Folks often get confused when trying to "decide" how many days they should actively rest - rest, as in, not go about their regular workout routine on the day.
And truth be told, this isn't an easy question to answer in one syllable (yes/no). There are a lot of factors involved, and the real answers would probably be "it depends" and. . . "it depends".
Yeah, that sounds kinda cryptic, but that's how it is - and I'll attempt to explain a bit.
First off, I'd like to make one thing clear - that one can only achieved the desired results and get to one's goals if one is fully committed to the plan required - be that exercise, or be it another plan to achieve whatever it is you want to. And being committed means STICKING to the plan as far as possible - not procrastinating to "do it another day".
Not saying "Oh, I didn't sleep well last night - bring on the potato chips, beer and DVD's - and let the workout wait".
Not saying you need rest when you don't - and so it goes.
But, having got that out of the way, how does a serious trainee know when it's time to take a break?
Well, there are several "rules of thumb" here which I detail in Fast and Furious Fitness(http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book), and I'll get into some of these in this email as well.
First off, I don't recommend going below a minimum of three days of exercise a week, no matter what the reason be. Hit it hard one day, take a day off, then hit it again the next (perhaps a slightly less intense workout), then rest, and so forth - that sort of routine seems to work well for a lot of folks, regardless of age or level of training achieved.
Second, you must remember that while exercise is an important part of your life, you also have other responsibilities and activities that are just as important and take up as just as much time. So while an athlete with not much else on his/her plate other than exercise might be able to give it his/her all day in and day out, you likely will burn and crash if you try to do the same. I'll expound more on this beneath via a personal example, but remember that you must (honestly) look at your overall stress levels, degree of fatigue, intensity of workout routines and other similar factors when making this decision.
Third, listen to your body. If your truly exhausted even after a rest day, it might mean you need another day of rest - and so be it. If your sick (and I mean truly sick, not a minor cough or something like that), rest and recuperate. Only YOU know what your body is really trying to tell you - and if you really need to listen - so do so judiciously.
Fourth, remember that while exercise is king, diet is queen, and sleep is the trusted court aide that never fails to deliver. 'nuff said on that one.
There's more where this comes from, but you'll have to read the book to get the complete "low down" on this.
So, what do I personally do in terms of rest days? How many days do I work out per week?
Well, the answer is - "it depends, and it's been evolving as things change around here".
Let's rewind a few years back to China (2006 to be exact), when I was single, 25 years of age, worked a full time job that was more of a 12 hour per day job than 8 hours in real terms and didn't follow a diet worth speaking of (more due to necessity than choice, though). What did I do then?
Long time readers know the answer - work out DAILY, WITHOUT fail - and that means climbing a long, steep hill daily without fail. I still get misty eyed when I think of that hill (it's provided me with some of my best memories ever), but to put it briefly - it was over an hour's hike in hot and humid weather, 40 minutes of that on the steep hill. Wasn't any joke, and got me into the very best shape of my life. I followed this up with my bodyweight routine, which I also never missed.
Fast forward to today - and I usually take one, or even two rest days between my exercise days. Don't have the hill here any longer or I'd probably climb that daily even now, but the other exercises I do aren't exactly easy on the body either. But overall, I'm probably doing less volume now than I was then, and I'm resting far more - and whats more, I'm IMPROVING at what I do. For instance, I hit a personal best of 7 (in one set) hammer grip pull-ups, and this after two days of rest.
Some more "background". . .
Back then I didn't really have any responsibilities other than going to work, and exercising - and I slept like the proverbial log once I hit the hay. I was 25,single, enjoying life, the ladies, and, ah, I think you get the gist. So even a 24 hour period of traveling, partying and no sleep didn't deter me from hitting that hill come 9AM next morning (yes, thats actually happened!).
Right now, I'm married, and have an adorable little baby girl that takes up most of my time. Sleep is a premium for both Mrs Rahul and me (her more so than me) and we have a lot more to do than simply exercise. Doctor vists, "time with the family", and of course figuring out ways to beat the economic slowdown (something that wasn't prevalent back in 2006). More than enough to deal with, and exercise sometimes just has to take a back seat - not due to choice - but because handling 10 sets of 5 pull ups, for instance, along with other stuff isn't that easy on two hours of sleep and a bawling baby to boot. Trust me on that one.
But, and here's the kicker - I still make it a point to exercise whenever I can (and that doesn't mean once every month).
I still make time for it even though I'm sometimes dead tired and don't feel like even moving.
And I still make it a point to improve at every workout - and so should you, my friend.
So, thats the long answer to a relatively short question. And as for what works best for you - well, I'll let you figure out by yourself, my friend - because YOU are in the best position to do so.
All for now!
P.S.:- Along with the right amount of rest, diet is of paramount importance, and if your serious about your training routine, then you need to grab a copy of the Simple and Effective Diet ASAP. This diet, combined with my exercise routines will quickly strip the extra fat off you while building durable muscle, superior health and lasting endurance. Grab your copy NOW: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/84-the-simple-and-effective-diet
I’ve been noticing some serious muscle growth on my lower legs a.k.a calves these days. And I mean SERIOUS – my calves are getting that “diamond shape” that most body builders lust after – and whats even more important is the functional strength and endurance they add to an already well exercised pair of legs.
