Thursday, November 17, 2016

Charlie Mike {Program Review}

Having been working out/training for 2+ years now, I've tried out many different programs. I'm pretty good at sticking with something for the prescribed time, (usually 4-6 weeks before switching things up). Even if it's just changing basic things to my routine, I shake things up (a) to keep from getting bored, and (b) To avoid plateaus.

One that I want to talk about today is Ashley Horner's Charlie Mike.
If you don't know who Ashley Horner is, let me just tell you she is my inspiration. She's a mom of two, has overcome so much in her life, and is always doing something to help others. Whether it be raising money for battered women, or her most recent project, partnering with a orphanage overseas. She is a proud supporter of our military, and often works with disabled veterans.

I remember being SO excited for the release of her new free program on Bodybuilding.com, and waiting very impatiently to try it out.

The day finally arrived, I read the nutrition guidelines, downloaded the app on my phone for easier tracking, and set out to do day number one.

It looked pretty easy. The first week you test your one rep max on the main lifts, (squat, bench, deadlift, and push press), followed by two different metabolic conditioning circuits, and also your 1 mile time, and rowing. I don't have a rower, so I skipped that.
Day one was Bench press and conditioning.
Oh. My. Word.

I was in a puddle of sweat laying on the floor a the end! So much for looking easy!
My one rep bench max was a pathetic little 65 lbs, but those circuits....I gave it everything I had, and just about died! I loved it! Any makeup that I had on was gone by the end.....Lol.

It's more of a Crossfit style, which made me happy. :) It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I love the feeling of smashing your workout yet feeling totally dead at the end.
You train for two days, followed by a rest day, etc, which was nice, because after two days of those types of workouts, my body needed a rest!

The thing to keep in mind about this program, is you only get out what you put in, and you can't cheat! It was designed to be tough, and if you just slowly go through the motions you'll see very little progress.

Day two was just as tough. As well as day three, four, and so on..... They never got any easier! Sprints, weights, and circuits....basically the stuff of my dreams! Or maybe nightmares.... ;)

This program is totally different than a typical body builders routine. None of the boring '4 sets of 8 reps' stuff, (although I do enjoy that, it does get a little....well, boring.) You feel like an athlete while doing it! After the first week and you've tested your maxes, the main lifts at the beginning take on the 5X5 protocol at 80% of your 1RM for building strength before the circuits.
I never felt very sore with this program, because of the lack of volume, but I did see changes in my body, strength and speed. :)

So, just for reference I'm going to share my progress I made during this program with you. Some people might think these weights are heavy, and some might think they're puny. We're all at different stages, which is what makes fitness fun. :)

Bench: 65-75 {10 lbs in 6 weeks? Yeah, I'll take that.....definitely my weakest lift.}
Deadlift: 140-160
Push Press: 70-80
Clean+ Front Squat: 70-85

Unfortunately I don't have a squat rack, so I have to be able to power clean my barbell into the front position. No back squats for me. :( I did just hit 95 lbs on that a few weeks ago though, so I'm happy. :)

Anywho.... my take away is that this is not the best program for beginners, but if you do decide to try it, take your time learning the movement before diving in. You will get stronger doing this, you will be gasping for breath, you will feel like dying and maybe quitting here and there, and you will start to see new muscles. I followed this before my first Battlefrog race, and feel like it really helped with my performance.
The only con that comes to mind is that each one does take around an hour, with warm up, lifting, rest, circuits, and cool down. That time is fine for me, but for those with crazier schedules it can be hard to fit in.
So, I would definitely recommend trying it out!  The app makes it very easy to track, and each day is laid out for you.

Charlie Mike

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