Tag Archives: bodybuilding

Ernestine Shepherd

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Ernestine Shepherd! If she can do it, I can do it too.

I was looking through my favorite workout clothing catalogue (Athleta) and was surprised and delighted to see one of the legends of the bodybuilding world on the pages.  Ernestine Shepherd is an amazing, inspiring 81 years young.

In 2010, Ernestine earned the title of the world’s oldest performing female bodybuilder.  She isn’t currently competing but she weight trains 4 days a week and she runs up to 80 miles a week when she’s training for a marathon!

I sincerely enjoy watching her perform at such a high level and look forward to seeing news about her exploits when I’m reading my fitness magazines.  I love that she’s doing her thing in the gym (and on the road) even though she’s not a spring chicken.

I’m not exactly a spring chicken either.  One of the fantastic things about bodybuilding is that age doesn’t matter.  It’s not like being a fashion model where you’re thrown aside at 25 or 30 years old.  When it comes to the art of successful physique building, the older you are the more respect you get.  I think it’s because anyone involved in the community knows full well how hard you have to work and how diligent and dedicated you have to be in order to get good results.  That’s true whether you’re starting out at 15 or lifting into your 80’s like Ernestine.  When I’m in the gym, I’m as likely to get a sincere compliment from a 23 year old as I am from a 70 year old.  The longer you hang out in the fitness community the more pats on the back come your way…and that makes it a wonderful, welcoming place to practice your craft as you age.

Commando Man – Part two

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As you know from my post yesterday, I spent some time this weekend playing around on the internet.  I found my photo in a tattoo gallery and the caption writer was questioning whether I was a man going commando or a woman.  Apparently, it’s hard for some people to tell because I found another photo of mine posted on a different website.  The photo happened to be one of my favorites.  I was number 13 in the gallery titled, “21 American Flag Bikinis To Celebrate.”  The caption on the photo was quite nice…”Showing off the strength of America.”  What I really got a kick out of was the comment section.

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The last comment, that’s cut off in the screenshot was something like “What’s up with that dude?”  It seems the consensus was that I look like a man who maybe looks like Michelle Obama or something like that.  Was I upset?  Not at all.  I LOVE it.  I felt the same way I did when a lady asked me if I did manual labor for a living because my arms were so muscular.  I was amused…almost giddy with delight because it means my hard work is visible in the photo.  I know the aesthetic I prefer isn’t for everyone and it makes me happy to think that someone noticed the results of my dedication enough to call me “gross” or a “man.”  What’s the old expression?

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That’s right!  I must be over the target.  BRING. IT. ON.  The only bad part is that now I’m all revved up and wanting to pack more of that beautiful muscle on my frame.  My workouts have been incredible the last few days and consequently, my entire body is sore.  So sore.  If you see me hobbling down the street, I might not be able to raise my arm to wave to you but I know you’ll understand if I just smile!

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Commando Man – A Wish Come True

When you’re active on the internet, whether it’s blogging or posting on social media sites, you never know where your photos or writing will turn up.  People re-post things they find all the time so you have to be comfortable knowing your content will spread in  interesting and unusual ways.

I got all excited last weekend because as I was playing around on my Ipad I saw that one of my images was in the tattoo gallery at a place called the Tattoo Hut.  It was in a spot titled “List of Top Men Commando Tattoo Images.”  Now, I have to admit something that I have kept to myself until now.  I’ve always wanted to be a tattoo…or rather, I wanted someone to use one of my images as inspiration for a tattoo.  That might sound strange but it happens all the time.  People find ideas for new ink all over.  My interest in that type of tattoo is simply an extension of my love for the pin up genre.  True, the images people pick are often of celebrity women but there are lots of tattoos based on regular women too.

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Some are cartoon-y, some are more realistic, some are funny…and I love them all!  So I was looking forward to seeing what was in the tattoo gallery that had to do with a commando and me.

There were a total of 28 photos in the “List of Top Men Tattoo Images.”  Under the title heading was the line, exactly as written, “Here is the top Men Commando images we have.”  Because of the grammar on the site, I suspect it’s run by a non-native English speaker.  I was number 13 in the gallery.  The following are some of the other photos in the gallery with their captions.

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#2 Royal Marine Commando Dagger Tattoo First Forces…

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#16 Buff Royal Marines strip off in go commando charity calendar…

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#5 Mike Kagee fashion blog David McIntosh is a Royal Commando turned…

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#3 QOR Para Coy Tattoo

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#6 on the list

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Now for my photo – happy number 13 on the list.

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#13 Guys commando in sweats. Lady or the guy

Did you read the caption?  Did you?  That’s right.  They weren’t sure if I was a actually a woman or a man going commando in sweatpants.