Now, if you’ve been reading my notes regularly, you’ll know that I’m a fan of focusing on tough, compound movements for the larger muscles (thighs, back etc) as opposed to “isolating” the smaller muscles such as the calves and forearms. And with good reason as well – working the larger muscles into the ground leads to tremendous overall gains in strength and stamina – and rapid fat loss as well, if we’re talking about regular hill climbs (an absolute quadriceps killer if done right).
But while isolating muscle groups is a huge mistake, it is also important to know that the smaller muscles must not be completely ignored as they are usually the “weak link” in any chain. And as the saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Case in point being weak forearms and thick bar pull-ups – something that a lot of folks can probably identify with, by the way - how would you be able to do these for reps if you can barely GRIP (and hold on to) that thick bar, much less pull yourself up on it?
And when it comes to calves, remember that calves are pretty much the equivalent of forearms for the lower body. Ever seen a really strong and functionally fit athlete, strongman, power lifter or combat sports practitioners with weak and underdeveloped calves?
I didn’t think so – and there are many good reasons behind this.
First, calves “connect” the more powerful thigh/hamstring/butt muscles to your feet. The stronger your calves are, the more power you’ll be able to generate through your legs and core – and the better you’ll do at activities that require functional strength (jump starting a dead car battery by pushing the car around, for example – speaking from personal experience here!).
Second, weak calves are an invitation to injury, especially when paired with powerful thighs and
exercise that require the entire leg to work as a unit. The same thing holds true for weak forearms and powerful upper arms – something that came back to bite me strongly in the backside a few years ago while doing handstand pushups in the form of a nasty bone spur on my left wrist. Yow!
Third, strong calves make it much, much easier to warm up when playing any sort of sport or even before your regular workout. Again, I’m saying this from personal experience – it takes me far less time to warm up before my exercises these days due to stronger and more enduring calves – as opposed to a few years back when I could pound out hill climbs “straight out of bed” like there was no tomorrow, but needed a warm up before a brisk walk or jog on flat land regardless.
So, those are three good reasons - there are more as well, but these should suffice for now.
And so, your next question will likely be – well, HOW do I train “dem” calves then?
Well, pretty much the same way I advocate training other body parts – with tough compound exercises that make you use your entire leg as a UNIT – but simultaneously require you to develop strength and endurance in your calves (with size being a byproduct as well in most cases).
Some simple but incredibly powerful (and time honored) exercises that you can use to build up your calves are as follows: -
- Jumping rope: A proven way to build stamina and endurance throughout the entire body, but especially the calves.
- Sprints: Another great, great way to build the calves – and entire body – with one heart pounding, sweat inducing exercise.
- Jogging in place (if done correctly and at the right cadence).
And while those will get your calves (and legs) in great shape, there is FAR, FAR more to working your calves than simply these exercises – and I plan on devoting a book entirely to calf training in the near future. Be on the lookout for that!
So, that’s the tip for the day. If you plan on working out today – make it the best one ever!
P.S.: - The exercises in Fast and Furious Fitness do a pretty darn good job of “prepping” and conditioning your calves for the really brutal stuff at a later stage – grab your copy HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Well, it's been a furlough again from sending you daily updates/emails, and this time mostly because of the birth of my baby daughter a couple of weeks back. Yes - you read that right- there's been a new addition to the Fast and Furious gang - a healthy little girl that already seems to be wrapping me around her little finger, hehe.
I also now fully understand what folks say about newborns tiring one out - it's been a struggle (though an interesting one) just to keep up with our baby girl and take care of her at odd hours and such, and handle business affairs, workouts and life in general at the same time - whew!
And so, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about infants and what they can teach us about fitness in today's email.
Most folks, especially those that are hooked on to heavy weights and stuff would sneer at this. After all, what can a 2 week old baby girl teach a "muscle bound" gym goer about fitness?
Well, read before you judge, my friend, and you might just be in for a surprise.
First off, infants and kids (uptil the age of maybe 3 or 4) do the one thing that ALL of us, regardless of shape, size, or fitness levels should be doing - and that is, they BREATHE naturally and correctly. They breathe the way we were meant to breathe, which is from the lower abdomen. And if you've seen a baby sleep, you know what I'm saying. They breathe deeply on each inhale, with the lower abdomen rhythmically rising and falling with each breath, and the chest expanding - not intentionally, but as a side effect of each breath. They do NOT breathe from the mouth - which is another bad habit most adults have, especially when gasping for breath.
Sound cryptic and confusing? Well, I wouldn't blame you if your answer is a big YES - I like to think of myself as breathing in the right way, but I caught myself not doing so just a few minutes after watching my little girl sleep in the hospital. To put in a nutshell, your breath should originate from the lower abdomen - NOT the chest, and it should be a "deep" rhythmic breath that makes your lower abdomen expand with each inhale. Try it yourself after a hard set of exercises, or when you are out of breath, and I bet you'll find you recover far more quickly than sucking in "lungfuls of air" through your mouth in a harried manner.
Ever see an infant huff and puff after a bout of wailing, or a 1 year old out of breath after "running" you ragged around the living room? I bet not - and the reason behind this is deep breathing - done naturally without a second thought, and done CORRECTLY. And that, methinks is "proof enough" for those that believe this method of breathing isn't the right way to do it.
