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  • Intensity Rocks!

    Concentration + Dedication = Intensity!

    I took a day off yesterday, in case you noticed there was no journal entry. No, I didn't feel lazy or somehow lack the drive at this stage in the game to make the commitment. But having worked out ten days in a row (I added the workout at the resort on Sunday morning, remember?), my body was telling me to take a day to heal. When your body tells you it's time to take a break, you need to listen.

    This morning, my body told me it was ready to continue, so after breakfast and Bible study and the arrival of my contractor who is installing a new rear walk in the backyard, I got down on the floor and began with 30 V-ups, 50 Bicycles, and then moved to the exercise ball for 180 situps.

    I opted for a “Top Down” approach to the weights, and rather than trying to explain it, I'll give you a list of what I did, in order.

    Bench Press – 1 set close grip, 1 set wide grip, 1 set close grip, ½ set wide grip = 35 reps. Target Muscles – Chest (Pecs), shoulders (Delts) and arms.

    Seated Rows – 4 sets = 40 reps. Target Muscles – Trapezius, Shoulders, Latissimus Dorsi (back), abdominal, and arms.

    Shoulder Flyes – 3 sets = 30 reps. Target Muscles – Deltoids, Trapezius, arms

    Shrugs – 4 sets = 40 reps. Target Muscles – Deltoids, Trapezius, arms.

    Dumbbell Curls – 3 sets = 30 reps. Target Muscles – Biceps, Triceps, Forearms

    Dumbbell Squats – 4 sets = 40 reps. Target Muscles – Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings

    Standing Calf Raises – 4 sets = 40 reps. Target Muscles – Calves.

    Seated Leg Extensions – 4 sets = 40 reps. Target Muscles – Forward upper thighs.

    I've added the term “Target Muscles” so you will see what muscles you are trying to work with a particular exercise. But I want you to also realize that those aren't the only muscles being worked. The human body is a excellent machine, designed to coordinate any movement with a symphony of musculature. When you do a bench press, for example, you are mainly working the chest, shoulders and arms, but the back and abs are called upon to keep you stable in the movement. Even your legs and feet can help you stabilize, although I usually recommend you keep them off the floor so you're not tempted to use them. In order to use your legs to stabilize during a bench press, you have to arch the small of your back. Not a good move.

    The top five exercises in the above list emphasize the upper body, working from front to back, larger to smaller muscles. The reasons I kept the shoulder flyes and curls to 3 sets are both personal and professional. I have mentioned before that, due to an accident when I was a younger man, my left shoulder now contains zero cartilage. I tend to be a little cautious when exercising, since the point is to end up fit, not in an emergency room or the operating room. But the professional reason is just as sound. The arms and shoulders have already been worked through the bench press and the seated rows, so now you are simply polishing off what you started. Fewer exercises for them does not mean you have worked them any less.

    The bottom three exercises emphasize the lower body, and since they are always followed by at least ten minutes of aerobic exercise on the Gazelle, three exercises are all I need to achieve both the fitness and weight loss goals I have in mind.

    Speaking of the Gazelle, my session lasted eleven minutes today, the time it takes to listen to the first three songs from the Evanescence album I have on my MP3 player. The cool down was a pleasant walk in the backyard with about 16 ounces of juice. Bright and sunny and a bit brisk, but felt so good to cool down after a very intense workout.

    What made it intense was concentration. When I do my bench press, I close my eyes as I am preparing to lift the bar off the brackets and picture the muscles I want to work in my mind. As I am doing the reps, I have a mental image of the muscle stretching across my chest, then contracting as I push it back up again. The muscle moves along with that image, and by the end of the exercise, I can feel the muscle swelling up with blood. It is a very pleasant feeling, indeed.

    I do all my movements like this. It assures you are working the entire muscle through its range of motion and giving it the maximum intensity. And Maximum Intensity with Dedication yields results.

    Give it a try. I promise you will not be disappointed.

    I hope you are having a blessed day.

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