Tack, Tick, Tick, Tick – Metronome Interval Strength Training Hack.

Interval Strength Training Hack - Use a Metronome to make it easier to count.
Use a Metronome for Interval Strength Training

I recently began interval strength training as a form of exercise.

For those new to different types of workouts, interval strength training is a form of circuit training. Basically, I perform a group of weight training exercises in sequence with little rest in between. I target different muscle groups, and I perform the circuit of exercises twice with little to no rest between exercises.

At first, Interval Strength Training was really difficult for me to do. Why?

I had to think:

  • What exercise I was doing?
  • How do I do that exercise?
  • What exercise is next?
  • How many repetitions was I on?
  • Where am I in the 4 second cadence?
  • Am I using the correct form?
  • Did I just hear my 2 year old daughter dive into the toilet?
  • Who is going to sign up for Simpleweight.com next?
  • Will the Cubs win the World Series?
  • Man this exercise is burning pretty good now.
  • Will the …. as you can see too much to think about, my mind starts to wander, and I just get lost.

With interval strength training, you use a cadence to lift weights in a rhythm. While contracting the muscle, I count 2 seconds and then hold 2 seconds, then while releasing the muscle, I count 4 seconds, repeat for 10 repetitions with no rest.

For example, for a bicep curl, I count 2 seconds up, hold 2 seconds, then count 4 seconds slowly releasing the bicep curl back down to the resting position. I immediately lift again using the same cadence until I reach 10 in the set and move on to the next exercise in the circuit with little or no rest (30 seconds or less) in between sets.

As I mentioned before, the problem I had was I got lost in all the counting and thinking.

UP, Two, Three. Four
DOWN, Two, Three, Four
UP, Two, Three, Four
DOWN, Two, Three, Four
What Repetition am I on?

How do I stop all this counting?

I use a metronome to maintain the cadence. A metronome ticks at whatever rate you want. I set my metronome to 60 beats per minute and let it tick off my cadence. Google Metronome, and you’ll find all sorts of web-based metronomes to use.  Of course you could use an iphone app as your metronome of choice. Of course you can use a loud clock or watch, but I find a metronome better especially a digital metronome that allows you to set the beats per measure.

See, you can set a digital metronome to 4 beats per measure. which means:

Tack, Tick, Tick, Tick.
Tack, Tick, Tick, Tick.
2, Tick, Tick, Tick.
Down, Tick, Tick, Tick.
3, Tick, Tick, Tick.
Down, Tick, Tick, Tick.
4, Tick, Tick, Tick.

If you are using the Colorado Experiment workout, described by Tim Ferris, which uses a 5 second cadence, just set the metronome for 5 beats per measure.

Whatever cadence you use, your mind is free to count the number of repetitions while the metronome does the work of keeping your cadence straight.

Pick and Commit Time to Exercise, 10 minutes a day. Ground Hog Day 2009 Fitness Resolutions.

Groundhog Day is here and gone, but there is still time for you to resolve to be better.

David Seah, the first person I know to talk about Groundhog Day Resolutions explains his GDR ideas. Leo at Zen Habits talks about Groundhog day resolutions too. It is in the air!  So, is 6 more weeks of winter regardless of whether the Groundhog saw his shadow or not.  (Hint:  the First Day of spring is:  March 20.  Count the number of weeks from Feb 2, 2009 to March 20, 2009)

So, What is Simpleweight’s Ground Hog Day Resolutions?

Number one: I know I can do a better job at convincing you (and I) that we can and will achieve our fitness goals. I know it, and I will help you to know it! It is imperative!

Number two, and more importantly: Our GroundHog Day Goal is to become physically fit. That Goal is too BIG! however, we need it that way. As I wrote in my previous Groundhog day post, Begin With The End In Mind, we must become absolutely certain where we want to go. So certain, that we believe and know it is inevitable. Remove the fat talk from our consciousness and replace it with fitness talk.