Second, and more importantly, infants (and toddlers) make sure to get in the right amount of movement during the day. Ever seen a healthy infant lie "still" without flailing about? I bet not - this movement is what gets their muscles up to speed for the tasks required in daily life such as walking etc. Easy enough to figure out, huh? Well, take the average pot bellied Joe (or Jane) and have them kick like a baby from the "core" for just five minutes straight, and I bet they'll be exhausted and unable to complete even two straight minutes without a pause.
As for nutrition, well - ever seen an infant stuff itself so full of milk that it can't breathe? I bet not - but I bet you've seen someone stuff themselves full of a calorie laden pizza and barely be able to breathe (let alone walk) after that. 'Tis not the case with infants and toddlers - they instinctively know how much they need to eat and move, and thats something we as adults would do good to emulate in our daily lives as well.
Anyway, those are but a few examples - and YES, we CAN learn how to incorporate some of these practices in real life as adults as well.
All for now - the little one is crying, and it's gotta be Daddy's fault, of course, hehe. . .
Back again soon!
P.S.: - Natural movements are the key to getting super fit in a record period of time - and ensuring those results stick with you for the long term. Click on over HERE to learn about natural movements that can get you to the levels of fitness and flexibility that you had as a kid: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Was working out today in the local park, practicing some one arm hangs, and trying to hold a one arm flexed hang for time. Great, great workout for the entire upper body - especially the forearms, fingers and wrist - and when you can perform this hold for time, you're REALLY getting somewhere.
But, today's note isn't really about exercise alone - it's more about the sort of lifestyle folks lead in today's world, especially those that live in congested, polluted and dirty large cities.
What do I mean by that? Well, let me backtrack a bit. . .
I was moving through my sets pretty smoothly, when I heard an overweight old man "hollering" in the background. Turned around from the monkey bars, and saw that he was endeavoring to get the attention of another guy that lived in the house next to the park. Was raising Cain while at it, as well.
Why, you ask? Well, apparently he had parked his vehicle in the other guy's parking spot, and the other guy took it upon himself to promptly deflate the first guy's tires.
Now, just so you know, I'm currently living in an area where the folks are (by and large) fat, overweight, slovenly - and - yes, you guessed it - stinking rich for the most part, so it's one of those areas where there's more cars than people. Parking space is at a premium, and fights break out often in this so called "upscale" area of the city regularly over parking.
Anyhow, so the first guy was screaming like a banshee at the top of his lungs, and you could see his stomach and chest fat bobbing up and down as he gesticulated wildly.
The other guy came out - and did pretty much the same thing, except he was OBESE - this guy looked like an oversized egg to be honest. A waistline that wouldn't fit into even the most roomy of Victorian sofas, a backside bigger than the moon it seemed, and topped off with flabby arms and chest that resisted even the slightest sort of movement. Reminded me of a beached whale - and NOT in a good way either.
Anyway, these two fine gladiators stood there calling each other names, and the obese guy seemed to be getting the worst of the argument - until he called in his plumper than plump "young" son to support him, at which point the tables were turned - apparently there's strength in numbers, hehe.
And the pent up ANGER these two had - wow. You gotta hear it to believe it, but you'd think that the two had murdered each other families in cold blood by the way they were going on. Geez, simply ask the other guy to move his vehicle, and be done with it. . . apparently they dont think that way though.
They were threatening to beat each other up, but what was really hilarious though that NONE of them were in any sort of shape to do even a single pushup, much less get into a fist fight with each other. Would sort of be like a couple of fat ducks waddling around angrily, each poking their beaks at each other and little else.
Now, think how much better it would be for these two super-sized tubs of lard to actually channel some of that anger into something positive - like maybe some tough exercises? Like, maybe WALK a little instead of depending on the car that much? Maybe use the subway once in a while, and take the stairs while at it? I guarantee you that they'd be better off physically for it - and would actually be in some sort of shape to engage in hand to hand "combat" if there ever was a real need.
And while more activity will whoop your butt into better shape for sure, you'll also FEEL better for it - no better way to release some of that pent up anger and frustration by trying to get yourself into better shape.
So the next time you feel like kicking someone's face in for something relatively harmless, resist the urge - and try a hard set of pushups instead. Go for a brief jog, climb some stairs, heck, do some jumping jacks if you must - just whatever gets you going. And THEN come back and re-evaluate the situation - I bet you'll be a lot calmer and feel a lot better while doing so.
Of course, I realize this advice will slide off most folks like water off a duck's back, hehe, and thats fine by me. But, if you ever feel your emotions getting the better of you - just TRY what I just suggested - and then get back to me on how you feel - I look forward to your feedback!
All for now - back soon!
P.S: - If your looking for ways to blast that lard right off your mid-section, but don't know how to - well, fear not - you can whack that lard right off with the exercises I teach in Fast and Furious Fitness: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Well, it's yet another rainy day here in Delhi - been raining intermittently all night, sometimes heavy, sometimes light rain. Reminds me of Seattle when I lived there for a very brief period. . .or London, for that matter.
Anyway, my first thoughts upon waking up were along the lines of "It's raining, it's pouring. . .", but instead of the "the old man's snoring", my thoughts where "there go my pull-ups. . .".
