) – 10 x right arm, 10 x left arm
2. Exercise: Snatch (one-handed) – 10 x right arm, 10 x left arm
3. Exercise: Windmill (one-handed) – 10 x right arm, 10 x left arm
4. Exercise: High Row (one-handed) – 10 x right arm, 10 x left arm
5. Exercise: 1-Arm Kettlebell Swing – 10-15 x right arm, 10-15 x left arm
6. Exercise: Regular Kettlebell Swing – 15-25 x
7. Exercise: Body Circles – 10 x counterclockwise, then 10x clockwise
8. Exercise: Kettlebell Squats – 10 x

For detailed explanations of the single exercises please click on the exercise name (the link will open a new tab with the explaining article).

If you aren't sure if you should use kettlebells or what they can do for you and your fitness, read my article about the benefits of kettlebell workouts.

Have fun!

Cheers, 
Andi

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Guest Article from Amelia: 5 Best Ways to Maximize Muscle Growth

Hey guys,

After the good feedback to the first guest post I published, I started to get more open minded to the idea of publishing knowledge and ideas from more guest bloggers every now and then. 
Some days ago the passionate blogger Amelia contacted me with the idea of a guest article about maximizing muscle growth. As I myself have written about this topic in several articles (e.g. The Colorado Experiment), I thought that this was a great idea to enrich my blog with another person's point of view on this important issue.  

I proudly present Amelia Verona's article:

5 Best Ways to Maximize Muscle Growth

Many people dream of getting strong muscles, some to impress others or just for personal fitness purposes. Growing muscles requires discipline, patience and most importantly good diet and exercise. Other forms include the use of illegal substances intake to the body such as steroids, they may have impressive results but in the long run they usually have negative side effects. For effective growth, here are five ways to do so:

Increase Calorie Intake
Having more calories in your system increases your body muscles if you exercise properly, note that not all foods have the right amount calories required by your body, other foods like junk food may contain harmful calories that may have a negative impact such as being overweight. Determine your weight, height, sex and your activity factor to determine the amount of calorie intake.

Increase Proteins Intake
Proteins are amino acids and they are body building food. They are essential in building skin, bones, tissues and importantly muscles. Some of these foods are meat, eggs and dairy products, some plants are also a source of proteins, and this includes legumes, grains, nuts and seeds. Taking more proteins by ensuring that, it is included in all your meals in order to help in the increase of healthy muscles for the body. 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight when training is recommended.

Increase Healthy Fat Intake
Fats are not at all healthy for your body. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature while unsaturated fats are liquid (oil) at room temperature. These saturated fats are the major causes of heart diseases and high cholesterol in the blood thus they should be avoided, unsaturated fats, on the other hand, are healthy and helps in decreasing blood cholesterol levels. It is proved that less than 30% of calories in a day should come from fat which can be found in foods such as butter, margarine, oils fried foods, etc.,. For unsaturated fat, you can find it in corn, soya bean, sunflower, and safflower oil.

Proper Multivitamins Intake
To fully understand the use of multivitamins one needs to know what Vitamins are, they are natural substances the body needs to grow, develop and function normally, vitamins are mostly found in vegetables and fruits. Multivitamins are prescribed to those that needs extra vitamins and are unable to obtain the required vitamins. They come in various forms such as chewing tablets, capsules or oral liquid. Taking high potency multivitamins ensure that essential nutrients are available for the thousands of metabolic reactions in the body. Multivitamins are usual supplements and are advisable in order to increase your muscles.

Proper Exercise Guidelines
Overwhelming yourself with vigorous exercises over long periods of time may not be the ideal way of gaining more muscles.
It's always wise to get some proper guidelines, some of these are
1. Great diet intake- To maximize the body potential a good diet is necessary, it also helps in gain energy after exercise.
2. Warm up before an exercise routine — This help to get in the right frame of mind and prepare the body muscles, this will help reduce injuries.
3. Proper amount of rest and exercise — Research shows an hour's work of intense work out is all that is required for your growth. Changing your exercise routine reduces chances getting body stress.
4. Working your whole body — Don't aim at building muscles for only one part of the body, aim to give equal muscle attention, this will balance training, growth and flexibility. Compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, presses and pull ups use different body muscles.
5. Do exercises that your body can handle over time, don't overwhelm the body by doing extraneous task that may lead to injuries.

This is just some of the basic methods of muscle building techniques, adhering to such will give you a healthy increase muscle build. Ehic card covers you for emergency healthcare in Europe.

Author Bio:

Amelia Verona lives in Cambridge, UK and is an avid reader and blogger. Her areas of interest are Food, Blogging, Reviews (Book/Movie), Travel, Fashion, Lifestyle and Fitness. Currently she is creating awareness on Ehic Card which determines European health insurance card providing quality medical care at free of cost.








I hope you enjoyed reading Amelia's article! If you want to share your thoughts about her points, feel free to use the comment area below.

Cheers,
Andi

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 14 & 15 - Workouts and Progress - The final days are done!

Hey guys,

Finally it's done! And I'm really happy that I finished the whole program without skipping one single workout. Due to a huge lack of motivation  and mental and physical fatigue (which probably was caused by a kind of overtraining) I needed more than a week to do all the workouts from week 15 (as you can see below). I was also very busy during the last weeks so I'm sorry that this article, which closes my Freeletics project, is a bit late.
One special event I attented was the international fitness trade fair in Cologne - the FIBO. Really impressive and interesting to see so many people who are highly interested in all kinds of fitness training. I also tried out some new fitness equipments (like the ladder cardio machine which is unbelievable demanding and effective) and participated in a kettlebell and push up one-on-one competition (which I won :) ). If you get the chance to visit a big fitness trade fair, you should take it...it's fun!

