Getting Fit – Part 2: Working Out

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

As I outlined in my first post, Getting Fit – Part 1: Diethow you look and feel is predominantly based on what you eat (along with your sleep habits). The remaining 10% is based on your level of activity. As they say, abs are made in the kitchen.

If you have a healthy eating plan in place and you are starting to feel and look better, it’s now time to put on some muscle and work on your cardiovascular fitness.

Do you need to belong to a gym to get fit? No. Does it help? Yes. Going to a gym accomplishes a few things:

  1. Gives you access to a wide variety of equipment for a low monthly cost.
  2. Gives you the motivation to do a proper workout. You’re already there, so you might as well do the work you came to do. People are watching, so you can’t look like a total loser and just leave after ten minutes on the treadmill.
  3. You get help from others that are there. It puts you in touch with a group of people that are all there to get better.

But, there are also benefits to working out at home:

  1. Workout anytime you want. No need to get dressed, jump in the car, and drive across town.
  2. You save money.

My advice: DO BOTH.

I belong to a 24-hour gym that is, luckily, 2 minutes from my front door. That is my main workout spot. They have all the free weights, kettlebells, and machines that I like to use. If for some reason I can’t get to the gym (work schedule, kids, etc), I have some things at home I can do.  I have a heavy bag I can beat the shit out of, resistance bands, a kettlebell, a jump rope, and a basketball goal outside. I also have a big open area in the basement and a laptop I can use to follow along with yoga Youtube videos (usually the ones with the prettiest instructor… I’m looking at you, Ms. Adrien).

So what exactly do I do for workouts? Well, twenty-year-old me would’ve answered that by saying, “Weights. Lots of weights. Often. Oh, and basketball.” Twenty-year-old me was also in tremendous physical shape. He ate a shit ton of food (thank you all-you-can-eat cafeteria) and worked out like a demon. He wasted those good looks, youth and six-pack abs on a not-so-good-looking girlfriend that he would later marry and find out she was a horrible fat cheater. But, I digress…

Today, in my 40’s, I approach things a little differently. My workout schedule is not as regimented. I still do quite a bit, but I’m more careful. My workout week has changed quite a bit. A typical week may look like this:

Monday: Cardio for 30 minutes (stair master or elliptical). Full body warm-up routine.  Dumbbell Bench Press, cable flyes, Dips, tricep pull-downs with rope, kettlebell swings, battle ropes, stretches.

Tuesday: Cardio for 30 minutes (stair master or elliptical). Full body warm-up routine. Kettlebell Goblet Squats, Kettlebell swings, medicine ball leg curls, leg extensions, abs, stretches

Wednesday: Yoga, abs, basketball.

Thursday: Cardio for 30 minutes (stair master or elliptical). Full body warm-up routine. Static hold pull-ups, hammer strength rows, seated cable rows, barbell curls, hammer curls, battle ropes, Stretches.

Friday: Cardio for 30 minutes (stair master or elliptical). Full body warm-up routine. Dumbbell push presses, dumbell clean and press, lateral raises, face pulls, battle ropes,

Saturday: Stay home. Do 100 push ups, abs, squats, lunges, yoga, stretches

Sunday: Rest

That’s my general routine. I mix up the exercises all the time. I hit the same muscle groups, just in a new way each week… rotating between a few different exercises.  I do still follow the standard “bodybuilder split” workout routine. I focus on chest and triceps one day, then legs, then back and biceps, then shoulders. There’s really no science behind it. It’s just a weight lifting philosophy I have followed for years and I like it. Some people get away with three full-body workouts per week. I like to go to the gym and pump iron, so I like to do a split routine and go more often. Both a split routine and a full-body regimen work fine for building your body.

My workouts are still predominantly weights, but I throw in some “high-intensity cardio” type of things, like battle ropes and kettlebells. Now that I’m in my 40’s, I also throw in stretches, a lengthy warm-up routine, and cardio every session. It’s important I keep limber and warmed up and ready to go, trying to avoid injury. I do stretches AFTER working out (never before)… sometimes later in the day at home.