Some suggestions about goals:

  • Break out a map (a piece a paper).
  • Draw a line of where you are to where you want to go.
    • If you don’t know where you are, then write down everything about where you are now.
    • If you don’t know where you want to go, then write down everything about where you want to go.
    • Then keep that in your mind.
  • Then, break this big elephant into small bites. We must start small in order to make good habits.

As we begin to create our new selves, creation and being creative is a habit we must form just as a our fitness habits must replace our fat habits. So, how do we build this creative habit? In Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, the first step she talks about is the “Rituals of Preparation”:

When you have

  • selected the environment that works for you,
  • developed the start-up ritual that impels you forward every day,
  • faced down your fears,
  • and put your distractions in the proper place,

you have cleared the first hurdle. you have begun to prepare to begin.

Tywla Tharp

Wow. That is a lot in just one paragraph. I added the list and bold for emphasis. In order to create creative habits, we must make rituals. Rituals are things we feel impelled to do consistently. For some, that means to attend church everyday or every week. For others, it means praying five times a day. For basketball players, it means shooting your free throws in the exact same form every time. If we want to create good exercise and food habits, we have to be boring at first. We have to create rituals. We have to be consistent everyday.

Homework exercise:

  • Decide what time of day you are going to exercise every day for the next week.
  • Decide how much time you plan to exercise.
  • Decide what type of exercises.
  • Decide where you are going to exercise.
  • Decide why are you exercising.
  • Write this time and what you plan to do on 7 different 3 x 5 index cards.
  • Put the index cards next to your alarm or on your mirror or somewhere you will have to see them!
  • Set your phone alarm, set your watch alarm, set your clock alarm, set your computer alarm, and set your spouse alarm. Do whatever you have to do to meet this goal for the next 7 days! Each Day, pick up your card, go to the appropriate place and exercise!

Homework Hints:

Make this exercise time a ritual that is so rigid and so small, that it’s almost impossible for you to fail. Failure will not be possible. Guess, what we will do the following week. Increase the time and keep increasing it until we get to a net-caloric effect, but for now, we start small. We have to.

Mental thoughts: people who are not committed to exercise will ask themselves, how can I fit exercise into my day tomorrow. People who are committed ask themselves, how can I plan my day around my exercise time. Are you committed? Do you really want to become physical fit and achieve your ideal body? If so, change the questions you ask yourself.

Resist the urge to start exercising 60 minutes everyday. You are changing habits. People gradually become out of shape and sedentary. When we come out of the womb, we’re not super fat overweight babies. As we grow, most children are naturally active and moving around. We gradually learn to become sedentary, so we have to gradually learn to become active. If we do it too quick, we generally see people fail and over-whelmed. We know failure is not an option. So, start slow.

Homework Recommendations:

For those of you who need recommendations, because you don’t know where to start.

  • When to exercise?: First Thing you do when you get out of bed is to exercise (you might need to use the restroom, take a drink of water, and put your exercise clothes on and then exercise!)
  • How long? 10 minutes.
  • What Exercises? Anything. Do Jumping Jacks for ten minutes, Do stretching. Do Yoga, Run in place. I don’t care as long as it is something physical and you are pushing your body beyond what it normally can do. The goal is really to make the exercise a habit. If you need more stringent recommendations, I think you’ll see the most benefits from High Intensity Strength Training (we’re not talking heavy weight lifting, we’re talking weights that make you tired when you get to repetitions 7, 8, or 9.) Possible Exercise plans: The pattern that Jorge Cruise uses in the 8 minute workout is an excellent starter plan. Also, the Fitness Ladder Exercises from the Hacker’s Diet is another excellent quick starter workout. Remember pick something you love. So, if you love being outside, then go for a 10 minute walk.

