Well, it's that time of the year again - much love and happiness all around (or at least, there should be). Your kids are probably eager to see what Santa brought them, hehe, and most of us adults are looking forward to plenty of good food, some time spent with the family - and again, thats how it should be.
Sometimes, occasions like this cause us to introspect and think about just whats important in life. 2014 is almost upon us, and I thought it would be a good time to think over how 2013 went, and how I can make 2014 way better - both in terms of life and fitness.
And so I went for a long, long walk today after my hill climb. No tough climbs, no taking the steps three at a time, no lung busters - nothing of that nature. Just a long, peaceful walk through the woods if you would, enjoying the chirping of the birds, the feeling of the sun on my face - just the feeling of being ALIVE, actually.
In short, being glad for the small things in life. None of us lead a "perfect" life (at least most of us don't), but focusing on the negatives only takes away from the joy that the simple (and usually freely available, if one just looks for it) pleasures in life are what count the most.
Just FYI, I often go for long walks like this - not necessarily for any "cardio" (though walking is good exercise), but more to "chill out". If I'm doing this in the woods, then it's usually to "be at one with Nature" and enjoy some well deserved and much needed solitude - and this time really gets the brain cells working, and contemplating. In fact I've had some of my very best ideas while going on long, peaceful walks - can't beat that for sure!
I thought about my family (not currently here with me - so for those of you that aren't able to see family for Christmas, I completely understand you feel). I thought about my baby girl growing up every day - and my wife working overtime to care for her (quite a task without both parents around, and those of you with kids will understand) - and the sheer joy of seeing baby Shristi grow up in front of her eyes (again, those of you with children know what I'm talking about here).
I thought about how glad I am that my daughter was born healthy - and that both of US (wife and me) are healthy individuals with many years in front of us.
I thought about how I'm "lucky" enough to be in a position to be able to do what I am right now on my own terms. Lucky to have a fantastic following on the site, lucky to have some great friends, lucky to be able to enjoy some simple (but tasty) meals every day. And so forth.
I thought about how I was feeling at peace - and at one with Nature, and how these simple walks really make my day - without any expense or special equipment required (and the fitness benefits are a welcome bonus).
In short - the "simple things in life" (or the "small" things in life). Sure, there are areas of my life I'd love to improve (and will improve) and that holds true for everyone - but sometimes, just sometimes, it's good to just "sit back" and just introspect on a relaxed level if that makes sense.
Anyway - that was what I did today - and I highly recommend you take some time out to introspect as well, be it over the holidays or in the New Year.
And in the meantime, back to fitness - remember that the "small things" add up to a LOT over time. You might just be able to crank out two painful pushups now, but keep at it, and soon you'll be repping out 10, then 20, and even more before you know it.
You might not be able to walk an hour without fatigue, but start with 15 minutes, and build from there, and you will quickly develop your endurance to the point you can walk for MORE than an hour without fatigue!
Remember - DOING something is what counts - and doing something is what will keep the pounds off ya during the holiday season.
And one last thing before I end today's note - our 20% off special ends soon - so make sure to take advantage while you can: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products
Ok, that's that for now - I'll be back with more fitness tips later! Merry Christmas to all of you again, and here's to a joyous and prosperous 2014!
P.S: - A lifelong passion (and habit) for fitness is one of the very best gifts you can give you kids, bar none. And we're open throughout Christmas for just that purpose: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book/
It's a glorious afternoon here in Southern China, and I'm feeling on top of the world. Got done with my exercises a short while ago, had a great lunch, and I'm still "in the zone" - and will likely stay there for a while longer yet!
Anyway, some of you are probably looking at the subject of this email, and wondering why I need to ask the question in the first place. I mean, I speak about progressive training (as in, one step at a time or even baby steps that add up) in my book, so why I am bringing it up here?
Well, some of you Fast and Furious followers would be justified in thinking along those lines - but hold "yer" horses - what I'm referring to is uphill climbs. As in, jaunts up a tough incline (can be man made or a natural hill - it doesn't matter) with steps along the way.
It's actually a question that stair climbing enthusiasts have asked many times over, and there are many schools of thought when it comes to this particular topic, all of them with varying, but valid (to a degree) viewpoints.
"Do I burn more calories if I take two or more stairs at a time?"
"Does climbing one step at a time provide me with a better workout?"
And so forth - and just in case you don't believe, fire up your favorite search engine, and you'll quickly see that this is quite a commonly asked question out there on the Internet as well.
And I thought I'd add my $0.02 as well - - so here goes. What I'm going to say might ruffle a few feathers, and might not jibe with what "conventional" training wisdom dictates, but hear me out before you judge.