This is MY routine that works for me. YOUR routine that works for you could be completely different. You could be the type of guy that likes to throw on the running shoes and hit the road for a couple of hours. Maybe you like to do a martial art, or even some wall climbing. Whatever your IT is, you gotta find it and do it.

Yes, overtraining is a very real thing. In this day and age of “work work work”, you can easily eat a shitty diet and not get enough sleep. Try to do my workout plan on a shitty diet and no sleep. You’ll get burned out in no time. You’ll get ill. You’ll get injuries. Your body will be telling you to slow the F down. If you don’t listen to your body, you may end up blowing out a knee or something REALLY bad like Rhabdomyolysis.

If you’re a competitive TYPE A kind of a guy, hitting the gym can become addictive. You see the results. Women look at you. You feel amazing. So, you bump up the intensity a bit. That’s when the problems can happen for the older guys. If you find yourself extremely sore, tired, worn out, sickly (fluish), dreading your next workout… back off. You’re not in the Olympics. You’re not going to be on the cover of a magazine anytime soon. You just want to look decent and keep going at it again and again. Consistency is key. You can’t be consistent if you are injured or sick.

Let’s say I want to get better at pull-ups, so I come up with the goal of this week doing 100 of them (total for the week – 7 days). The first day I do a really hard set of 15 pull-ups… to complete failure. The last rep takes every last bit of energy I have to do. Totally drained. Rest a bit. Jump back up and get five more. Feel like I’m going to die. Rest a bit. Get three more. Rest. Then one more. That’s a total of 24 for the day. The next day I’m way too tired and sore, but I still go. I get five pull-ups in my first set. Then I get three. And then another one. Totally drained and out of time. It took a lot of rest to get that last one. Back and arms are killing me. Done for the session. That’s 10 for the session… up to 34 total by day two. Day three requires rest.  I have three more days to go to get 66 more pull-ups. At this pace… that’s not happening.

An alternative plan may be to bang out five quick pull-ups. Rest. Do another five. Rest. Do another five. Rest more. Do another five.  Go home. That’s 20 total for the day. By the next day, you are rested enough and think you can do the same routine again. You bang out another 20. It was a little tougher than the day before, so you rest on day three. On day four you do the same 5-5-5-5 routine. Now you’re up to 60 on day four. Day five you do the same. Now you’re up to 80. Day six you rest. Day seven you bang out the last 20 with ease. That’s 100 total pull-ups. Goal accomplished… and with gas left in the tank.

Americans tend to have a “balls to the wall” go all-out mentality when it comes to just about everything physical. We had to learn a thing or two from our Eastern European counterparts who used to routinely beat the pants off of us Olympic sports like wrestling. Their secret? They wouldn’t go all out all the time in training. They concentrated on volume and repetition. Their practices weren’t completely draining hell sessions of sweat and agony. They DID have scheduled high-intensity training sessions, but those weren’t the norm. They saw the benefit of leaving some gas in the tank and getting in as many training sessions as possible so that their wrestlers were skilled and ready for the Olympics when the time came. Their athletes had a ton more mat time under their belt when it came to the day competition. If you want to get better at wrestling, you wrestle more. You can’t do that if you’re sick or nursing an injury.

Get to it. Choose a workout plan and stick to it. Give it three months to become a habit. Keep doing it. Mix it up. Back off when you need to. Get help. 

Yours Truly

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Dad Bods

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Dad bods. We know what they are. Squishy. Doughy. A dude built like an ice cream sandwich. It says, “I have kids. I got a lot of shit to do. I don’t have time for the gym or watching what I eat.” In other words, “Screw it. I give up.”

Strangely, there seems to be a lot of praise in popular culture for the dad bod. Thanks to an article that went viral, the term “dad bod” became part of the societal lexicon. The women interviewed just LOVED the fluffy men out there. With that, dad bods are suddenly cool.

What are the reasons outlined in the article?

