Actually Rebuilding Rome

workout

Okay, so I’ve had several people ask me what my workouts look like and how often I do them and how do I continue to progress and so on and so forth. So, this post is going to be all about what I currently do in a normal week.

In MY world, the week starts on Monday. The week just starting on a Sunday is weird to me. It’s considered the weekend. Anyway, I digress. So, typically on a Monday I’ll do a boot camp workout with my small group class that I pay a little extra money for. I do that twice a week and every workout is different and super tough. It’s a circuit training style class and the workouts typically last 60-90 minutes. Rarely are there structured rest times in between the workouts we are given. It really is strengthening and muscle conditioning. It’s less weight and more reps. The movements are dynamic to get the whole body moving. These workouts really do burn some fat. Also on Mondays, I’m registered for a co-ed flag football league that has yet to start due to inclement weather here. I also signed up as a free agent, so I have yet to be placed…so fingers crossed for that one.

On a Tuesday, it’s time for an hour long cardio session. My cardio regimen equals two runs a week (either on the treadmill or outside running) and an hour-long cardio machine workout (either the Elliptical or the StairMaster.) For treadmill runs, they are designed to build up speed. I’ve found whatever pace I finish with on a treadmill, I’m right around 0.5 MPH slower on a road run. With that in mind, I’m always trying to progress 0.1 MPH with each treadmill run. I do this by running 2.0 MPH faster than my desired pace for the first two minutes. For the next 57 minutes, I run at my desired pace. For the last minute, I run 2.0 MPH above my desired pace. So, if I plan on running 7.6 miles in an hour, I’ll start my treadmill at 9.5 MPH for the first two minutes, throttle down to 7.5 MPH for the next 57 minutes, and then throttle up to 9.5 MPH for the last mile. If I complete that, then I’m able to move up 0.1 MPH the next time. Additionally, I currently take a hip-hop dance class in the evenings on Tuesdays and I burn about 500 extra calories, so that’s a nice bonus.

As for the Elliptical and the StairMaster, I also have unique methods. With the Elliptical, I do a manual workout for an hour, start at my desired level and do that for 30 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, I’ll go up two levels for the next 10 minutes. At the 40 minute mark, I’ll go up another two levels and at the 50 minute mark I’ll go up two more levels. If I’m able to complete that workout, the next time I’ll start up one level from the previous Elliptical workout and repeat the process. With the StairMaster, I’ll do that for an hour and choose a level from the “Fat Burner” workout option. If I complete that without struggling, the next time I do a StairMaster workout, I will move up one level and repeat the workout.

On an ideal Wednesday, I’m back at it with the boot camp crew for another lovely workout. Side note: If you belong to a gym that offers group exercise (my gym does offer group exercise for free, I just choose to pay for this extra group) then take advantage of it. It’s included in your membership and they really do kick your butt. If you’re a competitive person, like me, you usually get a lot more out of the group workouts. Plus, it’s a great way to make new friends.

For a Thursday workout, it’s back to cardio with either a road run or treadmill run. Right now, I’m only doing treadmill runs to build up my speed. I’m close to my target goal of running at 8.0 MPH for an hour. Once I complete that, I’ll do outdoor runs once or twice a week. I eventually want to do a full marathon and have already done a half marathon in my life. I’ll do another half marathon first and then train for a full marathon. Please guys, send me all the good vibes for that one!

Friday is a true weight lifting day. My weight-lift circuit is pictured above along with a video of each workout I do in order. I’ll break down the workout for you. You’ll notice in parentheses next to the workouts I have words like “Easy, Medium, and Hard” in there. “Easy” means that on the last set, I was able to get at least two more reps than the written amount and therefore can go up 10 pounds total the next time. “Medium” means that the workout was challenging and that I am not ready to move up, yet I did complete the workout. “Hard” means that the workout was too hard and I need to move down 10 pounds total for the next workout.