No!  No! No, wish granters of the universe.  It wasn’t supposed to be me going commando, looking like a man, in a tattoo gallery.  It was supposed to be me as a tattoo on a “commando” (military/patriotic) man from America.  The basic elements were right but they were all mixed up.

I learned a valuable lesson over the weekend and I’m passing my newfound wisdom on to you.

You better be very, very specific when you wish for things!

**This post is not intended to slight the Royal Marine commandos in any way.  The very few Royal Marines I’ve had contact with were lovely but everybody knows I absolutely adore our American military men…

–Tune in tomorrow for the next installment in the Commando Man series —

 

Passing It On

My family and I spent a bit of time in the mountains around Independence Day.  It was a great trip and we were blessed to have friends and family for guests most of that time.

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Me with my boys. We celebrate Independence Day in grand style at my house!

One of my favorite young people, my 11 year old niece, came along for a few of those days.  When she walked into the cabin, she saw my pull up bar in one of the doorways and asked what it was for.  I told her it was what I used for one of my exercises and demonstrated pull ups using different grips so she could see what I was talking about.  She looked at me for a minute and said “I can’t do pull ups.”  I told her she most certainly could and that the only reason she couldn’t is that she thought she couldn’t.

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I explained that she probably only tried to use her arms to accomplish the task and explained that what she should be thinking about is using her back muscles (which are much stronger) to help her get her chest up to the bar.  I could tell she was contemplating that for a while.

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Yes, your biceps do work to get you up to the bar but your back is where your power is in this exercise.

The next day, my younger son and I were doing a workout.  We’ve been concentrating on compound, large muscle group exercises to help him make an easy transition into his upcoming football season and she asked to join us.  I told her that would be fine but pull ups were part of the routine and that she had to try.  She agreed and did a great job keeping up with what we were doing.  I modified some of the exercises for her (like having her do bent knee push ups) so that she’d be successful and before long, it was time for pull ups.  I told her once again that she absolutely COULD do pull ups and reminded her to visualize using the muscles in her back.

Lo and behold, she did not one, not two but three complete pull ups!  They weren’t consecutive but each one was perfect.  I gave her lots of praise and made sure that everyone knew about her little victory.  I was very proud of her and she was proud of herself.  I joked with her about getting her a pull up bar for Christmas and turning her into a workout phenom.

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Getting those pull ups done. She did three!

When it was time to go home, she looked at me very seriously and said, “Auntie Lynn…I really DO want a pull up bar for Christmas.”

…and a pull up bar, she shall receive!  There’s nothing I like better than passing on my love for fitness.

Independence Day – 2017

“Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.  We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.  Happy Fourth of July.” (Ronald Reagan)

Enjoy your day!

Independence Day

 

 

 

 

Eye Of The Beholder

One day, not too long ago, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few items.  As I got out of the car I spotted a woman with beautiful, long hair wearing a tank top going in ahead of me.  She had an amazing physique.  Her shoulders, triceps and traps were beautifully shaped…muscular and lovely.  I immediately started considering my own workouts lately.  I started regretted not lifting heavier, with more emphasis on muscle building.  My back has always been my favorite and most responsive body part to train and although I still lift diligently, I’ve not been pushing the very heavy stuff around for quite a while.  Most of the time I’m pretty satisfied with the balance I’ve been able to strike.  Although I’m not lifting super heavy I’ve still been able to maintain a little muscle mass and my joints are much happier than they used to be.

…But that woman!  Seeing her sparked that old competitive spirit that lurks inside.  I was comparing her physique to my own (both the new and the old) and watching her so intently, I wondered if she could feel me from across the parking lot.

As she turned inside the store to grab a cart, I was jolted out of my musings.  She was a HE!  The woman I’d been watching from behind was actually a man with long hair!  I had to laugh.  For years, I’ve had relatives telling me that my view of an ideal female body is skewed.  I like more muscle than they do by far.  I suppose this is one story I’ll keep to myself at family gatherings!

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Wow…that v-taper, those shoulders, the triceps!   She sure looks great from behind!

 

Dance Flower! Dance!

Fitbit Alta HR

Now and then, in a quest to keep thing fresh and moving forward, I like to try something new.  To that end, I got a Fitbit Alta HR a few weeks ago.  I thought it might be nice to have a way to track my steps each day.  The Fitbit researchers decided, upon the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control, to start everyone on a 10,000 step per day goal.  I’ve since moved mine up to a 12,000 step a day goal which better suits my needs.  I walk the dogs every morning so that takes care of a lot of the requirement but then I find times during the day to walk to make up the difference.