Let's look at the last weeks of the Freeletics project:    

Results and progress of week 14 & 15:

Workout explanations:
Aphrodite - 50 Burpees, 50 Squats, 50 Sit Ups, then 40 reps of each, 30 reps, 20 reps, 10 reps (5 sets in total) - as fast as possible
Artemis - 50 Burpees, 50 Pull Ups, 100 Push Ups, 150 Squats, 50 Burpees
Dione - 3 sets of 75 Jumping Jacks, 25 Burpees, 50 Leg Levers (or Flat Bent Leg Raises), 75 Jumping Jacks, 50 Sit Ups, 25 Burpees - as fast as possible
Hades- 3 sets of 25 Burpees, 15 Pull Ups, 15 Push Ups, 25 Burpees, 2x40 m run - as fast as possible
Metis - 10 Burpees, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 High Jumps, 25 Burpees, 25 Mountain Climbers, 25 High Jumps, 10 Burpees, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 High Jumps
Poseidon - 20 Pull Ups, 20 Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 15 Push Ups, 10 Pull Ups, 10 Push Ups, 5 Pull Ups, 5 Push Ups - as fast as possible
Venus - 4 sets of 50 Push-Ups, 20 Jackknifes (ab workout), 50 Squats - as fast as possible
Zeus - 4 sets of 5 Handstand Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 25 Push Ups, 35 Sit Ups, 45 Squats, 120 sec. Rest
Leg Lever max - AMRAP in 500 sec.
Sit Up max - AMRAP in 500 sec. (real sit ups, not crunches!)

Week 14:
Wednesday (02.04.2014) - Metis (06:54 min.)
Thursday - rest day
Friday - Zeus (23:42 min.)
Saturday - rest day
Sunday - FIBO
Monday - Metis (06:51 min.)
Tuesday - Zeus (24:06 min.)

Week 15:
Wednesday (09.04.2014) - rest day
Thursday - rest day
Friday - Aphrodite (29:30 min.)
Saturday - rest day
Sunday - rest day
Monday - Venus (21:13 min.), Hades (28:37 min.), Sit Up max (96 reps)
Tuesday - Artemis (27:05 min.), Leg Lever max (98 reps)
Wednesday (16.04.2014) - rest day
Thursday - Poseidon (06:22 min.), Leg Lever max (112 reps)
Friday - rest day
Saturday - rest day
Sunday - Artemis (29:02 min.), Sit Up max (83 reps)
Monday - Zeus (20:36 min.), Venus (20:47 min.), Poseidon (06:31 min.)
Tuesday - Dione (46:52 min.)

Progress:
Weight: 190.5 lbs (86,4 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 36 inches (91,5 cm)
Chest Circumference: 41,7 inches (106 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 24,4 inches (62 cm)
Body Fat: 17,2 % (measured with a caliper)

After 15 weeks I can see and feel big changes in my physique and my fitness level. I can really recommend you to give the freeletics program a shot, but, to be honest, to improve fun and motivation of Freeletics I would split the program into two parts (1st one with 7 weeks and the 2nd with the last 8 weeks) and would make a 2 week break in between (with other training styles like kettlebell or gym workouts).

Next week I'll write about my new training plan that I follow now that Freeletics is over.

Cheers,
Andi



Monday, April 28, 2014

Awesome vegan lentil salad - A meal/appetizer for real fitness champions

Hey guys,

Today I want to show you my favorite legume salad recipe. It contains a lot of healthy stuff like vitamins, minerals, dietary fibres and good proteins. No matter if you are vegetarian, vegan or "normal" eater (whatever "normal" is...), this salad provides you with huge quantities of healthy ingredients that support both, your health and your muscles. Those of you who wonder that I, as a big fan of low carb nutrition, recommend lentils, which are high in carbs, should take a look at my article about the glycamic load (lentils have an acceptable glycamic load in my point of view).

Let's start with the tasty part...  

Ingredients for approx. 4 servings:


- 12.3 oz. (approx. 350g) red lentils, dry
- 1 small head of lettuce
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 bell peppers (red and/or green)
- 1 red onion
- 2 scallions (spring onions)
- 3 tomatoes
- 2-3 tsp. cumin
- 17 fl.oz. (approx. 500ml) organic vegetable stock
- parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil


Preparation:
- Wash the peppers and cut them into small cubes. 
- Now peel the red onion and the garlic cloves and chop them into small pieces.  
- Heat some olive oil in a pan and braise the onion, the garlic and the pepper cubes lightly for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile wash the lentils properly and add them to the pan. Let it braise lightly for some more minutes.
- Subsequently add the cumin, some salt and pepper as well as the vegetable stock.
- Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for 10 minutes and leave it to cool down afterwards.
- Wash the tomatoes and cut them to cubes (if you want to you can remove the tomato pulp).  
- Wash the scallions and the lettuce and cut it into smaller pieces as well.
- Finally put everything together in a big bowl, pour in some olive oil, add a bit parsley and mix it thoroughly.
- Enjoy!

Try it, enjoy it and love it!

Cheers,
Andi 

Friday, April 4, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 13 - Workouts and Progress - Just 2 weeks left

Hey guys,

I really like the idea of Freeletics and the workouts are very effective and you can do them almost everywhere, but right now I am a bit bored of it...maybe it's because I am used to implement big changes into my workout plans every 6-8 weeks (and the Freeletics program lasts 15 weeks)...or maybe it's because I am using an old plan with fewer variations than newer plans of the Freeletics guys are (they create different ones for every customer at www.freeletics.com). So, try it out and like it! I will "fight" myself through the last two weeks of the program and then I am gonna try another workout style again.

Results and progress of week 13:

Workout explanations:
Artemis - 50 Burpees, 50 Pull Ups, 100 Push Ups, 150 Squats, 50 Burpees
Hades- 3 sets of 25 Burpees, 15 Pull Ups, 15 Push Ups, 25 Burpees, 2x40 m run - as fast as possible
Venus - 4 sets of 50 Push-Ups, 20 Jackknifes (ab workout), 50 Squats - as fast as possible
Zeus - 4 sets of 5 Handstand Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 25 Push Ups, 35 Sit Ups, 45 Squats, 120 sec. Rest

Week 13:
Wednesday (26.03.2014) - Zeus (28:27 min.)
Thursday - rest day
Friday - rest day
Saturday - Artemis (26:45 min.)
Sunday - Hades (19:11 min.)
Monday - rest day
Tuesday - Venus (16:47 min.)