You’ll notice after my shoulder warmup I have listed the following: bench press, squat, hang clean, and RDL (Romanian Dead Lift or Straight-Legged Dead Lift). I call those the “Big Four” and I try to get those four lifts done, plus the shoulder warmup, in the first 30 minutes or less. I generally take 60 second rests in between each set, no more. I also try to do all of the workouts I have listed in order from top to bottom. They are designed strategically that way. If you want to know more or why I do this workout this certain way, go ahead and reach out to me. I designed this full-body workout myself and combined elements of my football workouts from high school and elements of my workouts that I did with a friend of mine during my freshman year of college.

Saturday is double workout day. I’ll go to Arrichion Hot Yoga in Raleigh, NC for the 9:00 AM Topaz session. It’s so good to get a good stretch in and I love the vibe over at Arrichion. They have so many different classes to choose from and I wish I was in a situation where I could do more. Maybe one day. Anyway, I’ll burn anywhere from 300-500 calories in a 45 minute session there and then I’ll head on over to O2 Fitness and get an hour-long workout on either the Elliptical or the StairMaster.

Sunday is…a REST DAY. Please people, take one-to-two rest days a week. Your body needs time to recover from all the work you are putting it through. Otherwise, your workouts will suffer, you will plateau, or you will get hurt. Everything in moderation guys, enjoy your rest day…you earned it.

Obviously, depending on your schedule you can deviate and change your regimen. Again, this is MY way of living. You do not have to do it my way. Develop something that works for you and stick with it!

 

Tackling Eating Disorders

*The following post was written by Brooke Beneze and all of the views expressed in this post are hers. As her brother, I absolutely am thrilled that Brooke wanted to come on here and talk about a subject I have very little knowledge or experience with. The beauty in people is that everyone is different, even if they share the same blood. Brooke and I may have slightly different methods for our own health and wellness…but we are both enjoying the journeys that we are individually on. So, of course, I support her and this post wholeheartedly. Enjoy!

Hello! I am very excited to be here! I am Cal’s younger sister, Brooke, and some days, I think we couldn’t be more different. This is why I volunteered to write a post from a different perspective. I really don’t like juice cleanses, food rules, and I don’t feel the need to exercise five-to-six days out of the week, though there was a point in my life when I let those things define me. While I believe Cal’s journey is incredibly impressive and his dedication is inspiring, I think I speak for many when I say that I also think he is CRAZY! All that money?! How many workouts per day?! I couldn’t do it. With that being said, he’s mentioned several times that this is his story and he isn’t trying to tell others how to lose weight.

Everyone goes on a unique journey when it comes to weight loss, body image, and self-esteem. I remember in the fourth grade, one of my best friends made a comment about my looking at food labels before I would eat a snack, and I guess that’s my first memory of when my obsession began.

I don’t think I ever had the healthiest relationship with food and the worst of it was probably from the ages 18-20. I counted EVERYTHING. I counted the calories of the gum that I was chewing, I weighed myself every single day and felt like a failure when I didn’t lose weight and I would never eat a dish if I didn’t know what was in it. I even remember going to bed very early because I was hungry and wanted to just time-warp to breakfast. Today, this behavior is called Orthorexia. I wasn’t Anorexic, I wasn’t Bulimic, I never binged, but I was incredibly restrictive to the point where it was very difficult for me to have a social life and actually like the person that I was in any capacity other than my appearance. I was holding myself back all because I let a number on a scale determine my self-worth. The lowest weight that I ever got to was 101 pounds. And now I weigh about 20 pounds more, I can definitely say I don’t ever want to go back to those days. All of the counting, rules, depression, and isolation was not worth being “skinny.”

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Nearly seven years into my journey, it wasn’t until last October that I gave up counting calories for good. I gave myself a break exercising, too, and I’ve never felt more free. The crazy thing is, I think I’ve actually lost weight, but I don’t really know since I stopped weighing myself, as well. It took me a long time to realize that my habits were detrimental to my mental health. I could never be satisfied with myself and I wasn’t very fun to be around, either.

