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alex Reader
2/9/09 1:56 p.m.

I know we have a few fitness enthusiasts and health nuts here - and by 'heath nuts' I mean those of you unlike me with more than approximately zero recreational physical activity - so I'm looking for a little advice.

As I've been getting older (I'm 27 now) a perfect storm has been forming, conspiring to help me pack on the pounds of late:

  • My job only recently got more physical: I went from full time chef of 4 years and 12+ hour shifts running around like an idiot, to motorcycle shop manager of 2+ years and cushy 8 hour shifts in front of a computer with a phone glued to my ear, to rehab and construction recently with a friend of mine. At my lightest about a year into cheffing, I was about 170 and I'm pushing 210 now.

  • As mentioned, my hobbies ain't physical. My hockey days are over, martial arts tapered off about 10 years ago, and the couple track days I attend on the bike really only seem to make my suit and helmet very sweaty. And although my guitar amp seems to be lined with lead, carrying that thing to gigs is about my only recreational work out. I have tried dancing on stage more, but that just embarrasses my bandmates. And I don't think it does much to offset the whisky I drink during the set.

  • I discovered beer several years ago. I live literally a block from one of the best breweries in the country. Need I say more on this topic?

  • My natural ability to shrug off excessive calories seems to be diminishing rapidly.

I feel like I really need to do something to nip this in the bud now, and develop good habits before it's too late. My dad went from a rail-thin waif in the '70s to your typical middle aged male's apple-with-legs figure now, and although I have good genes in terms of longevity (I think my dad's parents are immortal), judging by my family tree, I'm not destined to look like Robert Redford as I get older.

Here's the thing, though: I hate gyms. There's one in my building about 20 feet from my front door, and I can't stand it. I've done it maybe twice independent of another activity, and it sucks. I can't really jog, thanks to bad knees, or else I think the treadmill would be good, mindless activity I could check off the list while watching The Simpsons, but beyond that, man, the gym sucks.

What I'm looking for advice on (remember how I asked for advice about 20 minutes ago?) is a self-directed, no-budget, minimal-equipment routine. I'm talking like jump rope, push ups, sit ups, lunges, frog leaps, etc - the sort of thing I can do in the privacy of my apartment, and get a good sweat on.

One thing I know I need is an activity that interests me that happens to be physical. I should probably get back into hockey and/or martial arts. I'm restoring a '70s Gitane road bike that I plan to commute on. I intend to get into small bore vintage motorcycle racing in 2010 so that I have a goal for my fitness routine. But I really do need to start from a basic level and work on my 'everything,' leave no stone unturned, no muscle unworked.

So, I need some ideas. Does anybody have a suggestion for a back-to-basics, no-fuss training regimen for your average, once-sorta-fit, now soft, gym averse 20something guy?

JFX001 HalfDork
2/9/09 2:02 p.m.

Walk to Subway....worked for Jared.

Seriously, start walking, ease into it for a while, then maybe cycling.Get the heart rate up, burn more calories than you consume.Drink alot of water.

Keith SuperDork
2/9/09 2:08 p.m.

Find something fun to do. Then do it. Kayak, mountain bike, road bike, jello wrestling, whatever.

Scott Lear
Scott Lear Club Editor
2/9/09 2:18 p.m.


Bikes are pretty fun, but weather can get in the way. Swimming is great exercise, but can be boring for long stints. Wii Fit is supposed to be entertaining, but not sure how serious a workout it can provide.

Salanis SuperDork
2/9/09 2:20 p.m.

What brewery?

Get a workout buddy. Doesn't matter what activity you pick. Having a buddy makes it more enjoyable, and you'll be more successful because you'll have encouragement and someone to hold you to exercising.

For doing stuff alone, the exercises you listed sound pretty good. Think of what the military does in basic training. Do that. Chin-up bars are great too.

Raquet sports are good cheap fun. Pick up a used racket, find a nearby park with tennis courts, and walk/jog there with a partner. Social dancing is also fun. Swing dancing helped me lose weight. The inclusion of physical contact with attractive females also helps motivation. I love rock climbing, but that generally requires a gym membership and equipment.

But seriously, whatever you choose to do, a workout buddy will help a ton.

Look into taking a fitness class at a local community college. Cost is super cheap, you'll feel obligated to go, and you'll meet people.

slantvaliant Reader
2/9/09 2:29 p.m.