Progress:
Weight: 194 lbs (88 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 36 inches (91,5 cm)
Chest Circumference: 41,7 inches (106 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 24,4 inches (62 cm)
Body Fat: 18,1 % (measured with a caliper)

No major changes so nothing to talk about...I guess I'm at a plateau and have to change my workouts to get new impulses for further accelerated body development. Anyway, I will finish the last two weeks and then we'll see.

Cheers,
Andi

Monday, March 31, 2014

The best low carb muffins I've ever tasted - LC Cherry-Banana Muffins

Hey guys,

It's been ages since I've published  the last recipe...and now the time has come to provide you with some new ones to get in shape for the summer season 2014!

Two weeks ago it was my birthday and as my family wanted to come over to my house I had to offer them something sweet for my birthday cake and coffee come together. First I thought about the blueberry muffins I baked last year, but even if they were good, they weren't really awesome. So I researched some old magazines and recipes I exchanged with my friends and finally found this muffin recipe which I varied a bit so that it meets the requirements of my diet and my palate.

And here it is...the recipe for really awesome low carb, high protein cherry banana muffins:

Ingredients for 12-18 muffins (depending on the size of your muffin pan):


- 1.5 ripe bananas
- 2 vanilla bean
- 6 eggs
- 1.75 oz. (approx. 50g) chopped almonds
- some almond flakes as topping
- 1.5 oz. (approx. 40g) vanilla protein powder
- 14.1 oz. (approx. 400g) quark (curd cheese) with 20% fat (or lower)
- 3 tbsp. milk
- 3.5-5 oz (approx. 100-150g) cherries without pits (you can use frozen ones after you defrosted them) or strawberries
- butter to grease the pan

Preparation:
Preheat an oven to 350° F (approx. 180° C). Grease all cups of a muffin pan or fill them with paper muffin liners (if you don't have a muffin pan just use paper muffin liners alone, but then it's better to use 2 layers of muffin liners for 1 muffin). Now scrape the vanilla bean. While the oven is heating up you can start to prepare the dough.

Add the bananas (in small pieces), the mark of the vanilla bean, the quark, 2 eggs (without shell of course), the protein powder and the chopped almonds to a big bowl and mix it with an (electric) hand mixer. If the dough is too hard you can pour the milk to ease it up a bit (you can also add the milk before you start mixing the dough if you want).

Now separate the whites from the yolk of the remaining four eggs and beat them until they are stiff (you can use the yolks for something else). Add the beaten egg white and the cherries (or strawberry pieces) carefully to the dough and mix it just a bit to spread it to the dough.

Pour the dough into the holes of the muffin pan or into the muffin liners and place it/them in the center the oven. Bake it for 30 minutes and enjoy your healthy, tasty muffins with your friends!


Yummy,
Andi

Friday, March 28, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 12 - Workouts and Progress

Hey guys,

Nothing special that week...I did my workouts, followed my diet and felt good.

Results and progress of week 12:

Workout explanations:
Dione - 3 sets of 75 Jumping Jacks, 25 Burpees, 50 Leg Levers (or Flat Bent Leg Raises), 75 Jumping Jacks, 50 Sit Ups, 25 Burpees
Poseidon - 20 Pull Ups, 20 Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 15 Push Ups, 10 Pull Ups, 10 Push Ups, 5 Pull Ups, 5 Push Ups - as fast as possible
Venus - 4 sets of 50 Push-Ups, 20 Jackknifes (ab workout), 50 Squats - as fast as possible
Zeus - 4 sets of 5 Handstand Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 25 Push Ups, 35 Sit Ups, 45 Squats, 120 sec. Rest
Leg Lever max - AMRAP in 500 sec.
Push Up max - AMRAP in 100 sec.
Squat max - AMRAP in 500 sec. (down to 90 degrees aka half squats)

Week 12:
Wednesday (19.03.2014) - Venus (19:59 min.)
Thursday - rest day
Friday - rest day
Saturday - Poseidon (08:41 min.), Squat max (188 reps)
Sunday - Dione (40:48 min.)
Monday - rest day
Tuesday - Leg Lever max (114 reps), Push Up max (74 reps), Leg Lever max (104 reps), Squat max (189 reps)

Progress:
Weight: 194 lbs (88 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 36,2 inches (92 cm)
Chest Circumference: 42,5 inches (108 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 23,8 inches (60,5 cm)
Body Fat: 18,1 % (measured with a caliper)

Week 13 has already started!

Cheers,
Andi

Friday, March 21, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 11 - Workouts and Progress - I'm feeling stronger and stronger...

Hey guys,

This week didn't differ too much from the ones before...But I feel stronger and fitter every single day so the program still works quite good!
Four more weeks of Freeletics, but I will also publish some non-Freeletics related articles/recepies over the next weeks so that my blog becomes more varied and interesting for you again (even if I bet some of you like the freeletics stuff and try it on their own, some might want other information as well, like I provided you with during the last year). 

Let's look at the numbers of week 11:

Workout explanations:
Aphrodite - 50 Burpees, 50 Squats, 50 Sit Ups, then 40 reps of each, 30 reps, 20 reps, 10 reps (5 sets in total) - as fast as possible
Hades- 3 sets of 25 Burpees, 15 Pull Ups, 15 Push Ups, 25 Burpees, 2x40 m run - as fast as possibleZeus - 4 sets of 5 Handstand Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 25 Push Ups, 35 Sit Ups, 45 Squats, 120 sec. Rest
Leg Lever max - AMRAP in 500 sec. (or flat bent leg raises)
Push Up max - AMRAP in 100 sec.Sit Up max - AMRAP in 500 sec. (real sit ups, not crunches!)
Squat max - AMRAP in 500 sec. (down to 90 degrees aka half squats)

Week 11:
Wednesday (19.03.2014) - Hades (20:00 min.), Squat max (160 reps)
Thursday - rest day
Friday - Zeus (28:03 min.)
Saturday - rest day
Sunday - Push Up max (62 reps), Sit Up max (82 reps), Leg Lever max (100 reps), Push Up max (54 reps)
Monday - rest day
Tuesday - Aphrodite (33:01 min.)