These days, my goals and my lifestyle are very different. I’m still learning and getting better every day, but I feel like I’ve got a better grasp on balance. I focus on making myself feel good and fueling myself with primarily whole ingredients, while still allowing myself to drink lots of wine sometimes and have a piece of bread at dinner without feeling guilt. Sometimes I do still have weight loss goals, but I feel like it’s more important to just eat some more veggies and less packaged stuff, move around a little bit more, and let my body find it’s happy place. Ultimately, no one really cares about how much you weigh or if you have abs. Most people just want to see you be the happiest and most confident version of yourself.

Now, I want to help others! I want to help people that have had a negative relationship with food in the past, and/or peers that, like myself, work a 9-to-5 desk job and are just starting to become interested in beginning an exercise routine or meal prepping. With so much information out there and different methods being thrown in your face all of the time, it’s really daunting to get started.

My brother is very unique and extremely driven. For him, he can handle exercising as much as he does and being very strict with his diet. For most other people, however, his habits aren’t very realistic. Cal is absolutely fun to watch and his progress is astonishing already, but no, you do not have to do what he does in order to lose weight.

Cal, keep doing you as long as it makes you happy! Thank you for giving me the space to tell my story and offer a different perspective. I began this by saying that I feel like we’re awfully different people, but there’s no denying that we are both also very long-winded, driven, and “fitness-y” people, as well. Love you, brother!

Following the “80/20 Rule(s)”

Hey all, not a super long post today…but an important one nonetheless. There are a couple “80/20 Rule(s)” that every person practicing a healthy lifestyle should live by and I’m going to break them down really quick for you.

80-of-the-time-it-works-every-time
Yes, I know the quote is, “60% of the time it works every time.” Just go with it.

The first 80/20 rule: 80% of your weight loss goals are made through the kitchen and 20% of your weight loss goals are made through exercise. Now, every person is different, so you may be a 60/40 person or a 90/10 person. But, read this livestrong.com article about why diet typically yields greater weight-loss results than just exercising alone. You need exercise for sure, especially if you want to speed up your results. However, think about how hard it is to burn 500-1000 calories for one-to-two hours exercising versus how easy it is to consume 500-1000 calories for fifteen minutes at a restaurant.

The second 80/20 rule: Follow your daily diet 80% of the time. You WILL go crazy if you try to follow a super strict diet your whole life. Check out this health.com article on the best way to follow this 80/20 rule. Remember what this blog is all about. Everything in moderation. Enjoying your life while making healthier life choices. Remember my blog post about BistroMD? For my meal deliveries, they leave me one night a week for a structured break from my plan. It is completely healthy to enjoy the foods you love and not feel like you’re “cheating.” Do you honestly think I’m going to be consuming BistroMD meals my whole life? No. But, this is all a design to get me into the habit of being satisfied with less and making, what I like to call, “simple sacrifices.” That restaurant you love? They probably aren’t known for their fries, so get the salad with oil and vinegar or the bowl of fruit instead. You can still have the burger (hell, even keep the bun.) Be educated, if they have whole grain bread for the bun…ask for it! If you want it wrapped in lettuce…ask for it! If they say no, they say no. That’s literally the worst that can happen. If they have bison meat as an option, get it! If they don’t, no biggie. That caesar salad with buffalo chicken tenders…fake healthy. That house salad with grilled chicken tossed in buffalo sauce…real healthy. We don’t need the instant gratification. Sweet tooth at night? Don’t do the ice cream. Do the homemade casein protein bar and the homemade casein protein shake instead (yes, there will be a recipe and video about how to make those within the coming weeks.) These are some examples of “simple sacrifices.”

Be sure to check in with me tomorrow as I have my Week 3 Progress Report for all of you as well as an exciting announcement concerning “Rebuilding Rome” becoming available on multiple platforms! Happy Sunday!

Workout Gear Essentials

Hey guys, since we are still in week one of “Rebuilding Rome,” I figured it’d make sense to make a post about your workout gear essentials.

When you decide that you’re going to go ahead and start working out regularly, you’re going to need to go ahead and get some things you might not already have.