Most "conventional" climbing (or stair climbing) theories would have you believe that two (or three) steps at a time is far tougher and far more demanding than climbing steadily one step at a time. And this isn't necessarily that hard to believe for the average Joe - after all, isn't it easier to simply "schmooze" up the two flights of stairs to your apartment rather than sprint up?
Sure is - but what this advice fails to mention is that hills and other serious inclines are an entirely different kettle of fish, my friend - and perhaps a bonier version of fish than you'd expect.
Anyway, without further ado - my answer is "They BOTH work, and they BOTH have their advantages". BOTH burn calories BIG TIME - but neither one burns significantly more calories than the other, despite what various studies may you have you believe (given certain basic constants) - and this is coming from someone whose a huge believer in making a workout as hard as possible.
I generally climb two stairs at a time, but not because I think it provides any extra calorie burning effects - more because it works the thighs in a different manner from climbing one step at a time - but that doesn't mean it's the only way to skin that particular cat.
To put this in perspective, let's take my workout today. I focused on climbing the ENTIRE hill ONE step at a time today - and during no part of the climb did I climb two stairs at a time even once. And I was at the summit before I knew it, breathing in the cool invigorating air as deep as I could.
"Ah, so it was easy then", some of you might chime in.
Uh, no - not really - I was drenched in sweat much like I am after my "two step at a time" climbs - and what is REALLY going to sound unbelievable is that I actually made it up the hill in LESSER time than I normally do. I know this, because I timed myself - and I clocked in a full six minutes ahead of time.
Not bad, eh?
The main reason behind this was that one step at at a time reduces the "shock" on your thighs, and therefore the rest periods required to continue up the hill - but does that mean it's a lesser workout?
Not a chance, my friend - especially when you consider that I clocked in earlier at the top than I normally would.
Taking the steps two at a time might provide a lot more "burn" in your thigh muscles, but climbing at a steady pace accomplishes the same calories burn, albeit without the "pounding" two steps at a time puts your hips and lower back.
Some of you might say "Well, that's like comparing a brisk walk to a sprint" - but it's not. It might be if we're talking Jane Unfit's one struggle to get up to her apartment on the first floor, but not on the hill I'm talking - no chance.
A sprinter finishes a 200 m sprint much quicker than a person walking at a brisk pace does - and I've always said and still say that the former option is a better one in terms of calorie burn and an overall workout.
However, a long, steep hill is an entirely different ball game (or if you don't a hill, a building with maybe 40 flights of stairs at a minimum).
Run, or sprint, or take the stairs three at a time, and you'll certainly feel the heart pound times 10 within no time - but you'll need to rest as well.
Walk up the stairs (or hill) at a brisk undulating pace (one step at a time), and you'll feel the lungs starting to burn times 5 as well - but this burning will be sustainable over a longer period of time, and you'll likely sweat your way up to the top BEFORE the other guy does.
And just so you know, that is NOT the same as flat land walks/sprints. Climbs (especially serious inclines) force your hips, thighs and lower back to work HARD no matter whether your taking it one step at a time or two - the only difference being that one is more sustainable over a long climb.
I've also found that the "burn" is significantly less during the "one step at a time" climb, not because it's "easier" - but because one step at a time allows me to fully "press" down on each step with the heel of my foot, thereby stretching out the calves and hamstrings with each step (which then share the load of the legs as well).
Taking them two at a time usually means I'm somewhat "on my toes" for most of the climb, and that really kills the calves, and causes way more soreness later.
Now, does all of this mean you should ignore taking the stairs two at a time?
Not at all, my friend - I sure don't - but what I'd advise is working BOTH the techniques into your climb for optimal benefit.
Climb half the hill in one manner, and switch back to the other during the second half.
Or mix it up - take one flight of stairs two at a time, the next two one at a time, and the fourth two at a time.
It's all good - and it all WORKS!
Last, but not least, know that what I'm saying applies to serious climbs - not the trek up one flight of stairs to the bedroom - you'd likely be better off sprinting that than taking the dowager's "slow and steady" walk up THOSE stairs, hehe.
So, there you have it. Take it one step at a time - or two - but put in serious climbs you absolutely MUST - and it doesn't get any simpler than that!
All for now - if you workout today - make it a super one!
P.S. : - My new course on pull-ups is going gang busters - click on over HERE to see what the hoo haa is all about: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/88-getting-better-at-pull-ups-from-dud-to-stud-within-a-matter-of-weeks
I'm sure you've noticed that I've been talking a lot about leg and core training/conditioning these days. Most of my notes seem to have some sort of reference to either walking, or hill climbing - and for those of that think it's a bit of an "overdose" on leg work, well, stop reading this email right now.
But there will likely be many of you that understand just important it is to condition the legs and core, and thus know why I stress it as much as I do.
Repeat something thousands of times, and it literally becomes second nature - or habit, if you would.
