How to Start Your Day STRONG!

Come up with a routine and if you don’t think you’re getting enough done in a day… wake up earlier!

This morning, we started with a 6 am hike of Runyon Canyon with our dog. It gets a crucial chore out of the way, but we really take advantage of the walk and turn it into a workout. Over 2.5 miles and 40 minutes later, your body and mind are both ready to go.

Skipping breakfast, I take a pre-workout blend of electrolytes and amino acids, throw some gum in my mouth, and walk the quarter-mile to my gym, carrying my relatively healthy gym bag. The walk keeps me warm and allows me to mentally prepare for the training session without stressing out over LA’s notoriously bad drivers.

Usually, on a day with a packed schedule, I spend an hour in the gym. That typically involves a short warm-up and cool-down, but today, I was in there for closer to 90 minutes. Here is what was accomplished during today’s pull workout.

First, a 0.6 mile jog at an incline of 0.5, increasing my speed every minute or so.
Next, a series of exercises to warm-up my shoulders, lower back and hips. These are all areas with past and present injuries that really need to be maintained carefully.

Internal/External Rotators & Kettlebell Swings: 5sx25/25 & 35×25, 7.5sx25/25 & 35×25
Lateral Raises & Back Extensions: 7.5sx25 & 35×25, 7.5sx30 & 35×25
Hip Mobility: Various exercises and stretches, on the mat

The run and warm-up work took about 20 minutes; now we’re moving forward into heavier weights and more complex exercises.

Cable Lat Pulldowns: (Facing out without your legs being held in place, using an extremely wide grip) 80×20, 100×16, 120×10, (last set facing in) 120×8
Zottman Curls: (Using dumbbells, maintaining strict wrist position and form) 10sx20, 15sx18, 20sx14, 30sx10
Barbell Reverse Curls: 45×12, 55×12, 65×12, 75×12
Cable Horserope Hammer Curls/Chin-ups: 60×15/5, 75×14/5, 85×12/5, 95×10/5
Cable Horserope Straight Arm Pulldown: 100×10, 65×12, 75×13, 85×12

Cable Horserope Face Pulls: 100×15, 120×15

Close Grip Pulldowns: 100×12, 120×10, 150×8
Barbell Shrugs: 45×20, 95×20, 185×14, 185×14
Barbell Rows: (Alternating grips of over/under) 95×10/12, 95×10/12
Inverted Rows: 7

At this point, some acute pain in my left elbow and right shoulders tell me that it is time to cool down, so I move to the Treadwall for a nice long climb to exhaust my forearms and grip strength. Then I stretch my hips and groin.

About 20 minutes after the workout is over, I’ve already made it home and started putting a meal together. I haven’t had any calories yet today, for no particular reason other than chance, so I’ll aim to fill myself up with a considerable amount of protein.

The Best Exercise Ever.

I know it’s a bold statement. Some people would definitely have something to say about it. The CrossFit community, the weightlifting community, the powerlifting community… just about any sport would defend their key exercises. Hiking, however, really is something else entirely and I’m not the one making the claim that it is the best exercise ever.

I grew up practicing martial arts and there were few men I respected more than Grand Master Kim. As a native of South Korea and an individual who trained the Korean Army in hand-to-hand combat for the Korean War, Master Kim is the physical embodiment of Taekwondo. Still, even he says that TKD is the second best form of exercise.

Why? Because hiking is the best form of exercise, of course. It’s hard to clearly understand all of his explanations, but the idea is that the connection to nature creates the perfect environment for you to feed off of the energy of the earth. Also, it’s obviously a great full body workout and can easily be relatively low impact.

So, with today being National Take a Hike Day (or something along those lines) try to either go out for a hike or plan one. Hiking is so versatile and can really be done anywhere. Hiking can be a glorified walk with whatever pace you choose. I prefer steep and challenging hikes up with an easy way down or just long steady grades.

Either way, get out there and enjoy nature. Hiking can be peaceful and relaxing by yourself and with a four-legged friend or it can be a fun social time with others. Let us know what you think about hiking, but don’t disagree with Master Kim or he’ll kick you through the ceiling!