Now, for the uninitiated, I do my pull-ups and other assorted movements out in the park - so a rainy day makes it impossible for me to get those exercises in. Which sucks, as pull-ups are an exercise I love, and one of the major movements in my routine.
So, I guess I could have done what a lot of folks would have done in that situation - which would be to say "ah, can't do the pull-ups anyway, so screw the workout - will get to it tomorrow". And that sort of thing is more common than you think it would be - and what's sad is that tomorrow never seem to show up for these good folks either.
Anyway, no such thoughts on my end - I actually got a workout in today that not only had me pouring with sweat - but my fingers and forearms feel like mush right now. And even more importantly, I got the bulk of my strength movements done via STATIC holds - meaning you simply hold your body in a certain position.
How hard can that be, you ask? Well, do them right, my friend, and they can be as hard as you want to make them - harder than anything you've ever done before if you so prefer, and thats no joke.
So, I got in a solid 5-6 minute jump rope session in interspersed with jumping jacks done at a fast pace - 500 reps of the former, and 250 of the latter - that alone would be enough to kick most people in the can.
Then started off on handstand pushups and finger tip pushups - except this time I didn't concentrate only on the reps - I made it extra hard by doing fingertip HOLDS, and by doing the exercises slowly.
By slow, I mean I pause at the bottom of a handstand pushup for a count of 10, and then pushup up - then pause another 10 - and then start the second rep. YOW!
By slow, I also mean I do my fingertip pushups in slow motion, while pausing at the end of each rep. YOWZ!!!!
And so forth. By the way, I talk extensively about fingertip pushups in Fast and Furious Fitness and you can get "yer mitts" on it right here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
This type of training will cause you to HURT. It will cause you to SWEAT. And most of all, it will constantly ask you to give up - but the point is, you DON'T GIVE UP!
Of course, that is hard to think about not giving up when your shoulders are shaking like tree leaves in a level 5 hurricane - but hard is what makes us tough - and thats what it's all about at the end of the day.
Finished off with some bear crawls and alligator crawls - some of these done on my fingertips - and that was that for the day.
So you see, my friend, you can literally get your workout in anywhere, irrespective of weather conditions, how you "feel", whats going on next door, or what the boob tube has to offer - no excuses, period. Just "git 'er done", and get on with the rest of your day - and you'll be amazed how GOOD you feel after a routine like I just described.
All for now - back again later!
PS: I speak about handstand pushups in the above email - for those that are interested, my new course "Shoulders like Boulders" teaches you EVERYTHING you need to know about this wonderful, wonderful exercise: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/87-shoulders-like-boulders
Okay, this is one of my all time favorites - something that I could write about all day long - and a topic guaranteed to strike at the very core of what most folks believe fitness is all about. Grab a cold one, and enjoy.
Most of us, if not all been taught from a very young age that fitness means the "look" (and not the other way around). You can only be fit if you have unnatural "cuts" and "dents" (termed as a six pack or eight pack in common parlance) all over your abdomen. Call yourself strong? How dare you do so - I don't see the veins throbbing in your biceps as you type! And so forth.
The modern fitness scene doesn't do much to de-bunk this theory either - name a fitness product, and you'll likely have folks advertising that product showing off their "toned biceps", "eight packs", or "shredded delts", promising you much the same effect. Never mind the fact that these good folks (the models) have likely never even USED the product they're advertising - but hey, that line of thinking requires too much though - easier to just gape at the six pack and go with the flow, eh.
I cringe every time I see one of these pictures - and it's not because I have something against six packs or eight packs - I don't. I've never had one myself even when I was a skinny runt back in high school, and I've never particularly wanted to either, but for those who do - well, have at. But what I DO have an issue with is the image this sort of thing sends out to other people - in short, the look determining how fit you are - when it really should be the other way around.
I could go on and on about just how stupid this theory is, but here's an example from real life - I can myself lug an awkward, hard to grip 40 lb or so cylinder (cooking gas cylinder) up three flights of stairs without shifting the cylinder from one arm to the other. Sound easy? Well, the guy that delivers it to our house (we don't have piped gas where I live right now) is the epitome of "fitness" as is commonly spoken about - he's got like zero body fat, and you can see the veins throbbing all over his arms and shoulders - yet he can't even lift off the ground with one hand, instead preferring to hoist it on his back and slowly make his way up the stairs.
Nothing wrong with that of course, but isn't an arm with throbbing veins, pulsating muscles, and all the other junkola they speak about it in fitness mags supposed to be stronger than mine?
And this isn't just about lugging heavy stuff up stairs - I've lifted weights many a times that folks claim are "quite heavy", and have done so with ease despite the fact I've NEVER trained with weights in my life. How can that be?
Second, remember that six packs and the lot are mostly products of GOOD genetics and super strict dieting. You might see the Budweiser model chugging beers on the beach on TV, but check out what his diet looks like in real life - and you'd be stunned. Ditto for all the movie stars that have the "look" and starve themselves to get there - strength and fitness wouldn't necessarily be associated with these good folks either.
Now, note that none of this is about lugging around excess fat on your body - that is never a good thing - but judging someone's levels of strength and fitness on the basis of six packs (or the like) is just flat out STUPID. The old time strongmen didn't have six packs, but they could perform feats of strength that would be hard to duplicate even today. Swimmers have six packs - but that look is a by-product of all the training they do in the water. And so forth.