Do something every day. Walk where you can. A dog helps remind you to do it, and makes good company. A bike gives you more scenery to look at, and works a few different muscles. Dumbells are cheap and versatile for upper body, especially with a simple bench (or board between chairs).
Pushups, crunches, and situps help, but start slowly. Find a way to do pullups, chinups, or just hang until you can lift yourself.

ClemSparks SuperDork
2/9/09 3:12 p.m.
Salanis wrote: What brewery?

It's gotta be Schlaffly's, right? Just had some Coffe Stout yesterday (paying the help moving the Miata). Mmmm!

Anyway, I'm trying to get in shape too. I HATE jogging, however I do it because I can get 15 minutes (or more if needed) of what I feel like is GOOD cardio workout in a fraction of the time it would take me to get the same cardio while biking. I've been doing it at the gymn becaus of the weather, but what I like about jogging there is that I don't have to worry about vehicular traffic or tripping over cracks in the sidewalk. I can think about cars and boats and girls while I jog. Music would help, but I haven't been able to justify buying that equipment, because I always need tires for something.

I want to do some tennis, but that requires a partner, and the logistics can be hard. I DO like to bike, and will be doing that more as the weather warms up. I've got a canoe now, and I'll be doing that, as it's something I like.

One thing I wouldn't have imagined liking is this phenomenon known as "spin." I don't know why they feel like they need a new name for stationary bicycling...but it is what it is. And that is a social environment in which to work out, harder than I would myself, under the instruction of someone who likely knows what they're doing. I like it. I look forward to it and dread it at the same time.

I might do some sporadic rock climbing since it came up in the other thread and I have a friend who does it.

IIRC, Karting is a heckuva workout. Am I right? Dirt bikes and/or mountain biking are ones that I know are a good workout, but I haven't gotten into either.


ignorant SuperDork
2/9/09 3:27 p.m.

http://bodyweightculture.com/ <-- nutters.. but take some of what they say to heart. No weights needed..

alex Reader
2/9/09 4:06 p.m.

Clem has it, it's the Schlafly brewery I'm so close to. I have like 18 empty growlers in my apartment to attest to it! (Not to mention, the food's damn good, the jukebox is decent, the pool cues are straight, and I play there once every couple months)

I have the benefit of working with my good friend who's in about the same boat I am - used to relying on genes to take care of the excess calories, not finding that to work anymore - who's also into bikes and motorcycles. I'll probably start riding with him, and we've both been planning to do more dirtbiking, which will also be good training for roadracing in '10. Or so I hope.

Yeah, the military-type basic excercises are what I'm looking for. I can't help but thinking there are updated versions running around out there, so if anybody has some input on that front, I'd appreciate it.

Salanis SuperDork
2/9/09 4:44 p.m.
alex wrote: Yeah, the military-type basic excercises are what I'm looking for. I can't help but thinking there are updated versions running around out there, so if anybody has some input on that front, I'd appreciate it.

Push-ups are push-ups.

jrw1621 Reader
2/9/09 5:00 p.m.

I bought the book (but really have not done it) and it seems to provide a solid plan. It also is set up so that you do not have to buy anything. Sure, it tries to sell you things but they are presented as optional.


Check out the book at any Barnes & Noble or similar store. It is likely available at your library. The book shows exercises that can be done without machines (dumb bells.) There are diet guides as well.

Cardio one day

Upper body the next day


Lower body the following day

repeat and rest on the 7th day.

noodle New Reader
2/9/09 5:28 p.m.

+2 on the Book "Body for Life"...lots of good ideas there.

also....put down the beer. Go for a month without it. Drop some pounds. Then you should be able to add a few beers to your diet.
My wife gets all upset when I stop drinking beer, workout, and then lose 30lbs.

I usually add a little beer to my cheat days.

alex Reader
2/9/09 5:51 p.m.
ignorant wrote: http://bodyweightculture.com/ <-- nutters.. but take some of what they say to heart. No weights needed..

I dig this; just what I'm looking for. Thanks, Iggy.

pete240z HalfDork
2/9/09 7:56 p.m.


Our Pastor at our church is 81 years old and walks 3 miles a night 5 times a week. Rail thin. Walked like this his whole life. No exceptions - All seasons.

He drives a Honda Accord and parks as far out as possible. I looked in his car and was surprised to see his Accord had a manual transmission.