Besides walking each day I also row using a rowing machine and lift weights.  The tracker allows me to add distance (for the rowing) and time to my overall activity minutes but those activities don’t count toward my step goal.  So in addition to my 12,000 step a day minimum I can also keep track of other activities like lifting, running, playing tennis, jumping rope etc.

I figured I would get some benefit out of having the Fitbit but it turns out it’s provided great motivation for me.  One of the clock faces you can choose from, has a flower on it.  When you’re not very active, for instance if you’re sitting at a desk working on a paper, the flower is short with just one a bud.  If you start moving around, the flower will grow taller, sprout more leaves, bloom and finally dance.  Oh my goodness, the things I’ve done to get that flower to dance!

One day I was waiting for a friend at the hospital and although I had my 12,000 steps for the day, my poor flower was just a sad looking little thing.  I went to a quiet corner and started marching in place (that counts for walking…and if you lift your knees high, is an excellent exercise).  Now, that was an odd thing to be doing, alone in a hallway and sure enough a nurse caught me as she came out of a stairwell next to where I was happily marching.  I stopped and just looked at her.  She said “Oh, you’re trying to get your steps, right?” Then she showed me the Fitbit she was wearing, the strap of which happened to be color coordinated with her scrubs.  We had a good laugh.  She went about her business and I kept on marching until that flower danced!

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I’ve got the Fitbit set so that it will give me friendly reminders to move when I’ve been still too long.  That’s a handy tool, since most of the time, I can get up and do a quick few steps.  If I can’t, it thankfully won’t bug me but the awareness that I’ve been sedentary for a significant period of time is a good little nudge to move around a little bit.

I’d say the Fitbit was an excellent purchase and I don’t even use most of it’s capability.  I don’t care to track my sleep, use the calorie counter or connect with other people for fitness challenges.  This particular model of Fitbit is very slim and unobtrusive and will track your heart rate. 

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Because it’s so slim, I think this model is marketed primarily toward women. I know there are Fitbits with wider bands that will fit a man’s wrist well.

It came with a black strap but if you go on Amazon you can order generic brand straps in a rainbow of colors to fit it.  They’re quite inexpensive.  I got a large assortment for a very reasonable price.   I even got one in leopard print.  Naturally, since I got all the colors, I find myself wearing the black strap every day.

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The straps come in every color you can imagine and there are lots of patterned straps too. They’re easy to switch out.

If you find yourself lacking in motivation and bored with your traditional way of tracking  your workouts, you might want to consider getting a Fitbit.  It just may provide a fun and amusing way to encourage you.

The Way You Make Me Feel

All veteran lifters know what it feels like to hit a personal best at the gym.  It’s just the greatest thing to meet a goal that’s been calling your name for a while!  If you want to smile, watch this video.  It’s only a few seconds long but that little baby has the spirit!

Little, Bitty Goals

Rest assured, there were a ton of little, bitty goals that were met between the following before and after photos!

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It helps keep workouts going strong when you set little, bitty goals along the way.  There’s nothing wrong with setting big goals like losing 50lbs or running a marathon or winning a bodybuilding competition but it’s meeting the small goals that really propels you along day to day.  We all like to win so setting yourself up to do so is a smart way to keep yourself motivated.

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What do I mean by little, bitty goals?  I mean purposely setting the bar so you’ll be able to reach it with just a little thought and effort.  Perhaps you’ll ask yourself to drink one extra glass of water each day for a week.  Maybe you’ll add one extra set to each of your lifts for a month or go an extra quarter mile on your usual morning jog during football season.

Successfully meeting goals is a habit you can develop.  Reaching little, bitty goals regularly creates a mindset of accomplishment.  You learn how to keep the commitments you make and that sets you up for success with the larger goals you wish to attain.

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Practice makes perfect (or at least it gets you close)!

Rise And Grind!

I’ve had times in my life when all my regular workouts took place after 7:00pm.  I’d go to work, come home, eat dinner and then head out to the gym.  I’d usually get back around 9:15pm.  I did that for years because that’s what my schedule allowed.  These days I do most of my workouts in the morning.  Given the two choices, I far prefer exercising in the morning.  That’s because after a good workout, I can start the rest of my day with a feeling of accomplishment.  It automatically sets my mood in the relaxed/happy part of the emotional grid and that’s a wonderful mindset to have when facing the challenges each day brings.  Obviously, getting a workout in, no matter what time is preferable to not doing any type of fitness activity at all but there are advantages to kickstarting the day with exercise.

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The following article by Melih F. Cologlu delves into the topic and posits some sound reasons to try and get those workouts in early in the day if you can.

Not a morning trainer? Too bad for you. Here are 8 reasons why those who work out in the a.m. have a big advantage.

