The following is designed to get one in to excellent physical shape
while not turning it in to a second job. It is especially useful for
people who want to feel connected to their bodies as well as look good naked.
OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER: Make sure your body can actually
handle any exercise before you start this. Check with your doctor
before you begin if getting dressed is the most exercise you've ever
done and/or your diet consists of items primarily from the top of the
OPTIONAL DISCLAIMER: Use your head. Pay attention. This is a
guide. Mix and match the following concepts to your own schedule and
pace. Make sure you have fun.
The three aspects to develop are strength,
endurance and flexibility. Each
are valuable and necessary. Each has a little carry-over effect with
Strength training primarily develops your muscles and connecting
tissue. This provides a way to do useful things well in to old age
such as lifting lawn mowers in and out of cars and carrying a SO over
the threshhold on your 37th wedding anniversary.
Endurance training builds the heart, lungs and oxygen-supply systems so
that you can enjoy doing
the things you love longer and more often.
Flexibility training ensures that the strength and endurance systems
being stressed and improved also remain supple and injury free. You
can keep doing what you're doing 'cuz your doing it.
Together they form a pulsing braid of physical capability. Just
imagine how wonderful it will feel to deadlift 200 pounds 20 times, run
effortlessly for five miles and still place your palms flat on the
floor next to your feet (with your legs straight, of course).
Ready? Let's begin.
These are the suggested exercises:
That's it. Perform only one set of each exercise. Each set will
consist of 15-20 reps for the squat and deadlift and 6-10 reps for
everything else. Do situps until no more can be completed.
The key here is intensity. You must work hard enough so that you
fail at close to the desired rep. In this context, failure is good.
It shows you the next barrier you must break. It may take a few
sessions once you start to find that resistance. Once you find it,
work against it until the movement reverses itself.
To illustrate, here's what one set to failure looks like doing the
standing overhead press:
Bend over, grab the bar and clean it to shoulder level. Using
perfect form and controlled movement, press the bar overhead and
lower. Reps 1-4 are no problem. Five and six are tougher.
At seven the heart is pounding and the arms are shaking. Eight
slowly, barely makes it up, but the rep remains in control. Nine is
the impossible rep. It moves perhaps an inch from the shoulders but
no more. Push, push, push as long as possible until the weight comes
back to the shoulders. Carefully place the bar back on the floor.
Feel the blood roar in to your shoulders and arms. Feel your lungs
reach for air. Feel like the Incredible Hulk because last time you
could only do seven.
Now nine is what you must make next time. When the desired reps can be
performed in control with perfect form, add more weight - 5 to 10
pounds for the squat and deadlift, 2.5 to 5 pounds for everything
else. Continue in this pattern for a few years and amaze yourself with
how strong you've become.
Much simpler from an execution standpoint. Just get out and shake yer
bones a few times a week for at least a half-hour. The longer the
better. Pick something you like to do. Run. Ride a
bike. Swim in the ocean. Pop in a Grateful
Dead tape and dance for the entire second set.
As long as you are moving and breathing hard, you're doing OK. If at
the start all you can do is a brisk walk for that half-hour, that's
fine. Just keep going, and try tossing a jog in there every so
After you're comfortable with the 30-minute minimum, try going either
further or faster. The issue is one of time. If there is time
during the day, set aside an entire morning or afternoon for your
chosen activity. Some extremely interesting insights/ visions/ sensations may occur
when the 4-,5-,6-hour range is reached. Otherwise, if your schedule or
inclination will only allow that half-hour, simply do what you do
harder and faster. Long sprints, hill climbs and racing motorboats and cars are all viable
Of all the different theories on attaining flexibility, the only one
that will be briefly discussed here is ashtanga yoga. However, to
call this vigorous form of yoga mere exercise ignores it's
astounding benefits. yogabum has a more thorough
description of the practice. Suffice it to say that consistently performing
ashtanga yoga will benefit you physically, emotionally,
intellectually and, if you allow it, spiritually. Beryl Binder
Birch's book Power Yoga is a good start. If the previous
topics are of no interest, at least do this.
How often to do these? As often as you want. The human body was
made to be used vigorously. The following is the bare minimum
schedule (which seems to work well for extremely busy people):
- Day 1: strength (lift weights)
- Day 2: endurance (run, swim, dance, etc...)
- Day 3: flexibility (ashtanga yoga or your choice of flavors)
- Repeat ad infinitum.
A Few Words On Diet
Just a few. Promise.
Take off all your clothes and look in the mirror.
Be honest. You know if you need to lose some weight or gain
some weight or if you just need to redistribute the weight you
Now examine what you eat every day. Is breakfast just a faint
intention sometimes satisfied by a vending-machine cinammon bun and a
Mountain Dew? Do you substitute Cheetos for salad? Does dinner
consist of mass-produced boxed or bagged items that you
eat in your car or in front of the TV? If so, you know you need to eat
better, fresher, more wholesome foods. You know this. You're not an
idiot. There's plenty of information available on creating a good
diet. Read it.
Also, what color is your pee? If it is not clear several times a
day, you need to drink more water because essentially your body is
The above activities as well as a proper diet will promote a positive
change in your body. As you begin, try not to have a fixed idea of
what you want your body to become. Let it evolve through your effort.
Do this as a lifelong journey, an adventure in
which your body becomes a vehicle for exploration both physical and
spiritual. But most of all, have a good