So, in the above pictures I’ve included what I need to get through a workout and I’ll go through each of them with you. The picture on the left includes each outfit that I workout in. I personally have six (6) workout outfits, which is on the higher side, though I’m sure I have some friends that have more. I would say the minimum needed is three (3). Now, you don’t need these outfits color coordinated and everything like I do in my picture. You just need something that fits right and is good to move around in. How many outfits you have or get will largely determine on how often you do your laundry and how often you workout. I do my laundry once a week and I try to workout six days a week, so for me, six outfits are perfect. What you wear to a workout may not seem like a super important thing, but as Deion Sanders once said, “You look good, you feel good. You feel good, you play good. You play good, they pay good.”

For the photo on the right, it includes the rest of my essentials. In there you’ll see my gym bag, my fitness tracker, my Master Lock, my phone armband, my shaker bottle, my headphones, and my shoes.

If you’re going somewhere to workout, (ie: a gym), then you’re going to need a gym bag. Which one you get is up to you. My sister got me an Arizona State University gym bag as a present one year and it’s pretty awesome. I keep my wallet, phone, and keys in there as well as my ab wheel, protein powder, and shaker bottle.

Now, if you’re bringing a gym bag to the gym, please bring a lock. It truly shocks me how many people throw their personal belongings in an open locker and do not lock them. That’s just stupid. Sorry if you’re one of those people, but it’s true.

I already went into my Fitbit Charge 2 in my previous post, “Day One,” and I will touch briefly upon it here. The Fitbit Charge 2 is a pretty simple fitness tracker to use that I really enjoy using. The app is great and is available in the Apple Store and the Google Play Store. It counts your steps, monitors your heart rate, monitors your sleep, tracks all different kinds of workouts, counts floors you’ve climbed in a day, calculates calories burned…and so much more.

The next thing pictured in the image on the right is the VUP Wrist Phone Holder. Frankly, all workout armbands are so similar it really doesn’t matter which one you get…but I chose this one because it can rotate 180 degrees and has a wristband option, which I have. It also allows me to keep my LifeProof case on my Google Pixel, which is an added plus.

A shaker bottle is useful for a couple things. Basically, its for any powdered drink you decide to supplement your workout with. We’ll go more in-depth about supplements and supplementing your workout in a future post soon. It can also be your water bottle if you want it to be. My brother got me a sweet Sun Devil shaker bottle for Christmas and I love it.

Now, to the most important piece of gear. Your shoes. The fit of your shoes and the type is so important for the quality of workout you are going to get. For me, I wear the Asics Gel Kayano 24’s. They offer a lot of support and are good for off-road and on-road training. They are great for flat-footed runners, which I am.
The final item in the image on the right is my Plantronics BackBeat Fit Wireless Bluetooth Headphones. You can find them for around $50 on the web. I’ve searched far and wide for good workout headphones and it hasn’t been an easy search. They’re not the coolest looking and not the best sounding, but they allow full range of motion, they are simple to use, and I’ve had no hardware issues with them. I did a little hack with mine and bought some Yurbuds covers and put a small slit in them and fit them over my BackBeat Fit buds and I now have great sound. It amazes me the amount of runners I see without wireless headphones still today. I get so annoyed with the wire when I’m running and it affects your running form. Trust me, getting wireless bluetooth headphones is a wise investment. If you’re interested in the other ones that I tried and didn’t enjoy, Connect with Me!

My Workout Playlist
Running to music at a louder volume and at a faster pace has shown to increase a runner’s speed and heart rate.

Obviously, if you’re going to wear headphones, then you’re going to need music to listen to. I personally only like to listen to music when I go for a run, so this is my workout playlist. It can be easy to get tired of your running playlist, so try to update it every now and then. Find music that has a tempo of 140 beats per minute or so, as studies show that your speed tends to increase when your music is at a faster pace.

Well, there you go! Those items are what I would consider the essentials when it comes to gear. Make sure to check back in on Monday for my week one progress report. It’ll recap the completion of my juice cleanse and we’ll compare the Day One body statistics to Week One’s body statistics.