Repeat something thousands of times, and even the most obstinate of us (in this case, those who plain just don't WANT to get in shape) will usually give it at least a thought, and maybe even a try. And there in lies the importance of stressing the really important stuff over and over again.
Anyway, for those of you still not on board, the #1 (by far) reason to condition your legs and core the RIGHT way is that it's virtually impossible to have a well conditioned core and pair of legs, and not work the heart, lungs and entire cardiovascular system at the same time - which in turn means less overall fat, both visceral and subcutaneous.
Take five guys (or gals) that have bellies and arses hanging down to their ankles, and compare their resting pulse, blood-work and/or overall health with five fitter people, and you'll quickly note that a conditioned core/legs goes hand in hand with a healthy heart most of the time.
Note I'm talking about the right way - and the right way does not include "leg presses" or "hamstring curls" or other such junk - I'm talking exercises that make the lower body and core (and therefore by extension the entire body) work as ONE unit, rather than separate muscle groups.
To put this in further perspective, consider the old Chinese saying "Ren lao xian lao tui", which when translated into English basically means the legs are the first to go as a person ages. In other words, young legs == young heart == young YOU - enough said on that one, methinks.
Second, strong legs and core help you from a practical perspective, and that goes both for the average Joe and for sportsmen/athletes.
It's virtually IMPOSSIBLE to excel at your chosen sport without having strong, durable and well conditioned legs and midsection (core).
Any successful boxer knows that while training the specifics is important, fights are ultimately "won on the road". In other words, the longer your legs dont give out, the better your chances are of winning the duel.
Any martial artist will tell you it's impossible to generate power in a kick without a strong core to back it up.
And so on and so forth - it "don't" matter if your sport of choice is soccer, tennis, volleyball or what you have it - the same principle applies.
Some of you might say that swimmers don't have legs that are all that strong, but the fact of the matter is that while swimmers generally do not have legs that are as strong when compared to those that participate in land based sports, their core conditioning is second to NONE. And I've never seen a swimmer with "fat" (or weak) legs and too much "junk in the trunk" - have you? What's more, most ace swimmers DO work the legs with land based exercise such as running in order to balance their impressive upper body development out.
Even those that don't participate in sports that require physical activity know the importance of staying in shape - just ask any top chess player.
The average Joe will find that strong legs, hips and core makes it possible for him or her to move that heavy couch up the stairs, or carry multiple bags of groceries up to the fifth floor without their arms given out.
Enough reasons, you think? I'd say so!
Anyway, there are more reasons than I can get into in this note, but yet another positive effect of training the legs and core is the sheer CONFIDENCE it adds into your daily life.
You might be able to bench press an elephant, but a gut hanging over your belt will likely make you feel fat regardless - and you won't be able to hide it either.
Other hand, a lean flat core, coupled with strong, muscular and streamlined thighs (and therefore legs) will make you feel confident about going into just any situation - and like the last example, it's almost impossible to hide a pair of well conditioned legs, no matter what you dress in.
Climbing hills as I do on a daily basis is a GREAT, GREAT way to work the legs, core and entire body (by extension), but it's not the end of the world if you don't have a hill nearby. Jumping rope, lunges, squats, "table" pushups, sprints on flat land or up stairs - - there are MANY ways to work the legs, and I have devoted an entire section on this in Fast and Furious Fitness: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book - and you'll probably want to grab a copy right away while we're still running our "20 % off" special.
Anyway, I'm off for a well deserved late lunch myself. If you work out today, make sure it's a great one - and make sure to work the legs and core heavily!
P.S. : - While working the legs and core is the #1 priority, that doesn't mean you forget about your upper body. And working the back is probably the MOST important thing you can do for yourself in that regard. Pull-ups are the best way (by far) to work your back and entire upper body into the ground, and. . . what's that? Too tough, you say? Well, fear not, my friend - I just put a new course out there that'll teach even the rank beginner amongst us to get to "stud" level at pull-ups (and reap the associated upper body benefits) within as less as a few weeks! If I were you, I'd pull on RIGHT NOW to grab this course: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/88-getting-better-at-pull-ups-from-dud-to-stud-within-a-matter-of-weeks
As you probably already know, pull-ups (done correctly) are one of the toughest exercises you can do, bar none.
Most adults can barely hang onto the bar for more than s few seconds before "dropping like a stone" - and the reasons are varied. Being overweight is the primary cause for most folks, while lack of strength in the upper body (namely the back, shoulders and grip) is the over-riding factor for other people.
Yet others simply shy away from this exercise, automatically deeming it to be "too tough" and "something I could never do for reps".
I bet it does - and those of you that have sent me emails over the last month or so on pull-ups KNOW it does.
