Month 8 (sorry skipped month 7)

I’m going to be real with you, I have stopped caring about my measurements, body fat % or how much iv grown.

I am 100% focused on learning new skills and watching my progress happen with the exercises I am trying to master.

This my “Front Lever” just over a month ago.

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AND! This is my front level right now.

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My back is a lot straighter and iv changed the way I am practicing it.

Learning that the way some get to these advanced exercises the way I have been reading is harder for me. I am finding my own path to these advanced exercises. The first picture I am attempting to straighten one leg while keeping the other tucked in, I am finding it’s easier to put both my legs straight up and then lower one leg slowly until its straight with the rest of my body, while keeping the other straight up.

For an example check this video 🙂

This last month I have gotten kinda side tracked with these advanced moves and have not been doing my daily work to help my back. It has been flaring up more often, so… that is something I need to focus on more! Less fancy bar work… more focus on my core and lower back. Gotta strengthen the basics before seeing anything fancy!

I have been trying to get so much better so I can impress people with my new-found skills, new found abilities.  I have lost track of why I started this journey.

Starting a brand new program from 2 people I have been following on social media for a while.

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Doing the first day of the program made me notice just how much iv focused on the more advanced stuff and have lost touch with the basics. I am following this program to the letter, from the beginning to the end. 16 weeks is a long time to follow a program.

Although, I did follow moveu phase 1 for 3 months straight before really seeing results!

My new goal will be to follow this Get Strong program while practicing MoveU phase 2 on my off days.

I have been doing things I never thought I could do again with no back pain, fancy pull up exercises, getting amazing flexibility and even able to go golfing!

 

Life is getting pretty good, and I am the happiest I have ever been!

It has taken a lot of work to get this far in my fitness goals.

This blog post was different than most, it was more of a reflection of the past few months rather than a written journal of my progress. Perhaps next month ill go back to the normal monthly blog post. I’m sure a lot more will change by then!

Thanks for reading, and thank you for being a part of my fitness journey.

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Pelvic Tilt, Why You Need to Learn it.

Learning what your pelvic tilt is and how to control it is probably one of the most important things I’ve learned!

There are 3 types of pelvic tilts.

anterior_pelvic_tilt
If you have an Anterior pelvic tilt I bet you suffer from back pain!

If you have a Posterior Pelvic tilt I bet you suffer from back pain!

Now you’re in luck, there are so many simple little exercises to help get you back to a neutral pelvic tilt. However…. I am not going to sugar coat it… it can take ALOT of work. I personally had a posterior tilt for a long time, and it took me around 2 months to correct it! I am still correcting myself all the time.

I often talk about yoga and how it’s changed my life. How to solve this little problem? Cat-Cow pose is a very good start. With Cat-Cow you are tilting into posterior then anterior. You can do this while laying down on the floor. In fact that’s how I started! I laid on the floor and practiced tilting my pelvis.

This motion helps. There is more to it… but the basic idea is if you suffer from one, you need to be doing more of the other.

What I have noticed is that some women tend to stay in an Anterior tilt so their butt sticks out more and generally most people who say “I have no butt” normally have a posterior tilt. In the end it causes problems regardless!

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So plug yourself in, turn that light on. Listen to that body, do you have back pain? One of the first things you should be checking is your pelvic tilt!

There are many things that can help you when you start correcting your posture! Trust me, the more you correct the more you problems you find! I am always finding new problems and ALWAYS correcting myself.

Keep at it everyone, and don’t forget if you need help I am just a quick message away 🙂

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The Importance of Happy Feet

Our feet are out base, the first and last thing to touch the ground (unless you’re doing hand stands of course!!) We often forget the importance of strong and flexible feet with modern day shoes.

Simple things to help get those feet healthy, Step one: Stretch them out man!

Our feet are very similar to our hands in a lot of ways. A lot of the wrist and finger stretches you see online can work for your feet! Check it out!