Progress:
Weight: 194 lbs (88 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 36,6 inches (93 cm)
Chest Circumference: 40,9 inches (104 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 24,4 inches (62 cm)
Body Fat: 18,1 % (measured with a caliper)

That's it for this week...Week 12 it's time to kick your ass!
Cheers,
Andi

Friday, March 14, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 10 - Workouts and Progress

Hey guys,

2/3rd of the program is done already! I feel good, but I also look forward to the end of the program...
After 10 weeks of Freeletics it's sometimes hard to motivate myself, but I definitely gonna finish the 15 weeks plan before I start with a different workout style eventually.

Here are the results and workouts of week 10:

Workout explanations:
Artemis - 50 Burpees, 50 Pull Ups, 100 Push Ups, 150 Squats, 50 Burpees
Metis - 10 Burpees, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 High Jumps, 25 Burpees, 25 Mountain Climbers, 25 High Jumps, 10 Burpees, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 High Jumps
Venus 4 sets of 50 Push-Ups, 20 Jackknifes (ab workout), 50 Squats - as fast as possible
Zeus - 4 sets of 5 Handstand Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 25 Push Ups, 35 Sit Ups, 45 Squats, 120 sec. Rest
Sit Up max - AMRAP in 500 sec. (real sit ups, not crunches!)

Week 10:
Wednesday (12.03.2014) - rest day
Thursday - Venus (24:41 min.)
Friday - Metis (07:41 min.) + Sit Up max (93 reps.)
Saturday - rest day
Sunday - Artemis (30:06 min.)
Monday - rest day
Tuesday - Zeus (28:20 min.)

Progress:
Weight: 194,9 lbs (88,4 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 36,6 inches (93 cm)
Chest Circumference: 41,3 (105 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 24,8 inches (63 cm)
Body Fat: 18,1 % (measured with a caliper)

At least I lost some body fat...But seriousley, what these figures can't tell you is that I really feel great with the workouts and my overall fitness level. I can feel strong improvements in my life quality as well so I don't care too much about naked numbers right now...

Let's go on to week 11!

Cheers,
Andi


Thursday, March 6, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 9 - Workouts and Progress - Carnival leaves its traces...

Hey guys,

Last week was carnival, which means that I didn't follow my diet very strict (I ate pizza, french fries, baguette, ice cream etc.) for some days. Anyway I worked out four times (Wednesday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday...on Thursday, Friday and Saturday I wasn't able to do any kind of sports...). All workouts that I had to do are done, but I decided to do them with a lower intensity than normal. Now everything is back to normal and week 10 awaits me ;)

Here are the results and workouts of week 9:

Workout explanations:

Aphrodite - 50 Burpees, 50 Squats, 50 Sit Ups, then 40 reps of each, 30 reps, 20 reps, 10 reps (5 sets in total) - as fast as possible
Hades- 3 sets of 25 Burpees, 15 Pull Ups, 15 Push Ups, 25 Burpees, 2x40 m run - as fast as possible
Venus - 4 sets of 50 Push-Ups, 20 Jackknifes (ab workout), 50 Squats - as fast as possible
Zeus - 4 sets of 5 Handstand Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 25 Push Ups, 35 Sit Ups, 45 Squats, 120 sec. Rest

Week 9:
Wednesday (05.03.2014) - Zeus (29:45 min.)
Thursday - Carnival
Friday - rest day
Saturday - rest day
Sunday - Aphrodite (39:38 min.)
Monday - Hades (29:21 min.)
Tuesday - Venus (29:45 min.)

Progress:
Weight: 194 lbs (88 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 36,6 inches (93 cm)
Chest Circumference: 41,1 (104,5 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 24,4 inches (62 cm)
Body Fat: 19,6 % (measured with a caliper)

That week was different, so I spare you a comment on my progress ;)

Let's start with the tenth week!

Cheers,
Andi

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Thank You for 100.000 Pageviews!!!!

Hey guys,

I've just reached over 100k pageviews and more than 1.5k G+ friends!!! Thank you guys so much!

When I started Andi's Fitness Blog around 1 year ago I couldn't imagine that it would be such a big success.

I hope you've enjoyed my articles so far (btw. I've written over 100 by now) and could get something out of them to improve your own fitness, health and nutrition as well.

Next target: 1.000.000 Pageviews

I'd love to welcome you on my blog again! I'm gonna try to provide you with much more useful articles/recipes/workout descriptions furthermore. Keep following me on my journey if you like and feel free to tell your friends about it!

Cheers,
Andi


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 8 - Workouts and Progress

Hey guys,

This week was kind of wellness compared to last week ;) Seriously, it was ok and nothing special happened except of one thing...I still have sore thighs...I haven't had sore muscles for 5 weeks, so I was a bit surprised. I guess the forth workout session wasn't wellness at all. After 3 units Squat max (15 min. squats in total) and 1 unit metis my legs were really tired. Anyway that's ok because now I know that I'm still a human being ;)
Tomorrow it'll be carnival in my hometown Cologne which is quite a big party in the area where everyone is wearing a costume and there will be a lot beer as well, so I thing it'll be a cheat day for me. We'll see what consequences this will have on my workouts and results of next week.

Enough talk for today...Here are the results of week 8:

Workout explanations:
Artemis - 50 Burpees, 50 Pull Ups, 100 Push Ups, 150 Squats, 50 Burpees
Hades- 3 sets of 25 Burpees, 15 Pull Ups, 15 Push Ups, 25 Burpees, 2x40 m run - as fast as possible
Poseidon - 20 Pull Ups, 20 Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 15 Push Ups, 10 Pull Ups, 10 Push Ups, 5 Pull Ups, 5 Push Ups - as fast as possible
Metis - 10 Burpees, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 High Jumps, 25 Burpees, 25 Mountain Climbers, 25 High Jumps, 10 Burpees, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 High Jumps
Zeus - 4 sets of 5 Handstand Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 25 Push Ups, 35 Sit Ups, 45 Squats, 120 sec. Rest
Sit Up max - AMRAP in 500 sec. (real sit ups, not crunches!)
Squat max - AMRAP in 500 sec. (down to 90 degrees aka half squats)

Week 8:
Wednesday (19.02.2014) - Poseidon (09:52 min.)
Thursday - Artemis (29:53 min.)
Friday - rest day
Saturday - Hades (24:33 min.), Situp max (83 reps)
Sunday - rest day
Monday - Squat max (148 reps), Squat max (137 reps), Squat max (118 reps), Metis (11:11 min.)
Tuesday - rest day

Progress:
Weight: 194 lbs (88 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 36,2 inches (92 cm)
Chest Circumference: 41,1 (104,5 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 23,8 inches (60,5 cm)
Body Fat: 19,6 % (measured with a caliper)

I improved a bit in all areas. Best thing of the progress figures is that I've already lost 7% body fat since the 1st of January!