Anyway, I could write volumes here, but I'm pretty sure it won't do much to dispel the myth - and if you choose not to listen to what I'm saying, I have no problem with it. Your life, your body, your choice.
On the other hand, if you DO decide to give it a thought and go in for REAL strength, health and fitness - well, I'm here for ya!
Off for now - back again later. If you work out today, make it the best!
PS: Fast and Furious Fitness will get you fit the natural way - and KEEP you there. It does NOT require super strict dieting. It does NOT require hours spent in the gym, and it most certainly ain't about hoisting heavy weights all day long. See what it's all about HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Many years ago, a colleague grabbed my upper arm and said "your slim, but your arms are loose".
"Huh?", I responded, not knowing what he was talking about.
"When I used to play sports, my arms used to be TIGHT. Like THIS!", he responded, clenching his fist as hard as he could and trying to show off a non-existent bicep.
I didn't respond.
"But now I'm all flabby, flab coming out from here, there, everywhere", he rejoined.
Now, that sort of thing is a typical comment from someone whose never been fit - and couldn't be bothered to get fit - so the only thing he does is to make negative (and in most case meaningless) comments about those that ARE in good shape. I was (at that time) knocking out pull-ups in sets of 6, doing all sorts of variations, and he wasn't even able to do one without grabbing his pits in agony - that alone should tell ya something, haha.
Pull 'em down into the quagmire instead of get better at pulling yourself up on a pull-up bar seems to be the motto for these people, and being I'd already experienced many comments like that, I laughed silently and didn't respond. And soon, we moved on to other topics.
But negativity notwithstanding, this does expose a common myth amongst most people - that being, it's better to have tight "pumped up" and "showy" muscles at all times of the day and night. Apparently being loose and relaxed is not important - showing one's steroid pumped and tense muscles to the world is.
I often marvel at the stupidity of this myth, and how many people buy into it - but before I start tearing this myth apart, let's take a look at Nature first.
The grizzly bear is probably the most powerful animal on the planet pound for pound, but do we see it walking around showing off it's muscles? No, it's actually quite content to hide them beneath a layer of fur - but when it comes time to chase that rabbit downhill, or carry a moose uphill while running (that's right, while running), it does so effortlessly.
The big cats (tigers, leopards, panthers etc) are amongst the best and strongest hunters in the world, but do they have a sleek, relaxed look about them - or a maniacal crazed "pumped up" look?
You see how foolish this theory is - but it's not just about the look either.
Look, (no pun intended) your muscles weren't MEANT to stay tense and knotted up - they may get that way after working out, but they sure as heck weren't meant to STAY that way. Look at any of the old time strongmen - few people can hold a candle to them in terms of strength, and yet they had the smooth, powerful look that comes from training NATURALLY.
The kind of look that a wrestler's shoulders have.
The kind of look a swimmer's chest has.
And so forth.
Second, loose muscles are actually a lot easier to stretch and move around, reducing the chances of accidental (or otherwise) injury drastically. This is in stark contrast to the modern day bodybuilder who has to go through a 15 minute or more stretching routine just to limber up - in which time a Fast and Furious Fitness practitioner is done and dusted with his workout.
I generally dive straight into my workout after getting up in the morning - without a lengthy warm up - how many weightlifters and bodybuilders can say that?
And last, but certainly not least, if you still prefer the "beachboy" look after reading all this, well, "tain't" none of my business to be quite honest. Preen on as much as you would - I really don't mind. To each his own, is what I say.
And that, my friend, is that for today - back again later! If you train today, make it a super one!
P.S. : - I speak about Fast and Furious Fitness in this note - you can grab it right HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
P.S. #2:- My new course Shoulders like Boulders is going gangbusters - hurry up and see what the commotion is all about: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/87-shoulders-like-boulders
I'm sure you've heard the old saying "It's best to workout in the morning before breakfast". That saying loosely translates to "wake up early in the A.M., go for a run, or lift weights, or do bodyweight stuff - whatever your poison, imbibe it early in the morning - and THEN start your day".
Many athletes and professional sportsmen follow a similar sort of routine. For instance, a boxer will often do his roadwork early in the morning, waking up as early as 4A.M. or so to run, then eat, and then commence with the rest of this day (which of course is mostly occupied with exercise).
And many regular folks do just the same thing - and it works great for them.
But the question I'd like to address today is whether this dictum, passed down from the ages, is really the best fit as far as most regular (and by that I mean people who don't exercise/play sports/lift weights etc for a living) are concerned?
My answer would be - well, it depends.
First off, there's nothing at all wrong per se with most of these "golden nuggets" that have been passed down through the ages - most are backed up by sound logic, results and experience - and I have no beef with that at all.
But the thing is, in this case, the old saying neglected to take the modern way of life into account.
For instance, does a person working night shifts (which weren't all that common even 70 to 80 years ago but are now - you can thank the Internet and many other modern gadgets for that) really do better working out tired after working all night, or in the afternoon after a restful sleep?
Do folks that aren't "morning people" do that well exercising in the morning?
The answer to both of these, is either "probably not", or (and a better answer), "it all depends".
My own routine is probably not what is commonly touted as ideal - I usually wake up around 10AM these days, and get my workout done a bit after that.