It doesn’t intimidate us. Few things are worse than taking a picture in a bathing suit, one is taking a picture in a bathing suit with a guy who is crazy fit. We don’t want a guy that makes us feel insecure about our body. We are insecure enough as it is. We don’t need a perfectly sculpted guy standing next to us to make us feel worse.

We like being the pretty one. We love people saying “they look cute together.” But we still like being the center of attention. We want to look skinny and the bigger the guy, the smaller we feel and the better we look next to you in a picture.

Better cuddling.  No one wants to cuddle with a rock. Or Edward Cullen. The end.

Good eats.  The dad bod says he doesn’t meal prep every Sunday night so if you want to go to Taco Tuesday or $4 pitcher Wednesday, he’d be totally down. He’s not scared of a cheat meal because he eats just about anything and everything.

You know what you’re getting.  Girls tend to picture their future together with their guys early on. Therefore, if he already has the dad bod going on, we can get used to it before we date him, marry him, have three kids. We know what we are getting into when he’s got the same exact body type at the age of 22 that he’s going to have at 45.

Let’s translate: She can’t be outshined by a prettier man. Dad bod guy is a good, domestic partner. There’s no fear of losing him to other women.

If she were telling the unadulterated truth: “I’m looking for a provider to settle down with. I’m looking for somebody I know won’t go anywhere when I let myself go a little. Am I attracted to him, sexually? Well… No. But, that’s not the point. Will I tell him that? Well…No. Why would I ruin a good thing? I’ll give him the occasional bread crumbs so he thinks he turns me on. Eventually, I’ll turn off the sex supply… but I know he’s not going anywhere. He’s way too good of a guy to be so shallow.”

Like a lot of the common relationship advice given out by women (“Women prefer softer, more emotional men… just be yourself… women will come around and eventually want to marry you”), the dad bod craze is basically well-intentioned horse shit. It’s obvious stroking of the sensitive male ego. The “Dad Bods Are Good” myth is propogated by women that know that the super fit single guy is not at all common. They don’t want to eliminate the majority of the male partner candidates out there by telling them they in fact don’t turn them on.  The male dating pool would dry up if the truth came out. Providers everywhere would immediately crawl back to their spartan apartments and fire up their porn.

FACT: Guys who are fit, muscular, confident and take care of themselves (the minority) get laid WAY more than the squishy majority.

The majority of men looking at porn aren’t typing in “Overweight mom with stretch marks and cellulite” into their search engine, and women sure aren’t drooling over guys with man tits and beer guts. That’s just reality.

Guys tend to like young, fit, fertile and hyper-sexualized women. What do women like?

Who reads these romance novels? Women. Only women. Lots and lots of women. Even in the current E-Book dominated world, women pick stories with male characters that are strong both mentally and physically. You won’t read something like, “His glistening and hairy stomach protruded enough to make intercourse slightly difficult. I had to climb under his oily, sour stomach and lift it up to get to the goods that awaited me.”  No, instead you’ll read about strong, fit, powerful but aloof man who drastically pushed the female protagonist’s sexual boundaries. The two Fifty Shades of Grey films made about $1 billion combined. The books have made hundreds of millions more. The male character was the quintessential female wet dream. His lack of bodyfat, above-average height and broad shoulders were not a coincidence. 

Remember, as far as women in the dating marketplace are concerned, the vast majority of the dating pool is not attractive. When asked to rate men online, women typically find 80% of the candidates to be below average. Men tend to be 50/50 about women (an arguably fairer distribution). Women, naturally, want the cream of the crop. They can’t get it? They settle. When they settle, they feel cheated. They’re not fulfilled. They wanted the rare Lover+Provider combo, dammit!

The dad bod craze is essentially a giant test.  If you fall for it, you immediately get pushed down to the bottom of the dude pyramid with the rest of the 80%. Much like the test asking men to be more vulnerable and more feminine in behavior, this dad bod test is just separating the men from the weaklings. The softies from the hard bodies. The guys who regularly get laid and the ones who hear their wife say, “Not tonight, babe. I feel fat” for the hundredth time.