Awhile back, a study came out that said your testosterone levels were higher in the morning—as if you needed a study to tell you that. Afterward, I heard and read a lot of talk about how the morning was therefore the best time to work out.[1]

Yet it’s not that simple, because of this little thing called “life.” The fact of the matter is that for most of us, the time we choose to work out corresponds with the time we have available, which explains why most gyms are typically packed after the work hours.

But perhaps we can give you a compelling reason—in fact, eight great reasons—to wake up a little earlier to hit the gym rather than save it for later in your day. Withhold judgment about how you’re not a morning person until you fully absorb all the advantages of morning training.

1. It’s Easier To Follow High-Volume Training Systems

Trying to do a triset or a giant set is all but impossible in a packed gym. This guy over here wants to work in. That girl over there wants to steal your dumbbells. Others cast an evil eye your way for hogging so much equipment. They would have a point—if the gym was crowded.

But it’s not, because you were ready to rise and grind before everyone else. Yep, it’s much easier to complete these types of training programs when the facility is less crowded. That just happens to be in the morning.

2. Your Hormones Are Working To Your Advantage

As mentioned, in the early morning hours, crucial hormones (i.e., testosterone) that help build muscle mass are elevated in the body. By exercising in the morning, you’re taking advantage of these naturally circulating hormones as they’re peaking, rather than later in the day when they’re lower.

3. It Leaves Times For Other Priorities

I may make a living from the gym, but it’s still not my number one priority. Nothing is more important than family. Clearly there’s a trade-off between the amount of time you spend in the gym and the amount of time you can spend at home. Which is why slicing off a small segment, like you can in the morning, is usually better than in the evening, when you have to fight rush hour, navigate a crowded gym environment, get home to shower, and allot whatever’s left for your family. The math simply works better if you get your workout done in the morning.

4. You’ll Be More Focused When You Reach The Office Or School

A bout of exercise increases your focus on the next activity, because your body is aroused. What follows a morning workout? For most people, it’s the office or school. Hence, one of the advantages of working out in the morning is that you’re more alert during those later hours.

5. You’ll Be Less Likely To Skip Your Workout

It may take a cup of coffee to get your morning going, but once you’re up, there are few distractions on your way to the gym. But later in the day, any number of distractions can sabotage your workout: less motivation, fatigue, the gang is going out for some drinks, a sick child, an overdue report for work or school.

If you’ve already completed your workout, you can simply roll with whatever obstacles come up later in the evening without feeling bad that you missed another day. You’re far more likely to be consistent with your training if you get it done early in the day rather than waiting for later.

6. Your Metabolic Rate Will Receive A Quick Boost

Without a doubt, exercise can boost your metabolic rate. The degree depends on your current fitness level and the kind of activity you choose. All other things being equal, working out in the morning will help to boost your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories for the rest of the day. This phenomenon is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.

7. You Won’t Have As Many Distractions

Chances are pretty good that you train with a number of friends, which makes socializing pretty easy. Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s easy for a short gabfest to turn a productive workout into one where you barely break a sweat. If you’re serious about getting results and not wasting your time, you’ll want to spend your gym time with minimal distractions.

You can bet that people who get up in the wee hours are more serious about their workouts. From my personal experience, the chances of someone distracting your workout is much less likely in the morning.

8. Your Mood Will Improve

You’re probably familiar with the notion that some workouts release endorphins, feel-good hormones that are increased following exercise of sufficient intensity and duration.[2] But you don’t have to do hours of cardio to feel good about yourself; heck, you’ve just completed your workout for the day.

 

Nothing feels better than having a good workout under your belt, especially if you’re prone to blowing them off at night. Which is why there’s no better way to get your day started. You can boost your mood and sense of accomplishment by just be setting your alarm clock for a little earlier.

Rise And Grind

If you don’t train regularly in the morning, you may find that, at first, your performance suffers during anaerobic exercise (like bodybuilding-type training) as compared to late-afternoon workouts. Nevertheless, you can make larger improvements in exercise performance if you make morning training regular; that is, you do it consistently.3 So if you’re new to morning training, be patient but consistent with your a.m. workouts.

Yes it’s tough to get up in the morning, let alone try to complete a good workout. Soon enough, however, with consistency you’ll see your performance skyrocket and you’ll have a slew of good reasons that justify setting that alarm just a little bit earlier. For those of us who are already there bright and early, the secret is out!

References
  1. Resko, J. A., & Eik-Nes, K. B. (1966). Diurnal testosterone levels in peripheral plasma of human male subjects. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 26(5), 573-576.
  2. Goldfarb, A. H., & Jamurtas, A. Z. (1997). B-Endorphin response to exercise. Sports Medicine, 24(1), 8-16.
  3. Chtourou, H., & Souissi, N. (2012). The effect of training at a specific time of day: a review. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 26(7), 1984-2005.
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