And so, I've put together a course that will get even the rank beginner amongst you to start repping out pull-ups like a pro - within a matter of weeks.
That's right - you CAN go from "zero to hero" within the space of a few weeks.
Will it take effort? Sure - but no pain, no gain, amigo - it's as simple as that.
Nothing in life worth having is free, and the bare minimum I can ask you for is EFFORT, plus a paltry $15.99 which is what the course retails for. And when you factor in the bucks saved on gym memberships, fancy machines and the like, this amount doesn't seem like a lot at all, does it?
This course is being offered as a PDF as of now, so you should expect to have your copy in your Inbox within 24 hours of making payment.
I'd go into further detail in this note, but I believe the best thing to do at this point is to direct you to the sales page right HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/88-getting-better-at-pull-ups-from-dud-to-stud-within-a-matter-of-weeks ; so you can take ACTION on this pronto.
Get cracking on this NOW - I look forward to hearing about your success!
P.S #2: - In addition to Facebook, we're also on Google+ HERE: - https://plus.google.com/+Rahulmookerjee_FastandFuriousFitness - stop by and check it out!
P.S #3: - My special "20 percent off" offer seems to have been received quite well until now - remember this only lasts till Jan 2014, so get in while the going is GOOD!
Woke up this morning feeling especially sprightly, and I knew at once today was going to be a day where I did something different exercise wise.
No, not different as in deviate from my core routines - I hardly ever do that - but different as in "tweak" my routine just a little bit. 'Twas a glorious winter morning BTW, and such mornings just call upon the exercise fanatics amongst us to get out there, and do SOMETHING - different or not - I'm sure those of you that exercise regularly know what I'm talking about here.
So, off I went to the hill, making sure to enjoy every moment of my walk and the feeling of the SUN on my face. That's two important tips right there by the way - always make sure to get enough sun during the wintertime, and always make sure to ENJOY your workout, no matter what you do or what your preferences are in terms of exercise (lifting weights, walking, swimming, whatever it is - make sure to ENJOY it to the fullest!).
Made it up the hill in one piece, and then started on some jumping jacks. Did 50 of them, got my breath back (again) - whew - and then figured I'd choose a different path on the way down today. I usually choose the path without any steps on the way down - seems to give me a better workout in terms of really stretching my hamstrings out after a tough uphill climb, but I took yet another route with steps on the way down (this hill has plenty of routes that all lead to the top).
Now, I've been on this particular route before - it's a longer walk than my usual route, but it's also a somewhat easier walk, both uphill and downhill - and in the midst of it I got a bit bored. And then from somewhere I got the crazy idea to pause, and go right back up the hill - the same way I came down.
So, off it was for another thigh and lung buster up the hill - oh BOY! I must have lost at least two kilograms in water weight alone after that - at least, that is what it felt like.
And this second climb made me feel GREAT - a feeling that will likely last throughout the day, by the way. Knocked off 25 pushups this time, collapsed in a puddle of my own sweat, and then finally got up to make my way down the hill (choosing my normal route this time).
The sun was shining, the birds were singing - in short, it was an absolutely glorious afternoon by then - and I paused along the way to take some pictures and just "drink" in the views and greenery on offer.
Got all the way down, but something didn't quite feel right.
What was it, you ask.
Well, I felt like something was still MISSING from my overall routine - not sure why, since I had gotten in TWO climbs already by then - more than what I do on a daily basis. . .
And then, out of nowhere, it "struck" me - I just needed another climb up the hill - and what's more, I wanted to climb back up the way I just came down (i.e. the route without steps).
Touch of the sun? Perhaps.
CRAZY? For sure, if your not into this sort of exercise!
Anyway, so up I went again. And a short while into the climb. . .oh my.
My lungs were screaming, my thighs literally felt like they were going to explode - and as for my lower back, well, the less said about it better - three tough uphill climbs and a lot of walking in between with no rest will make even the fittest of people feel it somewhat.
Made it halfway to the top, and thought about quitting while I attempted to "wipe" the sweat and fog off my glasses - an attempt in vain for the most part, by the way.
Resumed, and got about 90% of the way up there before I thought I saw Jesus walking across a shimmering lake. OK, not literally that, but you get my point - I was totally spent, and buzzed to the extreme.
FINALLY made it up all the way, walked around for a bit "savoring" the jelly like feeling in my thighs, and then made it down in one piece - this time for good (for today). While at the top, I saw an old Chinese couple that were walking up hill with me the second time - and they were still there at the top when I made it up for the third time.
They smiled in a silly sort of way at me (or so it seemed), and said something to we which I didn't quite understand. My Chinese is elementary at best, and I'm NOT at my best trying to decipher a foreign language when I'm bushed and so out of breath I can barely speak.
But words aren't always necessary, my friend.
