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
Despite the importance of a strong and reliable grip, training the grip is usually the last thing on most trainee's minds. Most folks would rather train their chest, back, and other larger muscles and not really focus on grip work except for whatever work the forearms and fingers get from performing exercises for these larger body parts.
And I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing - training the larger muscles of the body is always good, and yes, the grip does get worked quite a bit on exercises that target the chest and back - but always remember, a chain is only as strongest as it's weakest link, and if your grip is that link, well, some focused grip work won't hurt.
Anyhow, I discuss that in detail in Fast and Furious Fitness, but today's email is about balanced grip training, so lets get back on topic for now.
When we talk about "grip training", most folks instantly associate it with training the fingers to "close" powerfully around a said object. So you could be training for a firm/crushing handshake, or perhaps to improve your pull-ups by gripping the bar firmer. Those are great, but there's a missing link here - that being the muscles that do the opposite i.e. "open" your fingers.
To put this in perspective (of sorts), a crocodile has one of the most powerful bites in the entire animal kingdom. More than a grizzly bear, more than a hyena, or even shark - but tie a croc up and hold it's closed mouth with a normal grip - and it won't be able to open that massive jaw until you let it.
Sounds amazing, but it's true, the croc's jaw muscles bite down with immense force, but are unable to exert any tangible force the other way around.
Now, how does this relate to humans? I'm certainly not asking you to mess around with wild crocodiles, but what I'm saying is that we have something similar going on with our "gripping" muscles as well - those being the muscles (and tendons) in our forearms, fingers, wrist and even palm.
And the way you train these muscles is by focusing on training the FINGERS, rather than grip. One way is to do fingertip pushups - I did these at the end of my pull-up routine today, and I'm feeling a "sore to the bone" feeling in my forearms - different from what pull-ups or other tough grip work feels like.
Not necessarily "better" or "more effective" - but definitely DIFFERENT - and definitely another way of training your gripping muscles in another direction. You don't want to have a weak link anywhere, and balancing your grip training out is important for this very reason.
Additionally, strengthening yourself in one direction will automatically lead to strength gains in your other grip work - try it out yourself if you don't believe me! This holds true for other body parts as well, and the grip muscles are no different in this regard.
So thats the tip for today - back again later.
P.S.: If your looking to develop gorialla like claws and gripping power, the first thing you need to lay your mitts on is Fast and Furious Fitness: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
The subject line of today's email might seem a bit strange, but it's really not when you think about it.
I'll get straight to the meat of the matter here - obesity has become a huge, huge problem the world over - and even folks that exercise regularly aren't immune from the "bulging belly" syndrome at times. You rarely, if ever see a naturally flat stomach any longer on folks (and no, the "roid" crazed monsters at the gym don't count), and that's not good for reasons you are already aware of.
Just last night, I read about Australia being one of the fattest countries in the world - and that had me floored big time - I was always under the impression that Australians with their outdoor oriented lifestyles were amongst the fittest in the world - and I guess I was right - emphasis on the word "WERE". No longer, it seems.
There are many reasons behind this, an improper diet being the main reason, followed closely by lack of exercise. Stress is a factor too, as is food pumped full of chemicals and hormones that get your body's natural fat burning tendency out of wack.
Not good - but what can one DO about it?
Well, exercise hard, you'd say, right? And you're right - but the thing is, not ALL exercise is equally effective at "roasting the pork" right off your body and this holds true for all exercises, be they weights-based or body-weight only.
You often see folks working out on stationery bikes for hours hoping to 'tone the midsection up'. You often see folks doing crunch after crunch (which by the way is an utterly useless exercise if there ever was one) in an attempt to get the "six pack" to show, but all they end up with is a sore neck and lower back from the exercise.
And while those aren't exercises I advocate anyway, the truth is that even GOOD exercises at times won't be 100% effective in burning fat the way you want to, especially around the midsection. Take pushups for an instance - super cardio workout for the overall body, and while they do good in terms of reducing overall fat, promoting strength and fitness and the such, they still aren't the best way to lose fat around the midsection.
So, what IS the best way, then?
Well, to put it simply - exercises that literally "shake" the fat up. Yes, I mean those annoying exercises that get your tummy bouncing up and down in a most uncomfortable fashion as opposed to sitting comfortably on that exercise bike. . .
Exercises which literally shake your core "inside out" if that makes any sense - and have you breathless within a minute or less. In fact, when you first start you'd be lucky to get even 25 seconds without collapsing on a particular exercise - and thats the honest truth.