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Notice how these are similar to wrist and finger stretches? Yeah, pretty neat right!

Feet exercises are often overlooked, they are so important! I promise you will learn to love your feet after you start working on them. Grab a towel and work on grabbing it forward with your toes. It’s really as simple as that to get started!

I had pretty much flat feet from wearing steel toe boots most of the time when I worked trades related jobs. I now have arches and far more flexibility in my feet than ever before. Even my toes are far straighter!

I watched a video years ago about kids in Africa that walk, run and play with bare feet. How they moved just a little different. The focus of their movement was on the toes and fronts of the foot. I remember watching this video and they gave the kids modern day shoes, know what happened? The kids instantly starting walking, running and playing with their heels striking the ground first! The support of the shoes changed how they moved in a matter of seconds! Pretty crazy right?

Think about this for a moment. Think about how you move on your feet. I’m going to give you a simple test. Walk or run up a small hill. I’ll wait here….

ok you done? Ok, you probably didn’t even leave that’s cool too!

I want you to think about what you favor more, walking uphill or downhill?

If you favor walking down hill you are more prone to walking on your heels, and if you favor walking up hill, you prefer walking on your toes or fronts of your feet. Pretty neat eh?!

Is it bad to walk on your heels? nah, is it better to walk on the front of your feet? I think so. That’s just my opinion though 🙂

To help my lower back I literally learned how to walk again. Tossed the shoes off and started practicing on this treadmill my step dad and I bought for like $100.

The goal? To walk as fast as I can without this old cheap treadmill shaking and boy does it shake! Having to think about each step in order to do this.

Lately iv been watching my water, and trying to keep the water as calm as possible.

How we walk affects everything! It’s the first thing that touches the ground. Do you have back pain? Ask Yourself “do I stomp when I walk?” You should be as quiet as a ninja!

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Put some thought into how you walk, be mindful of that stomping. Work on being as quiet as a ninja!

Message me about your progress, what you have learned. I would love to hear it! 🙂

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Month 6!

I feel like this isn’t really month 6 but month 3.

I have progressed so fast in these last 3 months since over coming my back pain. I have had maybe 3 flare ups in these past months and they were pretty minor compared to other times.

That’s all fun and games but we are here to talk about measurements and fitness stuff right?! So let’s look at the numbers.

These numbers are from the 1st of april…. I’m just getting around to writing this post out now though! Sorry!!

Last Month: 

Weight: 129.8
Neck: 15 inches
Chest: 38 inches
Biceps: 11.5 inches
Forearms: 9.5 inches
Waist: 30 inches
Thighs: 18 inches
Calves: 14 inches

This month:

Weight: 128.9
Neck: 15 inches
Chest: 38 inches
Biceps: 12.5
Forearms: 11 inches
Waist: 30.5
Thighs: 18.5
Calves: 13.5

As you can see, I am seeing more size gain from last month. Which is pretty awesome! A full inch on my biceps and 1.5 on my forearms! Thighs are getting bigger too, calves are smaller however that might be due to the stretches iv been doing to help my hamstrings. (Working on touching my toes in a forward fold!!)

Check out my muscle quality and body fat % though! this is what has seen the greatest improvement!

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Isnt that awesome?! You can clearly tell when I started really beating my back pain and could really start gaining ground in my fitness!!

Alright! Lets talk about the real fun stuff, the changes, the modifications and new things iv added to my fitness routines!!

First up! STRETCHES. I have made such amazing ground with my flexibility. For a great example on how I am progressing with my stretches, this is pigeon pose. I can normally keep my front leg at a 90 degree angle while keeping my back straight. I then bend over by the hip to get deeper in the stretch. However what I have been doing to get even deeper into this stretch is grabbing my back leg and im working on pulling my back leg closer toward me. Just like in this picture!

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I have also been exploring new more challenging bar exercises like the front lever.