When I walk daily, my weight stays steady and i feel great. When I slack off, I put on "a few".

ignorant SuperDork
2/9/09 8:17 p.m.
alex wrote:
ignorant wrote: http://bodyweightculture.com/ <-- nutters.. but take some of what they say to heart. No weights needed..
I dig this; just what I'm looking for. Thanks, Iggy.

I'm going into a program where I move every 8 months and will have a a newborn during this time.. So... I'm going to integrate more of their moves into a home routine.

I remember a bit ago working Handstand presses into my workout and them just beating the crap outta me.

they used to have a really good beginner routine laid out on that page.. I hope its still there. The suggestion above to WALK is a great one. I know many British citizens who moved over here and grew a massive gut due to them basically stopping walking.

ignorant SuperDork
2/9/09 8:28 p.m.

also www.beastskills.com

daytonaer Reader
2/9/09 9:28 p.m.

daytonaer Reader
2/9/09 9:28 p.m.



boofighter HalfDork
2/10/09 11:16 a.m.

i know that you said you hate going to the gym, but what i have done is volunteer at a local school to supervise the fitness room. my job allows me to go at noon, but most schools would love to have an after school place were students could come and do something productive. anyway i am able to work out two times a week and not pay for any gym fees. plus i am helping kids, it is a win win.

gamby SuperDork
2/10/09 11:56 a.m.

(Bowl) skateboarding has been my primary form of cardio, but I'm on a decent fitness kick at the moment.

I've started doing a killer jumprope circuit that is working nicely--

-Set timer for 20 min -jump rope for 3 min (length of a song) -do 25 pushups -hold the plank position for 20-30 seconds -bang out 25 crunches -repeat until the 20 minutes is up.

I tend to go another 3 or 4 minutes on the jumprope after that. Jumping rope is rough for the first 12 minutes, then I get into my groove.

I also do pullups (not on the same day as the jomprope thing). A couple of sets of 20 will do it for me at the moment. Great strength exercise that builds good bicep/forearm muscle.

This stuff is yielding me gym-like results. The only benefit of weights is that it builds more raw strength, IMO.

I have visions of looking like Danial Craig/David Chikachi/Brad Pitt. Yes, I'm delusional.

Monkeywrench Reader
2/10/09 12:22 p.m.

+1 to what everyone said.

I'm big fan of burpees, once you start getting in shape you should try them out.

DirtyBird222 HalfDork
2/10/09 12:32 p.m.

I've worked in and lived at a gym since I've been 16. Then it was to get in shape, now it's just to cancel out my beer drinking and unnecessary caloric intake. Diet Main thing to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in. When you wake up in the morning try drinking a bottle of water instead of coffee and eating a couple of eggs instead of a bagel. Eating a good breakfast also helps speed up your metabolism-along with that bottle of water. Have a mid-morning health snack and a mid-afternoon health snack or protein shake, etc. Make lunch your biggest meal of the day. No more deserts so you can drink your beer.

Exercise[/b --Find something you like to do. Honestly you don't need a gym membership to get back in shape, you can do some much at home if you are generally just looking to lose pounds. --Buy a jump rope, a set of 10, 15, and 20lb dumbbells and I can give you a program to help you lose the gut. PM/E-mail me --WIND SPRINTS!!!! Best way to burn off fat around the gut. Do 8-10 of these a day. Long distance running is for endurance, short sprints of about 50-100yards will def help....or stadiums.

One of the latests Men's Health special "books" has a huge thing on how to get fit without going to the gym. What is also awesome about working out at home is that you are comfortable, working out in a gym is a nerve wreck for some people...

DirtyBird222 HalfDork
2/10/09 12:33 p.m.

holy chit, all i wanted to do was bold DIET and Exercise

ignorant SuperDork
2/10/09 12:33 p.m.
derekshannon wrote:
gamby wrote: I also do pullups (not on the same day as the jomprope thing). A couple of sets of 20 will do it for me at the moment.
What do you weigh? 20 full ROM chins is great! I'd love to see a video, maybe that'd get me to shoot for high reps instead of all the heavy, low rep stuff I do now.

check out the beastskills no handed one arm pullup... It still blows my mind.

93celicaGT2 HalfDork
2/10/09 12:54 p.m.

Chinups and crunches are all i really do these days, aside from running 3-5 miles maybe 3 times a week if i get to it.

I usually do 40 chinups, and 50 crunches. And eat 5-6k calories a day

I REALLY need to work on stretching, though... i notice as i bulk up, i'm losing a lot of flexibility.

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