Week 9 I hope you will be fine!

Kölle Alaaf (that's a carnival thing :)),
Andi


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 7 - Workouts and Progress of Hell Week 1 - Damn, this week honors its name...

Hey guys,

This week was one out of two weeks that the guys from Freeletics call "Hell Week"...they're right with the name choice, it was really exhausting and demanding like no other week before. In this week there were just three training days instead of four, but I had to do three workouts on each one of them (instead of one). This was not just hard because of the demanding workouts, but also because of time management issues. I normally work from 8:30 am to 6 pm and arrive back home at around 7 pm, so I had to stuff three workouts in a short period of time. On Wednesday I decided to get up earlier (at 6 am) to do the first workout before work...worked well, but afterwards I was tired the whole day and the two workouts in the evening were harder than normal. So on Friday I did all of them in the evening with two hours rest in between the single ones...made me execute the last one at 1 am...not a good time for people who work, but fortunately the following day was a Saturday. On Sunday, my third training day that week, I did one in the morning, one in the early afternoon and one in the evening...that was quite comfortable. If you decide to try a Hell Week as well, I recommend you to take the days off from work to spread the workouts over the whole day if it's possible (if not, it is manageable, but very hard to accomplish).

Something for the statistics:
I did 830 Squats, 650 Burpees, 645 Push Ups, 450 Jumping Jacks, 440 Sit Ups, 305 Pull Ups, 150 Leg Levers, 60 Jackknifes, 20 Handstand Push Ups and 6 40 m Sprints in total this week...you know now why this is called a Hell Week? ;)

Let's come to the details of week 7:

Workout explanations:
Aphrodite - 50 Burpees, 50 Squats, 50 Sit Ups, then 40 reps of each, 30 reps, 20 reps, 10 reps (5 sets in total) - as fast as possible
Artemis - 50 Burpees, 50 Pull Ups, 100 Push Ups, 150 Squats, 50 Burpees
Dione - 3 sets of 75 Jumping Jacks, 25 Burpees, 50 Leg Levers (or Flat Bent Leg Raises), 75 Jumping Jacks, 50 Sit Ups, 25 Burpees - as fast as possible
Hades- 3 sets of 25 Burpees, 15 Pull Ups, 15 Push Ups, 25 Burpees, 2x40 m run - as fast as possible
Poseidon - 20 Pull Ups, 20 Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 15 Push Ups, 10 Pull Ups, 10 Push Ups, 5 Pull Ups, 5 Push Ups - as fast as possible
Venus - 4 sets of 50 Push-Ups, 20 Jackknifes (ab workout), 50 Squats - as fast as possible
Zeus - 4 sets of 5 Handstand Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 25 Push Ups, 35 Sit Ups, 45 Squats, 120 sec. Rest


Week 7:
Wednesday (12.02.2014) - Dione (52:20 min.), Poseidon (06:48 min.), Artemis (34:06 min.)
Thursday - rest day
Friday - Zeus (26:49 min.), Poseidon (09:46 min.), Aphrodite (29:11 min.)
Saturday - rest day
Sunday - Artemis (33:17 min.), Hades (23:06 min.), Venus (25:37 min.)
Monday - rest day
Tuesday - rest day

Progress:
Weight: 196 lbs (88,9 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 36,4 inches (92,5 cm)
Chest Circumference: 41,1 (104,5 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 22,8 inches (58 cm)
Body Fat: 21 % (measured with a caliper)

I gained weight!?!? Mhh...But as I lost some fat at the belly and gained strength I don't care about that kilo ;)
No more comment on this ;) Let's start with week 8!

Cheers,
Andi

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 6 - Workouts and Progress - Btw...Dione, I really don't like you at all....

Hey guys,

This week was ok. I feel how my body is getting stronger and stronger and I feel healthier and fitter each day. The only workout I disliked this week was Dione...I really don't like it because it is the longest of all Freeletic workouts I've done so far and it is really boring for me (hard but boring)...Anyway, it had to be done and I did it...no excuses!

Here are the workouts and results of week 6:

Workout explanations:
Venus - 4 sets of 50 Push-Ups, 50 Jackknifes (ab workout), 50 Squats - as fast as possible
Zeus - 4 sets of 5 Handstand Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 25 Push Ups, 35 Sit Ups, 45 Squats, 120 sec. Rest
Dione - 3 sets of 75 Jumping Jacks, 25 Burpees, 50 Leg Levers (or Flat Bent Leg Raises), 75 Jumping Jacks, 50 Sit Ups, 25 Burpees - as fast as possible
Metis - 10 Burpees, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 High Jumps, 25 Burpees, 25 Mountain Climbers, 25 High Jumps, 10 Burpees, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 High Jumps
Pullup max - AMRAP in 100 sec. (I made supported ones)

Week 6:
Wednesday (05.02.2014) - Venus (23:48 min.)
Thursday - rest day
Friday - Metis (8:56 min.), Pullup max (20 reps), Pullup max (20 reps), Pullup max (14 reps), Pullup max (12 reps)
Saturday - rest day
Sunday - Dione (48:04 min.)
Monday - rest day
Tuesday - Zeus (29:41 min.)