I'm usually late to bed as well - it's not unusual at all to find me up working until 2, or even 3AM at times. And funny part is, it actually seems to work pretty well for me. And this isn't that uncommon at all, especially for folks with a variable work schedule, or that are self-employed.
I started my workout this morning at around noon, and finished around 1:30 - LONG workout by my standards, but also a satisfying one - and again, contrary to popular opinion, I had nothing to eat before that.
But, that type of thing has been working for me, and one can't argue with results.
So, my initial answer on this stands - it ALL DEPENDS. Don't get too hung up about WHEN you exercise - just make sure you DO it.
If that means going for a run at 3:30 A.M., then by all means do that.
If it means waking up at 6 to hit those 250 daily pushups hard, then go for it!
If it means climbing a hill at noon (which I've done before) because that's really the only time you have in the day, then steel yourself, and DO it.
So long as you make time to exercise, your body won't care - it will reward you for it anyway. And thats really the only thing you should keep in mind on this one.
And thats it for today - see you again soon! If you work out today - or tonight - make it an awesome one!!
PS: Fast and Furious routines can be completed at any time of the day - so don't let that be an excuse to put off what you really shouldn't be putting off any longer:- http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
The message I'll try and get across today is by no means exercise-related alone; it applies to ALL fields of life - education, sports, workouts - just about anything, really.
And that message is - focus on the POSITIVE, rather than amplifying the negative.
Sounds simple enough in theory, but you'd be amazed at how many folks look at the negative in any given situation, rather than the positive (and potential for more positive).
A common enough example might be a person with a bit of a belly (but otherwise strong and in decent enough shape) reluctant to take his shirt off while running on the beach for fear of what others might say.
"I don't have the six pack to do that", he might say.
"Well, it doesn't matter all that much - you're not going to the Mr. Universe contest out here", I might respond. "Plus, you're plenty strong, and it SHOWS - broad shoulders, powerful chest - and how are you going to get that stomach fat off anyway unless you target it?"
"Oh, I don't know about the strong part", he might respond in a downbeat manner. "No-one ever tells me I'm strong - it's mostly all about the one body part that I find hard to keep in shape".
"Well, forget about what others might think or say - do because you want to do and FOR you - and thats half the battle won", I'd respond.
Now, the above story might sound a bit silly, but rest assured it happens to us all.
Most "people" in our lives will rarely complement our positives, preferring instead to focus on our negatives.
"Oh, I know you got that A in Math, but what about History? What price Biology", a father might ask his son - and reprimand him soundly for the latter two issues, while forgetting to even dwell on the former. (And yes, this happens a lot - I should know - I've had it happen myself when I was a kid!)
It happens a lot at the workplace too - our accomplishments tend to get easily forgotten, and our failures magnified. And a lot of people end up getting discouraged by the constant negativity, lose sight of their overall goals, and are back to square one within no time at all.
A lot of us have been told that "this is how it is in the real world" - but guess what - it doesn't HAVE to be that way. More to the point - YOU don't have to get discouraged by others - and you certainly don't have to let them stop you from achieving your goals - or whatever you are out to achieve at that moment.
What does this have to do with fitness, you might say.
Well, plenty, my friend - plenty.
You may be a super marathon runner, but not that strong when it comes to lifts - and you may hear the "oh he's got stamina, but he's not strong" (with a heavy emphasis on the latter).
So, you take that as an incentive to improve and do improve your strength - and then you'll likely hear "Oh, he's strong, but he doesn't have a six pack. Whats the point"?
You see what I'm saying - it's impossible to satisfy "others". Those who focus on the negatives do so either out of ignorance or because they themselves feel threatened by someone trying to actually DO something positive - and blanking out whatever doesn't feel good to them is the way to go for such people.
So what I'm saying is this -
The next time you see a person snicker at your total number of pull-ups per set, ignore him, and focus on the fact that you're actually DOING them as opposed to the other person.
The next time you hear some clown jabber on about "oh, I was far fitter than that in my heyday", push the ignore button on - it's just not worth getting upset and annoyed over baseless comments like that.
And so forth.
And no, this isn't an excuse to be weak/skinny/fat and ignore the fact - far from it. What I am saying is that constant negativity doesn't help anyone - and helping a weak/skinny/fat person (for example) focus on the positive and thus cancel out the negative with extra effort helps far more than a constant stream of negative armchair (in most cases) commentary.
And like I said before, this is by no means limited only to fitness - this applies to all areas of your daily life.
In a nutshell, then - FOCUS on the positive - work on eliminating the negative - and don't let the negativity around you get you down!!
And that, my friend is really what gets you going and things happening at the end of the day.
I'll speak more about this at length in other posts, but this should be enough for a start. Back again soon with more!
PS: Get started on the routines outlined in Fast and Furious Fitness, and you'll be stupefied at how quickly the negativity around you disappears. Nay-sayers will choose a different person to badger, the overly negative folks will quickly back down - and YOU will be on the road to a better and healthier YOU - and thats what it's all about. Grab your copy now, and change your life for the better TODAY: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Well, I got in a workout alright today - whew! And it wasn't my normal routine by any means; I did something NEW today - as in, things I've done before - not anything I've talked about before, but highly effective nonetheless.
