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Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday Fitness Tip #4: From a 32-year Fitness Novice

In last Friday’s Black Friday Fitness Tip #3, I gave you an overview of my own workout routine that I stick to 3-4 days a week. And have done so for 32 years now. Oh, I’ve missed a few here n’ there but not enough to throw me off a good routine. Besides my work routine as a Voice Actor, this is the one consistent regimen I’ve kept a big part of my life. 

Now let me give you a breakdown of each weight machine I use in the order in which I use them. Btw, don’t let these machines intimidate you. They are meant to make your workout easier, simpler and safer than using free weights. When Arthur Jones first developed the Nautilus line of weight machines, he adapted seat belts to all the machines in an effort to encourage you to keep your back in place to avoid lower back stress. These days the seat belts have been phased out. However, be sure to set your seat height correctly and keep the small of your back pressed up against the seat back while going through the exercise.
Here’s a link to “Weight Machines For Dummies”.

I begin my workout with stretches for my arms, legs and midsection.
  1. Then get on the Back Machine. Set the seat and the weight. A good rule of thumb is to adjust the seat so that when you sit down your thighs are parallel to the floor and your feet are flat on the ground. This ensures that your legs can support your body throughout the exercise. Use lighter weights at first until you get used to each machine. Each machine also has a “guide” diagram on it to show you proper body placement and technique. Go back and forth holding in each direction for a count of “2”.
  2. Abdominal Machine. Set your seat low enough so that your shoulders are crunching over your abdomen and go back and forth holding for a 2 count. Do each rep slowly as you feel your muscles working. And don’t let the weight plates touch.
  3. Stationary Bike - Set the seat back so your legs stretch out to the pedals enough for a solid push on the balls of your feet. Do 30 minutes at a moderate pace. If it’s comfortable use the machines arms to the sides as well.
  4. Elliptical Cross Trainer - Not much to set here. Just get in the pedals and program your workout on the digital panel in front of you. This is a great machine since there is NO stress on your knees due to the “floating” pedal and propulsion system. 
  5. Chest Fly Machine. My first of two chest machines. For the pectoral muscles on each side of the breast bone. With feet flat on the floor and arms stretched to slightly above shoulder height, slide your fingers between the crossbar and the pad so that your palms are pushing against the pads. This insures that the pressure is set where you want it. As you slowly bring your arms together, try to touch your elbows… at least picture that… so that you use your pecks and not your shoulders for the exercise. Again, holding with a 2 count in both directions, not allowing the weight plates to touch. Note: This is true with the weight plates of all machines so that you are using your muscles, expanding and contracting, as you move through the exercise motion. 
  6. Chest Press - For the area around your pecks and muscles between chest and shoulders.  You are in a declining position at about a 45º angle pressing forward with your arms away from your chest. Keep your elbows up parallel to the floor and slowly move back and forth. Inhaling (through your nose) as you lower the arms toward your chest and exhaling (through your mouth) as you push the arms away from your chest. Again, you should be doing a weight that you can handle 12 -15 reps and 3 sets with.
I’ll stop right here and pick up next week with Friday Fitness Tip #5 and continue with the rest of my workout. Hey… relaaaax! We’re almost halfway home! See ya’ next time! 

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a fitness expert in any way. I’m not a certified trainer, dietician, or medical doctor… nor do I hold a degree in physical education, dietary science, sports medicine or any other field related to today’s fitness. I am just a normal guy who’s been working out regularly at a gym, 3 - 4 days per week for the last 32 years. I take my health seriously. I figure, I do no service to my profession as a Voice Actor/Voiceover Talent (sometimes on camera) nor to anyone else if I don’t try and maintain good health. And I’ve learned a few things along the way that I’d like to share with you. These ideas work for me and just might work for you. Stay tuned for many more tips to come!

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