One example of this would be to simply "walk" (or march) in place while swinging the arms and bringing the knees as close to the chest as you can with each rep. Doesn't sound like much I know, but there's a good reason this exercise is practiced in the military, and those of you with bulging waistlines will start feeling the "heat" very soon indeed if you do this right.
You'll feel uncomfortable, the sweat will start to trickle, and then pour off you in a torrent. Your stomach will literally feel like it's been turned inside out - and those of you that are constipated might feel the "urge to go" as well, hehe (and no, I'm NOT kidding on that one!). And remember this is just one movement - there are many, many more that can be done here.
Anyway, I plan on putting these movements all together into a new "core routine" book - stay tuned on that one.
And just why do these exercises work so well, you ask?
Well, I'm not going to get into all the reasons in this email - but for one, because they force the body to use the "subcutaneous" fat as opposed to the fat you can "see" on your body. That means the fat inside of you which envelops your internal organs and is an open invitation to heart disease. Most folks have more of this type of fat than they should which is NOT good - but the good news is that this fat is usually also the first to disappear when you start a solid exercise routine.
Second, shaking the lard up and down is uncomfortable as heck, but it's the closest thing you can get to "spot reducing" fat on your body. Ever seen a hula dancer with a fat backside? Or a belly dancer with a protruding belly? I bet not - continuously working a particular area of the body vigorously not only strengthens and builds muscles, but also reduces that unsightly LARD.
The old timers said it best i.e. "fat can only accumulate on that part of the body where there is the least movement" - and I couldn't agree more.
So whether you are looking to shed that last bit of belly fat, or just starting out, remember to always choose exercises that really make the body MOVE vigorously - and this holds especially true if your trying to reduce fat around the core/abdominal region!
All for now - try this little tip, and let me know how it works out for you!
PS: While waiting on the book with the new core routines, you might want to get started on Fast and Furious Fitness to lay a solid foundation for the tougher exercises: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
As regular readers no doubt know by now, one of the highlights of very enjoyable stint in China a few years back was my evening (usually) climbs up a long, steep hill about 10 minutes or so from my apartment complex. Got me in the very best shape of my life in terms of cardio and "skinfold" measurements (if you care about that kind of thing - I don't to be honest), and I miss it even today.
I generally used to climb in one of my old, white, threadbare T-shirts - they were more like thin "exercise vests" to be honest - and they worked GREAT in the heat and humidity of China. Of course, that doesn't mean I wasn't soaked in sweat by the time my climb was over, but a thin T-shirt at least made the heat more bearable.
A lot of you have asked me for pictures of that hill - and while I don't have any of me climbing that particular hill (I didn't have a website at the time, and didn't really think of taking photos), I did manage to find some pictures of the hill on the Internet, which I'll be sharing in future posts. Stay tuned on that one.
Anyhow, being I can be somewhat sentimental at times about "old memories", I never threw away those old T-shirts. Fast forward a few years, and Mrs. Rahul Mookerjee almost whacks me on the head when she saw them. Like, "Can't you at least buy some decent T-shirts??"
Hey, what I can say - ladies can be that way - but we workout fanatics (different from "gym bunnies" or "beach boys") have our own preferences as well, hehe. The older the shirt, the better it gets, at least in terms of getting a workout in - and that's how I've always felt.
Anyway, we were doing some spring cleaning the other day, and out pops one of those very T-shirts.
"Let's put it in the laundry, I'd love to wear that again", I said.
"Wear what??", says my wife, looking at me as if she didn't have a clue - which of course she did.
"Those", I said. "They'll bring back a lot of good memories!".
So we wash them, and I try them on today after my post-workout shower.
And what do I find out??
Well, it's hard to explain - but have you ever tried stuffing a full grown grizzly bear into a medium size T-shirt? It ain't easy to do for sure, and whats more, it ain't pretty - long story short, I almost tore the shoulder right off my beloved T-shirt.
I'm amazed I could wear it back then without any problems - but I've gotten a LOT thicker through the arms, shoulders and upper back since then - and thats all courtesy the Fast and Furious routines I follow on a regular basis. Of course, my "Shoulders like Boulders" routines don't hurt either - I routinely discard shirts that I bought just a few months back, mostly because I can no longer get my arms through them.
So you see, this stuff really, really WORKS.
It works better than lifting weights that are so heavy you end up injuring yourself and put yourself out of the "game" for ages.
It works better than wasting time idling on the pec deck checking out the latest hot mamas walking by.