Progress:
Weight: 193,8 lbs (87,9 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 37,2 inches (94,5 cm)
Chest Circumference: 41,3 (105 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 24,2 inches (61,5 cm)
Body Fat: 22,3 % (measured with a caliper)

1,7 kg less and 2,1 % less body fat...I'm satisfied with the results of this week.
Next week is Hell Week...that means that I have to do 9 workouts (instead of 4!)...3 per training day...that's going to be really, really hard but could hopefully boost my results.

Cheers,
Andi

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 5 - Workouts and Progress

Hey guys,

This week was a bit rough because I haven't felt totally fit, but I'm still satisfied with the workout results. I did Handstand Push Ups the first time since ages and I was a bit suprised that I'm still able to do some proper reps (even if it wasn't the amount I could do last year, but hey...I weigh much more than that time). Another positive event last week was that I did the Aphrodite workout with a star. To explain this: You get a star if you perform every exercise in the correct version (before last week I tended to do some of the Burpees without the push-up element). The improvement of my overall fitness level is going on...

Here are the workouts and results of week 5:

Workout explanations:
Aphrodite - 50 Burpees, 50 Squats, 50 Sit Ups, then 40 reps of each, 30 reps, 20 reps, 10 reps (5 sets in total) - as fast as possible
Zeus - 4 sets of 5 Handstand Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 25 Push Ups, 35 Sit Ups, 45 Squats, 120 sec. Rest
Squat max - AMRAP in 500 sec. (down to 90 degrees aka half squats)
Leg Lever max - AMRAP in 500 sec. (or flat bent leg raises)

Week 5:
Wednesday (29.01.2014) - Zeus (34:08 min.)
Thursday - rest day
Friday - rest day
Saturday - Squat max (152 reps), Leg Lever max (87 reps), Squat max (146 reps), Leg Lever max (88 reps)
Sunday - Aphrodite (41:30 min.)
Monday - rest day
Tuesday - Zeus (32:51 min.)

Progress:
Weight: 197,5 lbs (89,6 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 37,2 inches (94,5 cm)
Chest Circumference: 39,6 inches (100,5 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 24,4 inches (62 cm)
Body Fat: 24,4 % (measured with a caliper)

Progress is still steady but slow. I guess I have to admit to myself that I get older and progress needs more effort and time than it needed some years ago...Constant work leads to constant improvements, so one day I will eventually reach my goals anyway...

Cheers,
Andi

Friday, January 31, 2014

Guest Article from Becky: Aqua Aerobics - Exercises and Benefits

Hey guys,

this one is a premiere. I haven't had a guest post before and I actually hadn't thougth about it until my friend Becky Flanigan came up with the idea of writing a guest article about Aqua Aerobics, which is a field where I don't have a lot of experiance in. I liked her idea and as she has the necessary experiance in both, writing and aqua aerobics, I really appreciate her offer.  Normally I write about hard bodyweight, gym or kettlebell workouts so this is a chance to provide you with some insights in another kind of exercises. I hope you enjoy reading it and if you try it out tell us how you feel about it (btw. even the hard guys can profit from aqua workouts as they demand different efforts from your body and variation in training is pretty important). People who love water or suffered a joint injurie can also profit a lot of working out in the water because of the lower impact on their joints, bones and so on.

I proudly present Becky Flanigan's article:

6 Aqua Aerobics Exercises and Their Benefits

To work out in the water, there are some great exercises to choose from. You can get the same benefits you would with a similar workout on land, but with the great advantage of water – low impact. Here are 6 exercises to try:

1) Flybacks. Standing in chest deep water, bend slightly forward and put your arms out in front of you, with palms reversed so your thumbs point down. Pull your arms in a wide arc until they parallel your shoulders. Reverse your palms and bring them back forward. This exercise is great for your arms, upper chest and back.

2) The plank. In chest deep water, using a hard rubber tube commonly called a foam noodle, place your hands shoulder width apart, and let yourself sink down into the water – make sure to keep your back straight. Hold that pose for as long as possible, and repeat several times if you can. This will work your core better than almost any other exercise, without the strain of situps.

3) Aqua jogging. In the local pool, find the time when the lap lanes are open for swimmers. The water is typically about chest deep, which will provide great resistance. Wear an old pair of sneakers – you’ll be pushing forward enough to scuff your feet on the concrete. Move up and down the lanes with a slow jogging motion. You’ll be able to feel the water making you have to work to push through it, and your legs will quickly feel it as well. This will provide excellent cardio benefit and work your legs well, and a lot quicker than you might think.

4) Aqua tai chi. This exercise routine is best performed with a class – many gyms have them on the schedule. Tai chi is a meditative form of a slow martial art, and in the water the routine has an added soothing effect that is tremendously peaceful. The class moves through a series of poses, transitioning from one to another in a combination which feels almost like a slow dance pattern. This workout will provide calming, help learn to coordinate breathing with the movements, and make the participant work to stay in balance.

5) Climb the walls. If your kids have been getting to you, this is a way to climb the walls and get some benefit from it. In chest deep water, stand near the side of the pool. Begin working your arms in a treading water motion, and while doing that, walk your legs up the side of the pool, then back down. Alternate the leg you lead with each time, and try to get in 10 to 15 repetitions to a set, and do 2 to 3 sets. This exercise will give you an excellent cardio element, work out your legs, and you’ll really feel it in your arms once you’re through.

6) Pool cardio. This is an interval exercise, so try to keep going for up to 3 minutes if you can. In chest deep water, run a zigzag motion from side to side of the pool, to stir up the water and create some turbulence. As you move back and forth through that turbulence, your body will have to work harder, especially the core. Lean into the water with a good running posture, making sure to keep your back straight. This exercise will give you an excellent cardio benefit. If you can keep this up for 3 minutes, you’ll definitely be breathing hard.

If you perform a balanced set of exercises in the water, you can get out of the water with a smile, knowing you’ve gotten in a great workout session!

Becky Flanigan enjoyed writing classes in school, and uses those skills when writing freelance articles for InTheSwim.com. Becky likes spending time with her husband, 3 kids, and 2 golden retrievers. She spends many happy hours at the family swimming pool, watching the kids and dogs splash and play. She also enjoys watching Downton Abbey.

I hope you liked Becky's article! Feel free to share your thoughts down in the comment area.