Today's workout did NOT involve any dipping, pull-ups, monkey bars, timed holds - none of those staples today. And it involved only ONE strength movement (albeit a great one), but I was huffin and puffin' like I used when climbing the hill in China in a different life. And in fact, it got so hard that at one point I simply had to collapse on the floor and PAUSE for breath - it was that tough.
Now, what on earth was this workout?
Well, let's just say a combination of some exercises so "basic" that one couldn't even think they'd be tough - but ohhh yes, they ARE! Those, combined with handstand pushups in between sets of the other exercises - YOW!
My workout lasted for more than an hour and a half today - hardly fits the bill of FAST - but certainly fits the FURIOUS part. And rest assured that this workout is too tough for the uninitiated to handle - which is probably why it hasn't made it to the book as yet.
What WAS it?
Well, a lot of yoga movements, and work for the core - and handstand pushups thrown in. I'm not going to get into all the gory details here, but here's a sample:
100 jumping jacks, preferably done FAST and without a pause (and no, I couldn't manage them all at one go)
Handstand pushups (as many as you can do)
Knees to chest while jumping - FAST - 100 reps as a minimum, preferably in a set (and no, didn't manage this either - like I said, haven't been doing them for a while!)
Handstand holds (or pull ups, if you have a chinning bar at home; I don't at this point)
Repeat for three sets.
And thats not even taking into account the stretches and other core work. Think cycling movements - SLOWLY - while lying down - can feel like TORTURE for the abs after a while.
I'm writing this a couple of hours after my workout, and I'm still sore in the traps, abs and legs - not something you'd necessary associate with yoga, eh?
Now, I don't do this type of workout ALL the time - but it's mighty effective if done as a change, and some of the movements CAN be incorporated into a regular workout as well. Tough movements to be honest, but can be done for sure.
So thats something else to think about for all the weight maniacs who think the weight room is the only way to get a great workout - THINK AGAIN! And it also tells you that doing something DIFFERENT once in a while can only be good for you.
I'm probably going to get back to my normal routine tomorrow - and it'll be great - I can feel it in my bones already! And for those of you that work out regularly, you know the feeling; inexplicable at times, but it can't be ignored.
So, that ends today's note - until next time - take care - and work out hard!
PS: I don't cover all this in a book - YET. But, I do have another book I'm working on which details advanced handstand training and bridging (another fantastic exercise), and I might just add these exercises into the mix. Until then though, you still have more than enough to work with with Fast and Furious Fitness - grab a copy NOW.
No, today's subject line/email is NOT an advertisement for a tobacco company (or other products that are injurious to health)! I'm aware that what I wrote in the subject line would be manna from heaven for the marketing departments in most tobacco/liquor companies, but I'm referring to keeping a kid "hooked forever" in a GOOD way - not bad.
I was doing my exercises out in the park today, when a little girl with her mother showed up in the area where the dipping bars are. Wouldn't have been more than 8 years of age or so, and they had badminton rackets in hand, along with a yoga mat - always a good sign - especially when most stroll into that area with cellphones and handbags in hand as if it's a mall - and then park themselves right on the dipping bars to complete their daily gossip quota. Ugggh.
Anyway, I saw this girl trying to do pull-ups on the monkey bars, and dip between the parallel bars (much the same as I was doing). She was too small to do them in full range of motion, but at least she was trying - and trying hard. Good stuff!
But, guess what was even BETTER?
Her mother was actually encouraging her from the sidelines. As in "honey, don't give up - try to get at least ONE chin". Or "honey, let's see you fall over into a gymnastic bridge" (and she did - it was great to watch). And so forth.
The majority of adults today don't bother to fit physical activity into their daily lives - and this seems to be the norm for parents as well, at least in this neck of the woods. And given that fact, it's not surprising there are more and more obese children "running" (I use that term loosely) around galore with I-phones in hand and pizza on the mind.
But guess what happens when parents actually encourage their kids to participate in physical activity and sports - kids do so happily, because kids are full of energy naturally and are made for this. And when a parent actually shows up and does some of the same stuff she's asking her kid to do - well, even better.
And guess what - once they start - and get into the habit - they're hooked, my friend, and that can only be a GOOD thing. And exercises don't have to be tough for kids; in fact Fast and Furious Fitness teaches you a wide variety of exercises that kids will absolutely ENJOY doing (and that adults would benefit greatly from as well).
So, if you have kids, make sure and set a good example - plonking down in front of the tube with a six pack and Doritos may seem like the thing to do after work, but it isn't setting a good example for the little one.
Anyway, wanted to share that with you; I figure you'd like it as much as I did. . .
Until next time - and if you work out today, make it a super one!
PS: One of the best presents you can give your kids is the gift of lifelong health, strength and fitness (and yes, I know I switched the order around) - grab Fast and Furious Fitness NOW - and get 'em started!
Fast and Furious Fitness: http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Been receiving some interesting emails as of late, and I'll share a couple with you.
The first email was from a person in the UK who bought my book a while back. He was already pretty strong, but in a LOT of pain from repetitive weight training - especially in the shoulder/trap region - so he wanted to get on a routine that would allow him to maintain his strength/fitness levels, but not cause him to squeal in pain every time he brushed his teeth or put on a T-shirt. Now, bear in mind this dude is strong (at least going by what he told me), but the amount of pain he's in on a daily basis - man oh man, I wonder if all those heavy weights are worth it after all. . .
