Ok so there you are, you’ve watched “Fight Club” for the first time in a long time and you’ve decided that you have to work out and get back in shape. Congratulations, you’ve missed the whole point of the movie, and you’ve decided to better yourself. The good news is that you’ve taken the first few steps to fixing yourself, admitting you have a problem, and you acknowledging how shameful you look in the mirror. Save yourself from buying a bunch of Crossfit bullshit and gym apparel and follow my guide to fitness to learn how to work out like a Classy Mother Fucker.
Author’s note; this is not a God Damn Pull up!
You don’t want to start a journey without deciding where the hell you’re going, so take a damn minute and actually write out what you want to accomplish. I don’t care how trivial or stupid you think this is, it’s absolutely vital that you identify your goals and write them down. This keeps you loyal to your goals, keeps you honest, and gives you a reminder of why you are going through physical pain. I like to establish different goals for different areas of fitness, for example, my current workout goals are below.
By April –
- Body – weight between 165 and 170 lbs
- Strength – big three, squat (315), deadlift (365), bench press (275)
- Conditioning – 2 mile run time under 13:30
- Balance – Free-standing handstand pushups
Make sure you make realistic goals, nothing is easier to blow off than an unrealistic goal. Also be honest with yourself in your assessments and your performance. Do research on what constitutes the exercise and the standards of the goal. Nothing screams gym douche bag like someone flailing away and slamming weights with little to no understanding of what the exercise is supposed to be.
An example based on the goals above.
- Body weight, measured first thing in the morning, empty stomach, daily, record weekly.
- Strength – Pause sets, squat: hip crease below the knee; deadlift: overhand grip, straight back lift to lockout and controlled decent; bench press: bar to chest and back to lockout back remaining on the bench.
- Conditioning: Run on track, not treadmill or road (with GPS).
- Balance: lockout free stand position, down to 90 degrees, back up to lockout.
Make sure you’re honest in your assessment… don’t be an ego lifter, you’re only cheating yourself. Maintain your classiness by knowing when to drop weight, ask for a spotter, and when to sport gym accessories. If you don’t know the real function of a piece of gym gear, don’t use it, also, wrist wraps are for pussies and ego lifters.
Make it work with your lifestyle
Much like your disgusting sexual fetishes, make sure you’re able to maintain your real life while you’re attempting to attain your goals. It’s all about planning, give yourself time, schedule it, and follow through. Again, much like your depraved sexual fetishes, I’d recommend trying everything at home before you involve a strange place and strangers. Don’t get a gym membership yet, just buy a couple of dumbbells if you’re a novice, and get better at home before you go making an ass of yourself in public. Don’t just talk about this plan, make it a part of you.
Find a buddy
Misery loves company, and nothing breeds excellence like competition. I could tell you a number of clichés but at the end of the day, I just prefer good ole fashioned shit talking. Also, some of your goals will probably require spotting, and running is much less miserable when you have a buddy around. Ultimately it’s somebody else to rat you out when you try to cheap dick a goal. Oh yeah, share your goals with your buddy you anti social bitch. Class it up a notch, and choose an adventurous jog, or a goal to participate in an adventure race, make the workout interesting and keep each other wanting to try harder.
Remember that metaphorical journey I mentioned at the beginning of the post? Well coming up with a program is like putting together a road map for that journey. A program isn’t just a series of random workouts (read crossfit) it’s a comprehensive plan for attaining your goals. The program is how you work towards and track progress while you’re working out. I’m no fitness expert, but I’ve been pretty successful at attaining my goals. With a little research and dedication you can do the same.
Progressive overload (adding weight every day/week) emphasis on strength
Day 1: Squat/clapping pushup superset (5×5, 15-20); weighted body weight pull-up, dip, incline sit-up; barbell complex reverse curl, shoulder press, sit-up (pyramid); Preacher hammer curls, single arm triceps extension (6×3). Evening run 1 mile
Day 2: Bench press / Pendlay row superset (5×5); weighted step ups, incline pushups, incline sit-ups (superset 6×3); Barbell complex, lunges, overhead squat, sit-up (6×3); Dumbbell curl, dumbbell row, bench dip superset (6×3). Evening run 3 miles
Day 3: Dead lift (5×5); pull up, dip, incline sit-up pyramid; curl bar reverse bicep curl, skull crusher (6×3); Push/pull dumbbell pushups, jumping lunges (6×3). Evening run 2 miles
Day 4: Recovery
Get the point? Put something together that works towards your fitness goals, put it on paper (note cards are convenient and less douchey like than a whiteboard) then follow that shit.
If you’re a beginner, here’s some good exercises to look up and work into your routine. For God’s sake, look up the exercises and understand how to do them before you try to stack up a bar and permanently injure yourself for time. DO NOT do more weight than you can handle, and don’t reference crossfit for how to do anything.
Get Strong: Lift heavy shit correctly
-Plyometric exercises (clapping pushups, squat jumps, tuck jumps, ect)
Get Fast: Push hard at max effort for short durations
-Body weight and weighted body weight exercises (pull-up, push-up, sit-up, dips, ect)
-Hill runs / stair runs
-Interval training (sprints coupled with anaerobic exercises)
-Jumping lunges (with weights)
Look good naked: build the glam muscle and shed some pounds
-Mix in the big four (Bench, Deadlift, Squat, and Shoulder Press)
-supersets (2 or more exercises, back to back, no rest in between)
-Focus more on triceps than on biceps
-Don’t skip leg day
It’s about health, not numbers
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what your bench is, it’s about self-improvement and health. No matter how hard you work, nothing will beat a crappy diet or poor discipline. There’s so much information (and misinformation) out there so do your homework before you go nuts. Ultimately looking good is a great feeling, but feeling great is a good life. As a last note, remember, a workout is great, but its about your lifestyle. If what you plan isn’t something you can live with, change something to make it something you can live with (quit drinking or eating shit food, wake up earlier to schedule workouts, whatever). There’s nothing classy about failure, so set goals, take initiative, and get after it.