The LOOK the couple gave me said it all - it was a combination of an indulgent look (that a doting parents might bestow upon a toddler being silly) and a "wary" sort of look you might direct at those with more than a few marbles missing "up there", hehe.
In short - that look basically said - this dude is NUTS. As in, plumb damn nuts. Fruity. Batty. Whatever - you get the point!
And I nodded back in a knowing sort of way - hey, I admit it - I'm a sucker for tough climbs and tough workouts - and if that makes folks think I'm nuts, so be it - the sheer BUZZ I get after that sort of thing makes it more than worth it!
Now, some of you reading this are going to want to jump up straight from years of inactivity on the couch in front of the "tube" and want to run up the nearest hill you can find (or stairs) - and that is something I do NOT advise, as it's a veritable recipe for disaster - guaranteed.
Neither do I advise the moderately fit to partake of such activities on a regular basis - this sort of thing should only be done once in a while.
Again, in short, build up to it. Rome wasn't built in a day as they say, and neither will your capacity to recover or even partake of such routines, so proceed with due caution. Craziness in moderation and with due deliberation, if that makes sense!
Anyhow, 'twas all I could do after that to bang out a few pull-ups, timed holds and dips and then it was off home for a well deserved shower and lunch.
And that, my friend was my workout and my update for today. I'm outta here now - back again soon - and if you workout today - make sure it's a lung buster "for the ages"!!
P.S.: - In case you didn't know, prices at Fast and Furious Fitness headquarters are at a crazy low right now - a whopping TWENTY percent off any order. Click on over NOW to take advantage: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products
It's beautiful outdoors today (at least where I'm at). The sun is shining, a cool winter breeze is blowing, and there is NO sign of the rain that had plagued this particular city for three days continuously (and also resulted in temperatures that felt like they were below freezing at times, though in reality they were way above).
Perfect day for an outdoors workout, and I took full advantage - got my daily climb in, followed by some stretching, pull-ups and dips. The park where I go for my daily climb has all the equipment required to make this possible, so I don't even need a chinning bar at home - which suits me just fine - I'd much rather exercise outdoors than indoors anyway.
Anyway, in response to my daily (as of late) posts about climbing a steep hill near my place, and absolutely loving it, a long time reader wrote in to ask me why I believe that climbing (or trekking up) hills is one of the VERY best exercises you can do, period.
In his own words "I know it's tough as heck, but does it really build the entire body? Is that one exercise enough to get in a full workout?"
And my answer would be "yes" to the first question and "it depends" to the second.
First, and as I state in Fast and Furious Fitness, any sort of exercise that works the hips, thighs and core into the ground gets my vote for a super overall body exercise - and climbing hits those three areas BIG time. If you don't believe me, go climb the steepest and longest hill you can find near you, and then tell me how you feel the day after. For those of you that don't have hills nearby, try sprinting up multiple flights of subway stairs or maybe even the staircases of a high rise - not quite the same thing as being outdoors, but a pretty darn tough exercise nonetheless.
And why exactly is working the hips, thighs and core that important? Well, there are many reasons, and those that have my book know why (hint, hint) but the #1 reason is that working the legs and core causes you to work the largest muscle groups in your body simultaneously - which in turn causes you to huff and puff big time; in other words - you HAVE to breathe deeply - you don't have a choice but to, and THAT deep breathing is what purges the body of all toxins and ultimately gets you fitter, stronger and healthier.
There's far more detail on this in the book, but for now let me just quote what fitness pioneer Paul Braggs famously said: - "Deep breathing alone has made many a weak man strong, and many a sick man healthy".
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, we come to the next question i.e. is this one exercise just enough?
Well, like I say, it depends. I know that climbing the particular hill I do a couple of times is more than plenty exercise for me - and that goes for the entire body, but those of you that exercise for a living might not think it is.
For instance, I often find it hard to complete my sets of five pull-ups after a long arduous climb or two. I literally feel like I've already worked my back and arms during those climbs (and that feeling is actually accurate) - but then there are days where I simply jump into my bodyweight routine after a climb and feel great.
Those of you attempting a slog up a tough hill for the first time in years probably don't need to do anything else for the first few days at least - that much is also a given.
So in response to the second question, yes, I'd say it's generally enough - but you can always work specific body parts and improve at certain exercises after your daily walk/climb if you so desire - there's absolutely no reason why you cannot.
Anyway, I'm feeling great hours after my workout - and THAT, my friend is what it's really all about. And that feeling can only be experienced once you actually get out there and put in a tough workout - 'nuff said there.
Now, the holidays are fast approaching, and it's a well known fact that obesity and related issues are traditionally known to be at an ALL time high during this season. Folks sit back and relax (and deservedly so) - but unfortunately usually end up eating/drinking way too much of the wrong stuff, and pretty soon the lard starts to pile on.