Cheers,
Andi

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 4 - Workouts, Progress and some Thoughts about Burpees...

Hey guys,

Burpees, Burpees, Burpees...I start to hate Burpees...seriously I hate them...;)
Nevertheless they are one of the most effective whole body exercise that one can do with his own bodyweight. With that in mind it's not so bad that they start chasing me even in my dreams. This week I had 4 workouts and each one of them demands 150 Burpees...that makes a total of 600 Burpees that week (must sound a bit crazy for people who are used to train 3 sets of 12 reps in every exercise). Fortunately week 4 is over and in the week to come there is only one workout that includes Burpees so my mind can recover a bit from that nasty exercise. I believe that there will be a lot of Burpees in the upcoming weeks until the 15 week program is done, but hey, as they are really boosting endurance and strength I can live with that (or at least I learn to arrange with them when I feel the improvements :) ).

Time for the workouts and results of week 4:

Workout explanations:
Aphrodite - 50 Burpees, 50 Squats, 50 Sit Ups, then 40 reps of each, 30 reps, 20 reps, 10 reps (5 sets in total) - as fast as possible
Hades- 3 sets of 25 Burpees, 15 Pull Ups, 15 Push Ups, 25 Burpees, 2x40 m run - as fast as possible

Week 4:
Wednesday (22.01.2014) - Aphrodite (43:05 min.)
Thursday - rest day
Friday - rest day
Saturday - Hades (33:28 min.)
Sunday - Aphrodite (38:19 min.)
Monday - rest day
Tuesday - Hades (29:41 min.)

Progress:
Weight: 199,7 lbs (90,6 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 38 inches (96,5 cm)
Chest Circumference: 40,6 inches (103 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 25 inches (63,5 cm)
Body Fat: 25,2 % (measured with a caliper)

What shall I say...weight went down a bit, shoulders got broader, but all other figures haven't changed a lot. Anyway I feel much better and when I look in the mirror it appears to me that my body composition improved a lot (even if the figures don't show it). Especially the lower part of my belly (where I don't measure) and my chest seem to loose fat (looks like muscles replace fat and that's why the chest circumference didn't change much). Let's see what the next week will do for body improvement...

P.S.: On friday I'll publish the first guest post (written by Becky Flanigan) in the history of Andi's Fitness Blog!

Cheers,
Andi

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 3 - Workouts and Progress

Hey guys,

third week done! This week was just Freeletics without extra workouts. The reasons why I haven't done additional stuff are a lack of time on one side and a need of more recovery time on the other. These workouts are harder than expected, but I like that a lot... I feel much fitter than last week and way beyond my stating fitness level! The only thing that disappoints me a bit is that my body hasn't transformed much (actually I feel and see improvements but always when I want to quantify it by measurements it's not as much as expected). I hope that my body finally has adapted to my new lifestyle right now so that my progress will accelerate from now on.

Let's come to the meat...here are the workouts and results:

Workout explanations:
Venus - 4 sets of 50 Push-Ups, 20 Jackknifes (ab workout), 50 Squats - as fast as possible
Dione - 3 sets of 75 Jumping Jacks, 25 Burpees, 50 Leg Levers (or Flat Bent Leg Raises), 75 Jumping Jacks, 50 Sit Ups, 25 Burpees - as fast as possible
Push Up max - AMRAP in 100 sec.
Pull Up max - AMRAP in 100 sec. (I made supported ones)

Week 3:
Wednesday (15.01.2014) - Pull Up max (17 reps), Push Up max (47 reps), Pull Up max (15 reps), Push Up max (31 reps), Pull Up max (11 reps), Push Up max (27 reps), Pull Up max (10 reps), Push Up max (25 reps)
Thursday - rest day
Friday - Venus (22:56 min.)
Saturday - rest day
Sunday - Dione (1:02:29 hr.)
Monday - Pull Up max (20 reps), Push Up max (52 reps), Pull Up max (16 reps), Push Up max (41 reps), Pull Up max (12 reps), Push Up max (32 reps), Pull Up max (11 reps), Push Up max (30 reps)
Tuesday - rest day

Progress:
Weight: 202,5 lbs (91,9 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 37,8 inches (96 cm)
Chest Circumference:  41,9 inches (106,5 cm)
Shoulder Breadth:  24,2 inches (61,5 cm)
Body Fat: 25,2 % (measured with a caliper)

Due to my weight loss plan I should weigh 90,5 kg instead of 91,9 kg...so what I will go on and stick to the plan (diet and workouts) and hope that my results will improve over time (as you know consistency is king).

Week 4 is coming...Party on!

Cheers,
Andi

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 2 - Workouts and Progress

Hey guys,

second week is over and my fitness level is getting better and better. My workout results improved a lot (my body figures not yet...more on that later) and I feel more comfortable during my freeletic workouts. Due to the healthy diet I also feel better...all day, every day!

Enough talk...here are the workouts and results:

Workout explanations:
Venus - 4 sets of 50 Push-Ups, 20 Jackknifes (ab workout), 50 Squats - as fast as possible
Poseidon - 20 Pull Ups, 20 Push Ups, 15 Pull Ups, 15 Push Ups, 10 Pull Ups, 10 Push Ups, 5 Pull Ups, 5 Push Ups - as fast as possible (on wednesday I did negative pull ups, on sunday supported ones)
Aphrodite - 50 Burpees, 50 Squats, 50 Sit Ups, then 40 reps of each, 30 reps, 20 reps, 10 reps (5 sets in total) - as fast as possible
Sit Up max - AMRAP in 500 sec. (real sit ups, not crunches!)

Week 2:
Wednesday (08.01.2014) - Poseidon (9:10 min.) + Sit Up max (56 reps)
Thursday - 6 sets of 25 reps Kettlebell Swings
Friday - Aphrodite (58:11 min.)
Saturday - rest day
Sunday - Poseidon (12:11 min.) + Sit Up max (61 reps)
Monday - Venus (23:44 min.)
Tuesday - 4 km run

Progress:
Weight: 204 lbs (92,6 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 38 inches (96,5 cm)
Chest Circumference: 40,6 inches (103 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 22,8 inches (58 cm)
Body Fat: 25,9 % (measured with a caliper)

Overall improvement was poor, but I hope that this is just because my body still needs to adapt to the new circumstances (normally a body needs up to 3 weeks to adapt to new circumstances). In the past my body was used to adapt much faster...maybe the multiple yoyo lifestyle of mine leaves bad traces....I still hope that improvements will accelerate in the next weeks.