I was reminded today, that big websites started out small. The first Amazon was nothing in comparison to what it is today. The first city began with a one room meeting place and then evolved into skyscrapers. Our Fitness habits will start small, we’ll build a strong foundation of habits that we’ll layer on top of. We’ll add biometric habits, eating habits, and more exercise habits all of which will make up the Slow Weigh to long term weight management and weight loss.

Dream Big, Start Small, and Continually take action! What’s your Ground Hog Day Resolutions?

Weight Loss – Back to the Basics

I recently read a ChangeThis manifesto, The New Time Management: Simply Focus on the Fundamentals, and Toss Away the Tips, By Francis Wade.

Francis describes 7 fundamentals he believes are critical for any professional to master Time Management. He makes the comparison to athletes who have to refocus on the fundamentals. For example:

  • Tiger Woods going to practice and making 1000’s of putts a day.
  • Or a Professional basketball player, such as Michael Jordan, taking 1000’s of free throws or jump shots a day.
  • Or Maria Sharapova, a tennis player who takes thousands of tennis swings a day.

All of these all stars, or professional athletes, practice fundamentals deliberately every day.

Can we stop there? As a hobby trombonist taking lessons with Professional Trombone Performers, They all stress fundamental practices such as learning scales, breathing exercises, note flexibility studies, and so on and so forth.

 Image: 'THE TENNIS SESSIONS' www.flickr.com/photos/42369167@N00/711672576
Image: 'THE TENNIS SESSIONS' www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/711672576

Let’s rephrase Francis Wade’s Title:

Weight Loss Manifesto: The New Weight Loss System: Simply Focus on the Fundamentals and Throw Away the Tips.

Every day, we hear tips in the form of fad diets. Flat Belly MUFA Diet, South Beach Diet, Atkins Protein Diet, Mediterranean Diet, French Diet, Don’t Eat Anything Diet, See Food Diet, Peanut Butter and Jelly Diet, I could go on and on. As my brother says, in You don’t diet? you have a diet – now make it a good one.

What’s the deal? What should I do with all these fad diets? Francis Wade Suggest when it comes to Time Management Systems:

…The result is that the users of different systems are either raving fans, or failed adopters.
The fans are the lucky ones whose habits easily fit into the new system they are learning. The failures are those who get fired up for a few days, and after a week are forced to go back to their old habits.

My observation is that the vast majority of professionals take a bit from here and a bit from there to craft their own unique set of habits. Unfortunately, they do so without understanding the fundamentals, and the results in some cases are disastrous.

Their system of habits doesn’t work, but they don’t know why. It allows stress, missed appointments and forgotten commitments to occur too frequently, but they don’t know where to start to fix their systems.

Luckily for them, the 7 fundamental practices are perfect for the job or fixing, upgrading or adapting personal time management systems.

When a professional athlete’s game deteriorates, which happens to all of them at some point in time, they go back to the fundamentals. So must a working professional.

I would add so must an everyday healthy person. Everyday, we must be cognizant of our diet and exercise choices and focus on the fundamentals.

Often times, people start a new diet, see results at first, but then fall off the wagon. Why? Because that system doesn’t fit YOU. Everyone is different. Just as a professional must pick and choose what items fit in their own time management habits, we as healthy eaters must pick and choose habits that fit our own bodies and minds.

Okay, we understand.  Focus on the Fundamentals: What are the fundamentals of a becoming physically fit the abridged version?

Monitor your Biometrics at regular intervals

Possible examples:

  • weigh yourself everyday,
  • measure your waist line every week
  • Record your BMI every month
  • take a picture of yourself every month

Exercise, and be mindful about the exercise

Find an exercise you like and do it effortlessly.

  • Some people are Artists, I say then paint building sized murals that require dexterity.
  • Some people are outdoors people, I say hike in the forest, or garden.
  • Some people are shoppers, then I say go to the biggest mall you can find and walk and walk, and walk as much as you can as often as you can.
  • Do it everyday.