And this isn't limited to those of us that don't exercise - I've seen folks that wouldn't touch anything unhealthy "normally" go absolutely bonkers during the holiday season and end up losing the gains they worked so hard to attain in the first place.
Not good, my friend. Not good at all - but the good news is, you can avoid the "holiday bulge" by simply making sure to workout as hard as usual, or extra hard during the holiday season. It'll make you feel better - you'll actually enjoy your food MORE - and the best part is you won't gain oodles of weight in a week or less, and then have to slog all of January in the cold winter weather to work off said weight.
And just in case you needed a further push, here's good news - I'm offering a holiday discount of TWENTY percent on any order starting TODAY (Dec 18, 2013) and ending next year on January 4th. Call it a holiday special, call it "season's greetings from Fast and Furious Fitness Headquarters" - call it what you will, but the discount is there just waiting to be grabbed - all you have to do is enter in "DEC2013" as the coupon code (without the quotes) and the system will automatically apply a 20 percent discount to any product you choose to order during this time period.
And that, my friend, is that for now. Have at with the discount - but I'm outta here for now - gotta go take care of some annoying chores, hehe.
P.S.: - If I were you, I wouldn't wait a minute longer to do my holiday shopping - I'd click over RIGHT NOW: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products
Wow, what a busy few days it's been thus far. Seems like I've been in China for years already, when in reality it's only been around 10 days so far. You know what they say - time flies when your having fun, and it sure has "flown" past these last few days!
Anyway, it's been a merry jaunt thus far - getting back in touch with folks I knew here, practicing my very limited Chinese, hehe, drinking my "secret" potion for health and weight loss (for those that require it) in copious amounts, and of course, my jaunts up the hill. Great fun thus far, and I don't expect that to change for the immediate future.
Of course, things are never "perfect" - and the weather sure hasn't for the last two days (and today as well) - it's been raining incessantly over here, making it almost impossible to get out of the house, let alone go for long treks up a tough hill. I generally don't let the weather stop me, but it's cold and rainy outside, and I don't fancy catching a chill trekking for hours in this weather, so I'm doing the sensible thing for once, hehe, and letting the weather even out a little before I venture out again.
And I won't lie - an enforced house stay is never easy - and those of you that enjoy outdoor activities on a regular basis know what I'm talking about. I write in my book about how "I got so cranky if I missed even a day of my daily climb" - and that's spot on - I'm crankier than a hibernating grizzly roused from his sleep right now, and ready to chew nails as it were. Aargh!
Anyway, I figured I'd use the extra time productively, and one of the things I've done is to (finally) get a Facebook page up for Fast and Furious Fitness. The page is still very much a "work in progress", but feel free to stop by and check it out, "like" it, and leave your thoughts/comments - all much appreciated! You can check out the page here: - https://www.facebook.com/fastandfuriousfitness.
On other fronts, I'm also going to be announcing a special offer soon on the site - which will likely mean a discount on all, or at least some of my products. That offer should be up within a day or so - stay tuned for that one!
And that's the update from here, for now. Back again tomorrow with regular programming - and here's to hoping the rain stays AWAY!
P.S. : - That Facebook link again is https://www.facebook.com/fastandfuriousfitness; be sure and stop by!
Oh BOY. Got back from my daily climb an hour or so ago, and I'm still buzzed! Feeling like a billion bucks, which I normally do after a tough climb anyway, but the effects have literally been amplified today.
Why? Well, let's just say due to one SIMPLE tweak in my routine, but first, let's discuss the concept of a "natural" high (different from the buzz you get from putting artificial junk such as candy, tobacco etc into your body).
Those that exercise regularly will be familiar with this term - in fact, even those of you that aren't fitness maniacs will have heard of the term "runner's high". This basically refers to the "floating on cloud nine" feeling you get after a long, hard run wherein you literally sweat all the toxins out of your body - and it can be applied to any form of exercise - bodyweight routines, weight lifting, swimming - and - YES - climbing as well!
I tend to refer to my workout high's (when climbing the hill) as a "climber's high", and find this "buzz" to be literally intoxicating and better than any I've ever gotten from other forms of exercise, bar none. I mean think about this - I'm still floating on cloud "twelve", if I might say - and it's already been an hour since I got home (and almost two hours since I reached the peak of the hill).
So, what is so special about climbing that really gets the heart rate up, the muscles working, the blood pounding and the sweat pouring? More importantly, what does climbing a steep hill provide that other exercises simply cannot?
Well, there are many ways to answer this one - and the simplest way would be to say "Hey, do it yourself and you'll find out". End of story.
But, for those of you that don't have a hill nearby (or for those of you that prefer to drive up a hill rather than put your butt in fourth gear), here is my explanation.