Let's go on to the third week!

Cheers,
Andi

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The 2014 Freeletics + X Project - Week 1 - Workouts and Progress

Hey guys,

First week is done! Haven't had sore muscles like that for a long time ;) This week I did all the freeletics sessions (the Freeletics strength plan demands 4 sessions in the first weeks) plus some extra stuff (2 slow running sessions and a short kettlebell swing workout). The week was like hell because I am very out of shape in the moment (unbelievable how much strength and endurance one can lost in just 4 lazy months...). Regarding nutrition I followed my diet very strictly, which wasn't as hard as expected after a long period of bad food intake.

Enough talk, here are my workouts and results (if you want some variation in your training, you should consider trying this as well):

Workout explanations:
Venus - 4 sets of 50 Push-Ups, 20 Jackknifes (ab workout), 50 Squats - as fast as possible
Metis - 10 Burpees, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 High Jumps, 25 Burpees, 25 Mountain Climbers, 25 High Jumps, 10 Burpees, 10 Mountain Climbers, 10 High Jumps
Pull Up max - AMRAP (as many reps as possible) in 100 sec. (due to a lack of fitness I just did negative pull ups)
Squat max - AMRAP in 500 sec. (down to 90 degrees aka half squats)

Week 1:
Wednesday (01.01.2014) - Venus (43:29 min.)
Thursday - 4 km run
Friday - rest day
Saturday - Metis (13:23 min.) + Pull Up max (16 reps) + Squat max (111 reps) + Pull Up max (12 reps)
Sunday - Venus (32:32 min.)
Monday - 2.9 km run, 3 sets of 25 reps Kettlebell Swings
Tuesday - Metis (11:23 min.) + Pull Up max (15 reps) + Squat max (130 reps) + Pull Up max (14 reps)

Progress:
Weight: 204 lbs (92,6 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 39,4 inches (100 cm)
Chest Circumference: 41,7 inches (106 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 23,6 inches (60 cm)
Body Fat: 26,5 % (measured with a caliper)

Not all figures improved , but I guess (or at least I hope) it's because my body hasn't adapted yet to the new circumstances.

Let's start the second week!

Cheers,
Andi

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What about supplements? - Here's how I handle them!

Hey guys,

Now, since I've started my 2014 fitness and health program on the 1st January I thought a lot about supplements. I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of supplements because I really believe that a healthy balanced diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, legumes and good protein from dairy products and organic meat gives you all that your body desires to be healthy and unimaginable fit. Additionally there is scientific evidence that artificially produced vitamins, minerals, BCAAs and other stuff can actually harm your body more than they help (that's not 100% sure, but I decided to stay on the safe side and add all this to my body naturally by eating good food). That's just my opinion and I can definitely understand anyone who has a different point of view.

Neverless I decided to give myself some extra kicks by using a few supplements. In fact, I started to use Omega-3 fish oil capsules (1 per day), linseed oil (1 tbsp.), protein shakes (1 after every strength workout) and green tea (something between 3-5 cups per day). For me these are the only supplements that make sense to reach my goals (I'd used creatine monohydrate 2 or 3 times in my life and the results were pretty impressive, but I don't need it right now. Anyway, I believe that it's ok to use it as well).




Why do I use those 4?

Omega-3 Supplements
Refering to some studies there is evidence (sometimes more, sometimes less) that the body (especially the heart, the cardiovascular system and the brain) could benefit from Omega-3 supplements. I don't think that supplementation is necessary if you eat enough fish, meat and nuts, but my nutrition was very bad over the last 4 months, so I guess that it won't be a mistake to use linseed oil (the oil with the highest amount of vegetable Omega-3) and Omega-3 supplements at least for 1 month until I'm totally back on track.

Protein Shakes
I know that many protein powders contain lots of artificial sweeteners, vitamins and other stuff, so I use them rarely. I think that it won't provoke health problems if I use them only 4 times per week directly after strenght workouts. I use whey protein to give my muscles fast available building material for optimized muscle grow.

Green Tea
Green tea is not actually a supplement, but as I was used to drink up to 12 cups of coffee (far too much) per day it is a healthy substitute for me. Green tea has various proven health benefits from antioxidant effects over anti-inflammatory effects to weight loss (and many more).

So, that's my supplementation plan (mabe you can use some of the information for your own plan).
What about you? Do you use any supplenments?

Cheers,
Andi

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Back in the Game - Up to a fit & healthy 2014!!!

Hey guys,

First of all I want to wish you and your families and friends a happy, healthy and successful new year!!!

Some time has passed since I wrote the last article at my blog...sorry for that!
Due to some work and some health related issues and a lack of motivation I could neither train hard nor write articles for the blog (I just lacked the time to write). And my nutrition was horrible as well with a lot of fast food and sweets...

Unfortunately I transformed from fit to fat during that time...Today it's time to end this unwanted process and restart again.

I'm going to post my progress in weight and other key figures every week from now on and I'll post my workouts as well, so that you can use parts of them to integrate into your own workout plans.

For the first quarterly period I aim to lose at least 33 lbs (15 kg) by using the Freeletics Bodyweight Strength Plan (I'll write more about it in the upcoming weeks) combined with some other elements (like Kettlebell workouts and HIIT).

Here are my starting measurements:
Weight: 210 lbs (95,2 kg)
Abdominal Circumference: 37,8 inches (96 cm)
Chest Circumference: 41 inches (104 cm)
Shoulder Breadth: 19,7 inches (50 cm)
Body Fat: 26,5 % (measured with a caliper)

Btw. I had less than 12% 4 months ago...how bad is that...

I don't have more time to write because I have to start working out and eating clean...;)

Cheers,
Andi