(I wrote this article 6 years ago. I’m posting it today because it’s still true!)
I couldn’t believe it. I examined myself in the mirror-again-and shook my head. I was fat…obese. My doctor had told me so—not gently either.
He wasn’t lying. I turned and looked closer. Where’d those love handles come from? They were deep enough to hide a sharpie!
Why was I in such sad shape? When I was in high school I had been one of the fittest—and strongest—guys in my class.
I used to be lean, fit, full of energy! Like a Ferrari at a red light, ready to launch! But the Ferrari had been replaced by an old Volkswagen Bus–a battered one.
So what happened?
I could think of three things; a desk job, no exercise, and bad eating habits. Let’s not forget that somewhere along the line my metabolism played a dirty trick on me. It slowed down.
What could I do?
I’d fought this losing battle for a number of years.
First I’d start getting in shape. I’d go to the gym for two hours every morning and workout like a pro–I’d been a bodybuilder in high school, so I knew what to do. But then, after five or six months, I’d get burned out and stop. Soon the weight I’d pounded into muscle would metamorphose into fat and migrate to all the wrong places. Again…
It was maddening!
That was six months ago, I weighed in at 230lbs and was flaccid. My shoulders were narrow, my waist wide, and my gut stuck out farther than my chest—something my brother calls “Dunlap Disease”—because my stomach dun-lapped over my belt.
At 5ft 9, that was a lot of fat! Now I’m down to a muscular 180lbs and my waist has gone from 38 inches to 31.5 inches.
So how did I beat the cycle?
I beat it two ways.
First: I started watching what I ate. I cut down on the junk, increased the healthy stuff, and tried to keep my daily calories below 2000. I didn’t make it rocket science because it doesn’t need to be.
Second: I discovered bodyweight exercises.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But in this age of exercise machines and personal trainers, who would even consider body weight exercises?
And it’s worked better than I’d dreamed possible. I also split my workout into smaller segments. Instead of one two hour session or even a one hour session, I started doing three to five, ten to fifteen minute sessions a day.
Think about it. I’m married, have kids and a job, so it’s difficult to find an hour or more to spend in the gym. But it’s easy to find ten or fifteen minutes a few times a day. In fact, most employers require a morning and afternoon break. Those are perfect times to squeeze in a quick workout in order to squeeze into smaller clothes again.
Another benefit of breaking my workout into smaller sessions over the day is that it keeps my metabolism running at a higher rate, burning more calories.
Here’s my ten minute workout:
1. 1 set pull-ups; wide or narrow grip: 10 to 15 reps.
2. 1 set Hindu or regular pushups: 40 to 70 reps.
3. 1 set handstand hold: 1 minute–or handstand pushups–5 to 10 reps with a 30 second hold at the end; against a wall is fine.
4. 1 set bicycle or regular crunches: 60 to 120 reps.
5. 1 set Hindu squats; varied foot placement: 40 to 70 reps.
6. A few times a day I’ll also do some bridging and hold them for 30 sec to 1 minute each.
I do this three to five times a day, six days a week.
What…isn’t that overtraining?
No. The trick is I don’t go to failure every time. If I can do fifteen pushups before my arms are shaking and my chest burns, then I’ll do ten or even eight and only go to failure once every three days or so. The body is a wonderfully adaptive machine. It likes to be used. It might not seem that way at first, but give it a little time.
What if one pushup is too much?
Then try to do one pushup three to five times a day. Soon ten will come. This goes for all the exercises.
Remember to do these exercises or others. Just do something, and do it consistently.
I may not be the Ferrari yet, but I’m a far cry from that Volkswagen Bus. And the best thing is; for the first time in years I’m not embarrassed to take off my shirt.
As I mentioned above, I wrote this article almost 6 years ago. It was an assignment for a writing class.
The most important thing is that I’ve kept the weight off too! For over six years now!
Because I created a fitness mindset and a habit of exercise.
I still use bodyweight exercises because of their benefits. Bodyweight exercises increase flexibility, work your core, give you functional strength, and can be done anywhere!
For a complete bodyweight workout guide and detailed instructions on how to do these exercises, go here: http://bit.ly/FreeBodyweightWorkoutGuide
You Are The Master of Your Destiny!
Copyright © 2005, 2011 Roland Byrd — All Rights Reserved