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This may look impressive but all I see is how I could do better…. The goal with a front lever is a straight line from your head to your legs. Similar to a plank (picture below) Clearly… this is not a straight line.. haha I gotta work on getting that butt higher! It’s a very challenging move! Taken me around 2 weeks just to work on getting my shoulder position right and I still got some work to do there!!

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The bottom line, things are improving a lot! I can walk barefoot on my treadmill while watching a movie on my iPad at a steady 2.5MPH. Row on the rowing machine for 20 minutes, iv even starting adding rotational exercises to my routines without back pain!!

Speed and how much I lift is nothing compared to being able to do these motions with no back pain! I have sworn off lifting weights unless its to work on a mobility issue! This has been one of my best decisions.

I could keep going on and on about how awesome I am feeling and how excited I am about being able to get back to being able to do the exercises I love so much!! Being able to practice what I preach is amazing! 🙂

Thank you for reading my progress. I hope I can be a part of your progress story!

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The True Meaning of “Listening to You’re Body”

Listening to your body is super important and can change how effective your exercises are DRAMATICALLY.

A lot of people just do the motion of an exercise without thinking about what their body is doing during it. This changes the more they become aware of themselves in their fitness journey.

Yoga was where I really started listening to my body, Meditation also was a big key thing that helped me really learn my own body. Where my pains and aches are coming from, even why they are happening! Once you start listening, being more aware, you can really start feeling connected with who you are.

Sorry if I am starting to sound a little spiritual, in a lot of ways its hard to explain “listening to your body” without sounding religious or spiritual. I am not saying that you need to be like the monks you see on top of mountains meditating under water falls or something.

What I am really saying? Plug yourself back into you’re body. By turning everything else around you off. Even just for a few moments. Turn off that cell phone, tv, music, computer, just turn it all off for a moment and listen. Hear that? Its you’re breathe! Think about the air coming in, you’re lungs filling up, and then the air leaving. This is how listening to your body starts.

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Once you start focusing more on your breathe start focusing more on the rest of the body. Listen to it as its moving around. Think about why it’s doing what its doing. What muscles are firing when its working, how is it doing what its doing, why do you have pain where you have pain? Listen.

When you are doing cardio, focus on that breath, if you are focused and listening. You can tell when your body is starting to need more oxygen as your pace increases. When you notice that change in your breathe? That is when you are working hard!

I am always asking myself “is this the perfect way” while I walk, while performing an exercise or even as I’m writing this on my laptop on my chair! Do you just do the motion or just let you’re body go in auto pilot?

Always listening to my body, always asking myself how to do it better. The more you listen the more you learn, the better you get. Want to correct your posture? focus on correcting it every time you notice it, work on being mindful about your body and you will correct it more and more!

This is a major step in fitness, in learning the exercises in the gym. This doesn’t matter what style you like, bodybuilding, cross fit, yoga, whatever it is, they all will improve once you master how to listen to your body.

Take a moment right now, close your eyes. Listen to your breathing. This is step one, practice it. You may be surprised on how far it takes you!

As always thank you for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it. I hope it helps you.

– Mark Zarvie

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What is The “Perfect” Workout Routine.

So you want to know the perfect workout routine? I am going to let you in on a little secret. There is no perfect routine!! 

Workout routines change, they can change often. As you grow to be stronger and able to challenge yourself with more advanced exercises, your routines will evolve!

I want to mention that there are 3 parts of a workout, a warm up which varies depending on what exercises I plan on doing,  the exercises themselves, and then a cool down or stretching which again varies depending on the exercise I did. The part I am going to be talking about is just the exercises part and why I choose what I choose.

With that said, I stick to a very basic routine idea with my exercises. I split my workout days in 3 parts. Upper Body, Core and Lower Body.

WHAT?! Really just 3 sections? Yup. Its as simple as that.

My upper body will consist of bar work such as pull ups, horizontal rows and different styles of push ups. Sometimes some cable work, I very rarely work with dumbbells or barbells.