First, climbing hills is a fantastic overall body exercise, but it REALLY works the thighs and hips into the ground (especially when one is climbing stairs as opposed to a sloping path). I've said this before, and I'll say it again - work the hips and thighs, and you literally work the entire body. That is where your body's core strength resides, and that is literally the most important part of your body to work out. See Fast and Furious Fitness for more on this.
Second, climbing hills literally FORCES you to breathe deeply, even if you don't want to or don't know "how" to - you simply have no choice BUT to breathe deeply if you want to get up that hill. And whats even better is that working the thighs heavily (the largest muscle group in your body) NATURALLY makes you want to breathe deeply; and this effect is only amplified once you go up a steep incline or a hill.
Third, that deep breathing is really the key to the "high" I'm referring to - it literally purges your body of all toxins, and gives you a clear head in no time at all (especially in cooler weather). And that's not the only benefit - this deep breathing works the upper body big time as well. More on this later.
So, those are a few reasons - but what did I do to amplify this effect to the extent I'm referring to today?
Well, simple - I focused on my breathing.
That's right - that's all I did. I normally try and focus on my breathing anyway when exercising, but I made an extra attempt today, and the results have been nothing short of spectacular.
I made sure to breathe in and out through the nose in a controlled manner even when I was out of breath - instead of "puffing" up the hill like a locomotive would. Sure, there are times this can be hard to do - it's very hard to remember to breathe right when even getting air into your lungs seems like a Herculean task, but the benefits are well worth it.
I also made sure to breathe in from my abdomen, letting my abdomen expand and collapse on each inhale/exhale - which is how we should be breathing in our daily lives anyway. I've written about this before - watch an infant breathe, and you'll see how we were MEANT to breathe as opposed to the "shallow" breathing most adults practice.
This deep breathing, combined with my usual habit of taking the steps two at a time literally worked like a charm - and like I said, I'm still feeling the "buzz" long after I've finished my routine. And this feeling lasts the entire day - can one say the same about a runner's high? Or a caffeine high? Or a tobacco fix?
Not really - at least not in my opinion - and that is what makes the climber's high so special to me!
Anyway, that's the news for today. If you have a steep hill or two nearby, make sure to climb that sucker as part of your workout - and make sure you focus on your breathing while doing so - the results will literally astound you.
Back again soon!
P.S. : - No hill nearby? No problemo, amigo - I have several routines for ya in Fast and Furious Fitness that'll get the blood pumping just as well: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Those of you that have been following my daily emails and blog posts know by now that my #1 weapon for getting into kick butt shape - and FAST, at that - is a long, steep hill which I used to climb daily in China many years ago in a different life.
At the risk of repeating myself, that hill is one of the very, very best things that ever happened to me in terms of health and fitness. I actually "discovered" it by "accident" (long story there), but once I did - there was no looking back.
Quoting from my book:
"Climbing hills is one of my all time favorite workouts. In a previous Chapter I spoke about my training in China, when my workout consisted for climbing a hill followed by a bodyweight routine. I used to live near a hill which was about 10 minutes walk away from my home. This hill was pretty steep, and took about 25 minutes to climb at a reasonable pace. There were many routes up this hill, some with steps, and some without. I usually chose the route with steps on the way up, and the slope without any steps when on the way down; this gave me the best workout, as I worked my thighs heavily going up, and stretched my hamstrings out thoroughly coming down. I used to exercise mostly in hot humid weather, and used to be soaked in sweat by the end of the climb – and this was before I had even got to my bodyweight routine. It didn’t matter if it was winter and cold as heck; I used to work up a sweat anyway when I climbed. Now that’s some serious cardiovascular exercise there! "
Great, great stuff - and lest you believe that these sort of hill climbs are tough only for the unfit and uninitiated, well, THINK AGAIN - this hill will make you feel it in no time regardless of your current fitness levels.
Anyway, there's plenty more where that comes from, and you can read all about my hill climbs and the associated benefits by getting Fast and Furious Fitness here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book - but that isn't the topic of today's email.
No, what I want to do today is to actually SHOW you what this particular hill looks like. This is something I've been wanting to do for a long, long time, but couldn't because I didn't have the actual pictures I took back in 2005 - but I'm back in China for the immediate nonce at least, and I've taken these pictures myself during my very first day in China. Made it straight to the hill after very little sleep and a 7+ hour flight (and more travel) over - and that in itself should tell you I let very little get in the way of my hill climbs!
These pictures can be seen right here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/the-hill. Those of you that have "friended" me on Facebook have already seen these updates, but I figured I'd put it on my site for the rest of you as well.