Are you going to let society manipulate you and convince you that being a puffy nobody is attractive, or are you going to hit the gym and take care of yourself regardless of what everyone thinks?

I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: Want to get laid more? Ask guys who get a lot of tail. Learn from those that succeed. I’m willing to bet the zero percent of them say, “Okay, first thing is to stop exercising and just look like a sack of shit. Chicks dig that.”

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Getting Fit – Part 1: Diet

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

DSOThis is me. This is my typical weight of about 200 lbs at 6′ in height. Bodyfat percentage? I have no idea. Maybe around 15% or more (everyone always grossly underestimates body fat). I’m not a super-ripped glistening fitness model with six pack abs and visible veins everywhere. I’m a 40-something year old dude that is in pretty good muscular shape. I don’t live in the gym. I have a real life. I don’t care about how much weight I lift and I’m not entering a bodybuilding contest anytime soon. To get in this shape requires three things for me:

  1. A very basic diet.
  2. Gym time.
  3. Testosterone replacement therapy.

What I have learned is that with my genetics (I get fat easily) and my temperament (I tend to overthink and overanalyze) I need to keep things SIMPLE or I will fail. This applies mainly to my diet. I eat certain foods and only those foods. I stay away from everything else. That’s it. I don’t calorie count. I don’t track my exact macros (the amount of protein, carbs and fat). Instead, I put up limits to what I eat, eat certain things at certain times, and the rest tends to take care of itself. If I want to get leaner, I make adjustments. A GOOD DIET IS CRUCIAL. I’ll get into the training aspect of my lifestyle in a later post, but please remember: YOU CANNOT OUT-TRAIN A BAD DIET. Sure, you can put on muscle. Yes, you can increase strength. What you can’t do is LOOK GOOD on a horrible diet. They say “abs start in the kitchen”, and they’re absolutely right.  You gotta do the work of eating right and eating right consistently. There’s no way around it.

HERE ARE THE BASICS:

I stay away from crap like packaged snacks and meals. If it comes in a box and is “processed” in some way, it’s a no-no. This stuff is usually loaded with tons of calories along with lots of sugar and salt (which is why it all tastes so damn good). The only things I may eat that violate this rule are protein snacks for when I am traveling. I like the KNOW cookies, or jerky and meat sticks.
I keep booze to a minimum. RARELY do I drink beer. It bloats me instantly and it’s loaded with calories. It’s liquid… so it goes down a lot easier and faster than a big juicy steak or some chicken. You can drink a thousand calories of booze in no time. There’s a reason they call it a “beer belly”.
I rarely eat sweets. Maybe I will share a dessert with the wife around once a month when we go out to eat or if it’s a holiday like Thanksgiving, my birthday or Christmas.
No pasta. Very little bread. If I do eat bread, it’s usually a sprouted wheat bread or some other bread with very high fiber.
I drink a shit ton of water. I have a giant plastic cup that I am routinely filling up at the fridge water dispenser. I sometimes also drink Diet Pepsi. I like kombucha but it gives me really bad gas.
I take fiber powder (sugar-free psyllium husk). Two times a day, usually. Keeps things moving and it has supposed cardiac benefits. Helps me feel full, as well.
Most of my diet consists of meat and eggs. I eat beef, chicken, pork and sometimes fish. The protein keeps me satiated and is crucial for muscle-building and staying lean.  I don’t cut the fat from my steak nor do I buy the super lean ground beef. I like the fat.
I eat salad greens. Usually a spinach and kale mix I get at the grocery store. I add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sunflower seeds and chicken to it. That’s it. No thick dressings filled with sugar. No croutons or other crunchy goodies.
I love fruit. I eat apples, cantaloupe, pomegranates, bananas, peaches and berries.
It’s not always feasible to sit down cook/eat actual meat to get the protein I need. Sometimes I’m in a hurry, heading out the door or whatever… so instead I will whip together a fast protein shake with sugar-free almond milk and Optimum Nutrition whey protein. I like the double chocolate kind. 

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