And it "showl" works better than sitting on your arse and doing nothing at all except beer curls and pretezel pops, hehe.
Give it a try, and you'll find yourself exploding out of your shirts in no time as well!
P.S.: While you may need to buy new shirts, rest assured you'll save a ton of buckeroonies on new pants - you'll fit into all the old ones you haven't worn for years once you get on the routines mentioned in Fast and Furious Fitness: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
P.S. #2: - If your interested in building grizzly like strength and power in your shoulders, don't forget to check out Shoulders like Boulders right HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/87-shoulders-like-boulders
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
I was bushed (to say the least) after yesterday's stair climbing workout.In fact, one of my first thought upon getting back home that evening was "I must have dropped at least half a kilogram of weight this afternoon with all that I did". And it wasn't just me thinking that - my body was actually "telling" me this. Those of you that participate in competitive sports out in the heat will know exactly what I mean here.
Got up this morning and headed straight for the weighing scales, and what I saw shocked me, to say the least - yesterday's adventures left me a total of THREE kilograms lighter.
THREE kilograms - that is 6.6 lbs for those of you not versed in the metric scale.
And all in ONE afternoon??
I couldn't believe it - rubbed my eyes, and stood on the scale again, but there it was. Numbers don't lie - and my body was telling me something similar yesterday anyway, so I finally accepted it.
Now, some of you might think this is because I'm dehydrated to the bone - but you'd be wrong if you thought so. I am NOT dehydrated - I drink about 12-14 large glasses of water on a daily basis, and made sure to "drink up" as soon as I got home.
I currently weight about 85 kgs or so, a good 12-13 kgs over my "fighting" weight in China (around 72 kgs), but that was with a daily hill climb - and not as many of the Fast and Furious exercises as I do now. One can only wonder at how much I'd have weighed back then if I combined the hill with a lot of Fast and Furious routines, hehe.
Anyway, this is NOT to say that those of you that have been spending years lazing on the couch with your only exercise being beer curls or pizza chomps can jump straight up and start pounding up flights of stairs in extremely humid weather - NO. That is not what I recommend - build up to it - and even after you do so, your results might not be as drastic as mine are. Remember, if there's one form of exercise my body responds to BEST, it's climbing steep hills - or stairs - and that is pretty much what happened.
And last, but not least, for those that might think "oh, he drops weight pretty easily" - uh, no - I don't drop excess flabbage all that easily. In fact, Mother Nature has been pretty stingy with the good genetics when it comes to me (at least physical genetics) - I'm prone to packing on the pounds around my hips, waist and chest pretty easily even without overeating - so I actually need a lot MORE exercise than a lot of other folks (including couch potatoes) might.
But it does go to say that if I can knock weight off when I want to, so can YOU.
If I can do pull-ups in sets of 5 - well, so can YOU!
If I can will myself to use EVERY opportunity I have to get fit - well, so can YOU, my friend.
Obesity (and not just regular "fat around the stomach" - I'm talking seriously obese) is a HUGE problem where I'm at - and I see this every time I travel in the subway, and I wonder what would happen if these folks actually bothered to get off their smartphones and CLIMB for a change - rather than hanging to the escalator railings with a sour face looking on at me as I take the stairs two at a time.
But no, that doesn't happen does it.
We have folks whining about their "busy lifestyle", and "workloads at the office". We hear them whinging about their gym memberships which never seem to benefit them, yet they never cancel 'em. And so forth.
Now, if your one of the lot that "thinks it's silly" to pound up the stairs every time you see some, well, I can't force you to change yourself. If you still believe that you need to spend hours on the treadmill and pec deck, well, have at, my friend - you won't hear many complaints from me.
But if you understand what I'm saying in this note - and truly agree with me from the bottom of your heart, well, then I salute you - not simply for having the courage to do something different and improve your life - but also for having the will power and self-discipline to tell yourself that no barrier is insurmountable - and for having the cojones to throw away any and all excuses that might stand in the way of you getting the body you DESERVE!
And there it is - NO EXCUSES, period. That's really all there is to it.
Onward and upward,
PS: I'm enjoying a well earned rest today, but those of you looking to drop the excuses - along with some flab - might want to check out Fast and Furious Fitness: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
So goes the saying in many of the major subway stations in the world - including the subway in the city I live in.
I had to travel to a different city today for work - a city that, while falling under a different administration is connected to the main city (mine) via an above ground(in most places) subway. It wasn't a scheduled workout day for me, and yet I got a pretty decent workout in simply by using the subway, and - yes, you guessed it - taking the STAIRS instead of the escalators.
