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 food pyramid.

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 the other.

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.

Strength Training

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.

Endurance Training

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 often.

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 options.

Flexibility Training

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 have.

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 pumping sludge.

Summing Up

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 time.