Eat Standard Portions

Healthy Eating has its own set of Fundamentals which we’ll talk about sometime in the future. Generally, I’d say:

  • Eat Protein and MUFA at every meal
  • Eat Plants as much as possible.
  • Learn what the correct portion is, and stick to it!

Retrain your Emotional and Social Eating

How do we do this?

  • Keep a Food Diary.  By keeping a food diary and writing down what you eat before you eat it, You’ll be mindful of what you are doing.  This will you stop binges.
  • Making your Weight Management Public and Social.  By sharing your goals with your friends, you are putting peer pressure on yourself.  It’s amazing how many people will not want to let someone else down, but they’ll let themselves down all the time.  In other words, if you tell your friend you are not going to eat ice cream today.  You don’t want to let that friend down.  If you tell yourself and only yourself, you are more likely to break that self promise since it is not out in the public.
  • Become a Positive person.

Some diets say exercise 8 minutes a day. Some diets say eat 60% protein, 30% fat, 10% carbs. Some Diets say eat fish and oil.  Some diets suggest walking 10,00 steps a day. Whatever it is, Focus on the Fundamentals.

Since Weight Loss is personal and everyone is different,  What are your fundamentals?

Pedometer Field Test by Money Magazine

Sorry, I have not blogged in a while.  I have come to the conclusion that blogging is more difficult than it looks.  It is difficult to write consistent good content when one has other daily tasks. Consequently, I plan on blogging when I have good content. I am not going to blog just to blog. I will try to build a habit to have good content every week. It will take a while to build that habit.

I am a big pedometer user.  For a while, I wore a pedometer everywhere I went to track how many steps.  My goal was to walk 10,000 steps a day as that’s what some experts believe keep a healthy heart. 

After consistent use of a pedometer, I came to the conclusion, that the only way I could achieve 10,000 steps was to walk at least 30 to 45 minutes a day. This gives me about 6,000 steps from the walking and 4,000 steps from my day-to-day movement. 

I would not have known that had I not measured and tracked my progress. I have mentioned a few times: It is imperative to track your progress and watch trends. With your information, you can make smarter decisions with your activity. 

Here’s the abstract of Money Magazine’s Pedometer Field Test

  1. Money Magazine field test winner
    Grade: A- Omron Pocket HJ-720ITC – $50
  2. Grade: B  Oregon Scientific PE823 – $20
  3. Grade: B- New Balance VIA Wrist Pedometer by Highgear – $60
  4. Grade: C  Walk4Life WFL Elite – $29
  5. Grade: C- New Lifestyles NL-2000 Activity Monitor – $60

What’s my Favorite pedometer?

Thank you for asking. my favorite pedometer is the: Omron HJ-112 Digital Pedometer. You can find it at Amazon for about $20. The pedometer is light, accurate, and easy to use. It’d say it’s the little brother of the Money Magazine’s field test winner.

An excellent way to track your exercise activity is to combine a good pedometer with Simpleweight’s exercise tracking.

Patent Search Diet

Weight Watchers Patent Search Diet

Did you know you could use Google Patent Search to diet?

That’s what I learned at lifehack.org. I found an article Kyle wrote describing Unconventional Diet Tips, Lose 50 lbs in 3 months. First, the tips are worth mentioning:

  1. Buy a Digital Scale
  2. Weigh yourself everyday
  3. Drink 8 glasses of water everyday
  4. Make your Diet Public
  5. Don’t Diet on the weekends
  6. Don’t sacrifice your life for your diet
  7. Make Small Changes
  8. Gain perspective by understanding the fractions
  9. Rationalize your workouts
  10. Have a red flag weight

Lastly, for the curious out there…I followed the Weight Watchers diet. I did not pay for the diet, nor did I go to meetings. I found out all the information about the diet on-line. The first place to look is at their patent.

All well known diets are available via Google Patent Search.

Author: Kyle Pott, Source: lifehack.org

Continue reading Patent Search Diet