The average height of the above ground parts of the subway here is between 15-19 meters above ground, which is a pretty decent climb, especially if done repeatedly, and especially if one takes the stairs from underground all the way to the top. Trust me, a few rounds of this and you WILL feel it, regardless of the shape your currently in. YOW!
Those who follow my emails regularly know that I used to climb a hill daily in China a few years back - and that one routine was enough to get me in the VERY BEST shape of my life. There are no hills here where I live, and the subway stairs are the closest thing I have to hills, so I make full use of them.
And I sure did that well today - I had to change three trains to get to where I was going, and ditto for the way back - which meant four solid climbs in all - not bad at all. These climbs weren't quite the hill climbs I used to partake of on a daily basis in China, but they still got the heart pumping, blood flowing and sweat pouring like nothing else.
Nothing quite beats the feeling of "sore and tired" muscles and "overall fatigue" (in a good way!) after climbing a hill and the same can probably be said of climbing steep stairs repeatedly. Nothing, I repeat, nothing compares to the "wobbly" feeling in one's thighs after a particularly hard climb. I'm even feeling it in my upper back and shoulders as I type this - and it's a great, great, feeling to have.
What's really amazing is most folks ignore this simple and effective "tool" that's staring them right in the face daily, and that requires absolute no extra expense to use. I saw rows and rows of tired looking, bent over, exhausted "professionals" with their laptops slouching along on the escalators as I took the steps two at a time - and these, my friend are the very people that carp on and on about not having the time to get fit, requiring the latest fancy machines to exercises on, gym memberships, and so forth.
All nonsense - just think of how good these people would actually FEEL if they simply took the time to climb some stairs on a daily basis - and think of the benefits this would have on their overall fitness levels.
Anyway, yours truly showed up soaked in sweat for his meeting today, which was on the third floor of a building. The elevator was the first thing that stared me in the face here, but needless to say I ignored it, and made a beeline for the stairs.
Might sound strange to the general majority out there - but I wouldn't trade this "strange behavior" for anything in the world!
Anyway, moral of the story is - use the stairs regularly, and stay fit. And if you can find a long, steep hill to climb daily - that's even better! It's a simple and time-tested theory - that has, most importantly, been proven to WORK - and it will work for YOU as well!
PS: For more such simple tips that you can use in your daily training, grab a copy of Fast and Furious Fitness here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Woke up bright and early today around 10:30AM, hehe, and dove straight into some emails that were waiting for me. Took care of some business related stuff, and then plunged into my workout for the day.
And as you might imagine from the subject, it was a short, sweet and brutally effective routine - consisting of ONLY three exercises - three exercises which gave me a solid overall body workout.
So, what DID I do today?
Jumping jacks, handstand pushups and pull-ups - all within a 40 minute time frame and that was IT.
No "special" movements for the core (certainly no crunches, which I despise).
No routines to "bomb" the pectorals.
Nothing to "pump up" the forearms.
No sets of 100X5 on a leg extension machine to "blitz" the lower legs (and yes, I've actually seen such routines advertised in magazines!)
None of that silliness.
Just 350 jumping jacks, 30 handstand pushups and 20 pullups - and I was FRIED by the end of it.
I made sure to do the handstand pushups in sets of 5, but that got tougher around rep#15 - my 5 second pause at end of each handstand pushups was probably to "blame". Nothing quite recruits the "inner" muscle fibers of the chest and shoulders quite as well as doing this!
(Note: These pauses are advanced movements - so do NOT attempt to do these unless you've gotten proficient at the actual exercises - you'll only fall over and hurt yourself - or worse. It's a great goal to shoot for, though!)
For the pull-ups, I tried pulling myself up so that my lower chest touched the bar a.k.a "sternum" pull-ups. I don't do these quite often, so they were HARD - needless to say I was dripping sweat by the end of it all.
Threw in a few dips to finish my routine off, and that, my friend, was THAT. Came home, stretched a little, and I'm writing to you now - and I feel on top of the world and ready for the rest of my day.
And thats how workouts should be. Short, sweet, but brutally effective. You don't need much at all in the way of equipment to "git 'er done" as you can see - all you really need is a will power, and discipline in heaping measures - and you're good to go!
Sure beats sitting on the couch feeling bloated and hungover after that Sunday night bash. . .!
All for now!
PS: My new course Shoulders like Boulders teaches you how to go from ZERO handstand pushups to many, many more - along with pauses - click on over to reserve your copy PRONTO: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/87-shoulders-like-boulders
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