Anyway, he writes me back two (or so) months later, and is all praise for the book - especially the part where I talk about handstand pushups, and how beneficial they are for you.
Quoting from his note "Your handstand pushup workouts are the BEST - I've never been feeling stronger in the shoulders/upper back; and whats more, that piercing pain in my shoulder joint is almost GONE! Kudos!"
Thanks pal - but the feedback isn't surprising, since you've been training one of the very, very BEST exercises you can to do rehabilitate, strengthen and rejuvenate your shoulders - those being handstand pushups. Sure, you need to do them in proper form or you might as well not do them at all, but they remain one of the very best upper body exercises there is, period.
I speak about handstand pushups at length in Fast and Furious Fitness - be sure and grab your copy now!
The second question was from a newbie who just joined the site yesterday. He's just starting out, and was apprehensive about whether or not my book contained routines suitable for a rank beginner. And my answer was YES - Fast and Furious Fitness WILL help you if you are at that level. Get the book, follow the instructions and work out religiously - and you WILL see a difference - more so than you would by joining a fancy gym and working the treadmill in front of the TV. Glug.
So, if your still on the fence (and those of you that are know who you are!), quit dallying around and get the book TODAY - it will literally change your life for the better.
OK, that's it for now. Back again soon with more!!
PS: Too much dithering never led to anything but a massive headache - quit beating about the bush and get the book TODAY - it IS literally a ticket to a BETTER you.
I've been receiving a lot of emails lately - mostly questions related to training, the site, or just general questions. As in, "how do I perform this exercise", or "I'm simply NOT improving at my chin-ups; how do I get there?". And so forth - the questions keep coming in - and thats great!
I make an attempt to answer most of the emails - but I do miss some - and for that, I apologize. Only so many hours in the day, and all that fun jazz. . .
But, to cut a very long story short, I've decided to set up a basic discussion forum on the web site - a place where YOU guys can log in and discuss your training questions, routine, diet, and just about anything you'd like to. I actually did not consider this before, but given that comments are disabled on the blog (sorry - haven't figured out how to outwit the spam bots just as yet!), I thought this should be a good idea.
It's pretty basic - but basic is how I train, and after a lot of playing around with code, fonts etc, I figured the basic setup is the way to go - and it's LIVE now! All you have to do is click "Forum" on the site homepage, and you'll get there. You do need to register with a login name and password,but that's pretty much all you need to do in order to start posting.
The forum is completely free as of now - and hopefully I can keep it that way. As for rules, what to post and what not to - well - we're all adults, and I leave it to YOU to decide. My only rule is - do as you would in "real life" i.e. be civil, respect others, etc etc - and thats pretty much it. Not much of a forum Gestapo as you can tell. . .
So, this should be fun - let's give it a try, and see how it goes!!
PS: The actual link to the site is http://rahulmookerjee.com/phpbb2/index.php ; bookmark this if you want to jump straight to the forum instead of the site!
PS #2: Here's to many productive discussions!!
Well, well, well. It's been a chaotic few months for sure since I last wrote (yeah, I know, long gap again) - and things have changed once again at Fast and Furious Fitness "HQ" again. To cut a long and convoluted story short, we've now left the sands of Oman FAR behind, and are back where we were 8 or so months ago - back to India, that is.
I'd really like to think this move back is permanent, at least as far as the Gulf is concerned - neither me nor Mrs. Fast and Furious Fitness wants to move back there, period. My current location is far from ideal, has more than it's fair share of problems, et al - but it's way better than a vast, open desert at any rate. Do miss a thing or two about the place - the runs along the beach for one, my old heavy bag which I had to leave behind (sigh), but overall, I've never felt better about leaving a place for good.
And on the workout front of things, back to India means back to my old workout haunt - the neighborhood park, or the "hood" as I like to call it fondly, mostly due to the motley collection of folks hanging around there with not much to do, but thats another story altogether. . .
This also means a very welcome return to a couple of exercises that I hadn't been able to do for a while now - and those are pull-ups on thick bars, and dips. I've spoken a lot about doing pull-ups on thick bars, and how they strengthen your entire body (especially your forearms, grip and fingers) beyond belief, but combine the exercise (or any of it's combinations) with dips done on thick bars, and you get a killer upper body workout. Throw in a a few ab exercises, and sprints (or a fast run, if you prefer), and you've literally hit the entire body in less than a hour.
Here's a short, but sweet workout along those lines that should have you hurting by the end of it: -
- Warm up with a jog, or stretching, or whatever gets you going
- Jump rope 5X100, interspersed with sets of 20 pushups between the rope jumping sets.
- Thick bar pullups 5x5, interspersed with thick bar dips 5x10 (or whatever works best for you). Don't be surprised if your traps feel like they're being torn apart while you do this!
- Hanging leg raises 3x 10 (or less, depending upon what you can do).
- Timed holds (again from a thick bar - shoot for 3 sets of 60 seconds each).
Ok, so thats a pretty decent workout there that should take no longer than 45 minutes at most, and should work you to the bone provided you do it right. . .
And that, my friend, is that for now. Be back soon with more updates on whats going on - and an update on the online order process as soon as it's up and running again!