Anyway, it's been a goal of mine for a very long time, but it's only been a month or so since I used some visualization (something I speak very highly of and in detail in Fast and Furious Fitness) and other techniques to make this goal a reality. And I'll tell you this, my friend - when you have a goal - and truly set about conquering it - there "ain't" nothing in tarnation that can stop you from achieving it, provided you go about things the right way.
Dreams CAN, and DO come true - we just have to BELIEVE.
I should know - obstacles were thrown up at EVERY step along my last odyessy. Obstacles that we'd normally never have thought we could overcome - but overcome them we did, even though we were stupefied at HOW some of the issues got resolved. I'll be writing more on this later - in fact, I'm working on a new and related product on achieving one's goals (fitness, life, anywhere) so stay tuned on that one.
Anyway, that's the update for today, and those are the photographs. Back to regular programming again soon - stay tuned for details on some lung busting climbs and associated workouts from China!
P.S. #1: I usually post most photos on Facebook first - and you can find me on Facebook right here: - https://www.facebook.com/rahul.mookerjee
P.S #2: - Dreams are great, but they are only half the battle won. Action is of paramount importance, and if you dream of being supremely fit and healthy, then the first thing you need to do is take action - by grabbing a copy of Fast and Furious Fitness right HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
'Tis a common refrain these days amongst most parents, especially in the bigger cities, where obesity rates amongst children (very young children, at that) is rising at a shocking pace.
Parents often "try" and get their children to exercise, or incorporate some sort of physical activity in their lives to counter this - but more often that not, these efforts are in vain. And those of you that have tried to get a recalcitrant kid up for that 5AM swim, or 7AM jog know just how it feels.
(Side note: The "5AM swim" part brings back many a pleasant memory of me going swimming in a largish man made lake at exactly that time during summer vacations with my 77 (at the time) year old grandfather - great, great stuff, and if HE could do it at that age and then put in a full day of work - well - we ALL can!)
Anyway, most end up blaming the Internet, Iphones, TV, and various other gadgets that have infiltrated our lives for their kids inactivity. Some put it down to an unhealthy diet. And yet others say that it's impossible to follow an ideal diet these days with most of everything you buy at the being stuffed full of unhealthy growth hormones and chemicals.
All true to a degree - but guess whose the mail culprit here?
Yes, you heard that right - it's parents that are ultimately to blame for their kids not incorporating movement into their daily lives.
Why do I say this?
Well, first off, kids (especially infants and toddlers) LOVE to move around. Ever seen a 1 year old sit still for hours in front of the computer - I bet not - and thats not because we force them to move - it's because movement comes NATURALLY to them.
But, at the same time, guess how little kids "learn"?
Yes, you got that right - by watching others - and those others are most likely to be their parents, since parents spend the most amount of time with their children (or they should, at any rate). And if the average parents daily exercise routine consists of plopping his or her backside into a couch and performing "pretezel" curls with a bag of chips or whatever other junk comes to hand, guess what the kid is going to learn?
The very same thing. His instincts will urge him to fight against this slothfulness for a good few months, but they'll eventually lose out - and what was a healthy, naturally active kid starts turning into "Tubby" in no time at all.
Not good - and at that point we have parents literally forcing their kids to get up and move, which further puts them off exercise.
Not good at all.
And the funny part is, kids do NOT need to be forced into moving around. If they see you moving around, they'll naturally try to follow you. If they see you going for a hill climb every morning, chances are THEY will gladly follow you up that very hill themselves - and complain if you don't allow them to. Ditto for other physical activities.
And whats more - they'll be HAPPY for doing so. I know this for a fact - my little girl is never happier than when allowed to freely move her arms and legs about, and she has a huge smile on her face while doing so.
More importantly, this sort of movements is what "toughens" kids up for more demanding physical activity at a later stage - and also speeds up the development process immensely. I'll cite another example here - I often try and get my baby girl to "stand" on my chest. Now, being she's just two months old she obviously doesnt have the strength to stand on her own, so I put my hands under her armpits, position her feet on my chest, and then allow her to try and "stand".
This usually used to result in her flailing her legs around without control - but over the last two weeks or so, something remarkable has happened - my little girl is actually RESISTING the force of gravity towards my chest.
That's right - I can actually feel her little muscles beginning to work as she tries to "climb" up Daddy's chest.
Now, do you think I'll have any trouble convincing her to go for that daily hill climb - or swim - or pushups, for that matter?
I don't think so - and neither will YOU, my friend, if you lead by example in front of your kids.
Lead a slothful life, and chances are your kids will turn into couch potatoes before you know it.
Lead a healthy and active life, and your children will naturally gravitate towards doing the same.
It's that simple - and if you don't believe me, well, I have this to say to you - TRY IT, and then come back to me!
Anyway, that's it for me today. Back later with another report on how my baby girl "sits" on my back while doing pushups - that one's a story in itself!