My core work, is a mixture of crunches, leg raises, russian twists and planks. These are the core (pun intended) exercises that work your abs and all around core. I also do some bridges and other low back exercises in order to balance my workout. Your core is not just your Abs but your back as well!

My lower body work will consist of lunges, squats, step ups, calf raises and ALWAYS balance exercises. Why balance work? Because… you can never be to good at balancing! Having a great sense of balance can help in a number of ways in your day-to-day life. Can prevent you from falling when you get older, which is one of the main reasons seniors get hurt! People might look at me funny while I’m hoping around the gym on one foot, but I don’t care!

Workout routines are for bodybuilders. Movement is for life. Make it fun, make it interesting, enjoy yourself! Take the “work” out of “workout”

My routines may seem random to most and sometimes they are! However they always follow my basic rule. Focus on 1 of the 3 sections and never repeat the same section twice in a row.  This is it, simple, easy to remember and leaves plenty of room for exploring.

Do you need fitness equipment to get in better shape? No, do they help? Yeah they can. Do you need a gym membership? No, can it help? Yes.

Same can be said with routines, Do they help? Yeah, if you have a goal in mind, a routine can help you get to that goal. Do you need a routine? No not at all.

The most important thing is doing it, I know what you’re saying “but I don’t have time”

Do a little more today, do a push up on the wall, do a lunge while walking in the hall way, practicing your one foot balancing while you are doing the dishes. Find a way to be more active and you will not regret it!

You do not need to be sweating to lose weight or better yourself! Think outside the box, think of ways to work on yourself in your everyday life. This is why you see progress!!

Thank you for reading. You are why I write these.

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Month 5!

Alright! Month 5! Things are looking pretty sweeeeet this month!! No back flare ups, no sickness. I got a lot of good progress done!

Lets start off looking at last months measurements!

Last month:  

Weight: 130.8
Neck: 15 inches
Chest: 36 inches
Biceps: 11.5 inches
Forearms: 10 inches
Waist: 32 inches
Thighs: 17 inches
Calves: 14 inches

Current:

Weight: 129.8
Neck: 15 inches
Chest: 38 inches
Biceps: 11.5 inches
Forearms: 9.5 inches
Waist: 30 inches
Thighs: 18 inches
Calves: 14 inches

Alright so not much change, however I want to remind you I am not trying to “bulk up” I want to get more functional muscle so measurements normally don’t change much from month to month. However…. my body fat and muscle quality has changed!
My body fat and muscle quality, Lets find out!

Last month: 


Current: 

 

Lets look at the body fat % charts first. Look at those numbers! I dropped back down to 15.9 body fat from 20!! Man that is so awesome! Super happy about that.

Muscle quality is staying the same or going up in almost every muscle! I am beyond happy about last months progress.

You might be asking “mark! how did you make this happen?” Well let me tell you… it wasn’t easy and it took A LOT of work. I spent at least an hour doing the Moveu method (link below) working on correcting my back issues. I have been bringing what I have been learning to the gym with me, and practicing my movements. I spend more time watching my form then anything else at the gym. I will do a motion 50 times without any weight just making sure my form is PERFECT. This has been a game changer for my back and my over all health, as the scanner shows!!

So, for the fun of it. Lets look back at my very first scan 5 months ago!


Sorry about the pictures, one is with a phone and one is with an ipad so the files are different. Look at the difference in numbers! I have gone up to 68.5 from 55. Yes this may not be a huge difference to some, but with my lower back issues this is HUGE.

Keep in mind, some months I couldn’t really do much “training” as it was more “recovering” This progress train really picked up last month since joining the Moveu Method. (link below) The things I am learning are making progress easier and faster. Things that are changing not only my back issues but are enhancing my calisthenics and yoga practices!!

https://moveu.com/

This side of the blog is pretty selfish, since it’s all about my own fitness progress, I do an update once a month. I try to keep it short and sweet.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy my blog posts 🙂

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