Workout Monday Aug 4

Minamalist Exercising

Good workout this week that left me sore, but in a good way. I know that it worked, especially in the abs.

Several supersets. I like these because they are efficient timewise, intense, get the heart rate up and boost metabolism. All were done with 60 seconds of rest in between circuits.

SS1 – Pullups/Dips/V-Situps – I did three circuits with 15, 12, 10 reps

SS2 – Pullovers and Hanging Leg Raises – Three circuits with 15, 12, 10 reps

SS3 – DB Rows/Kickbacks and Side Planks – Three circuits with 15, 12, 10 reps for the rows/kickbacks and 30 each side for planks

Followed these with three sets of burpees with the same 15, 12, 10 reps

How I Lost Weight Eating Junk

Minamalist Exercising

Yesterday I ate a hot dog, hamburger, and fries for lunch and had pizza, pop and ice cream for dinner and lost two pounds when I stepped on the scale today.

Do I eat this way all the time? No way, but it is great to have a day where you spend time with family and go nuts and not have to worry about it.

How Can I Do This?

I credit eating healthy 90% or more of the time. For me this is cutting out sugar, grains and things that are processed. I eat a ton of meat, eggs and veggies and combine this with periods of fasting for 12-16 hours. For example, today I fasted for 16 hours after my cheat day described above. I knew I would have to do this after yesterday. I had about 3500 calories yesterday and will probably only eat about 1200 calories today.

I also workout almost every day and credit my interval training for keeping my metabolism high.

Here is my Monday workout. I combined chest, back and abs today.

1. Superset of Dumbbell Rows and Dumbbell Press – 4 sets with 15, 12, 10, 8 reps and 45 seconds of rest

2. Superset of Pullups and Flys – 3 sets with 15, 12, 10 reps and 45 seconds of rest

3. Pushups combined with Renegade Rows – 3 sets of 10 with 45 seconds of rest

4. Ball Crunch with Dumbbell – 3 sets of 10 and 45 seconds of rest

This workout was a little easy for me today and I noted in my log to bump up the weights for the next time. I also need to pick up a dumbbell with my feet when I do pullups, as they are getting too easy.

I have to say I was very pleased to step on the scale today and see 146.5 pounds and 11% body fat. I was planning on gaining at least two pounds and ended up losing two. Go figure.

Want to have days like this? If yes, then do something physical every day, eat healthy the majority of the time and quickly make up for it the next day.

Thanks for stopping by.

See you next Monday.

Workout Monday

Minamalist Exercising

Today I worked out Chest, Biceps and Abs. I did three supersets. This was a great workout for all three muscles. I could really feel it in all three areas.

Yesterday I did an interval workout, so I’m going to post both of them today for a bonus.

Superset #1

Pushups and Hammer Curls – I did 15 reps of each and repeated for a total of three supersets, resting 60 seconds.

Superset #2

Incline Dumbbell Press and Dumbbell Curls – I did 12 reps for four supersets, resting 60 seconds

Superset #3

Flys and Bent Over Curls and Seated Twists – 12 reps for the flys and curls but 40 reps for the twists

Interval Training

  • Started with a five minute warmup
  • 45 second sprint and 15 rest, repeated for a total of six intervals, increase the intensity each time
  • Warm down for five minutes

Thanks for checking out “Workout Monday.” Talk to you next week.

The Minimalist Guide to Exercising

Minamalist Exercising

Do you want to simplify your workouts?

There are a number of people who promote things like “lose fat in only 10 minutes” or “six pack abs in three minutes per day”.

Those usually don’t work, but can you simplify your workouts or reduce the amount of time they take AND get great results? I know you can.

[Read more…]

Five Fitness Diets I Tried in 2013 and My 2014 Diet

Do I need a new 2014 diet?

Photo by Alan Cleaver

 

What Worked and What Didn’t and My Search for a Great 2014 Diet

Can anyone in the world come up with a perfect diet? A diet that will help you lose weight, in all the right places – fat no less – gain muscle, tastes great, easy to fix, and not overly expensive?

I know I’ve tried, and have been unsuccessful. My diet in 2013 was one of my few disappointments – one I hope not to repeat with my 2014 diet. While I did lose weight, I lost too much and lost muscle. Instead of looking fit and healthy, I looked sickly. This was not what I was after.

For 2013, I reduced my weight to a low of 139 pounds (at 5’10”) and my body fat percentage was a low of 9.5%. By year-end, I was able to bring my weight up to 146 and keep my body fat around 10.5%.

My goal for a 2014 diet is to bring my weight up to 150-155 pounds and maintain my body fat % close to 10%. And I’d like most of the weight gain to be in muscle in the upper body.

Diets Tried in 2013

1. Man 2.0 by John Romaniello – This was a very good book written by one of the top trainers in the country. He is helping Arnold Schwarzenegger get back in shape too. He has formulas to calculate the number of calories to consume and breaks it down into grams of protein, fat and carbs. The science was well-researched and has been successful for John and his clients. I liked it, but it was too complicated for me to carry out. I don’t want to spend a lot of time during the week crunching numbers. What I did like was use his method of varying calories depending on whether you were working out or not. For me, my daily calories should be around 1800 on non-workout days and 2500 for workout days. Also carbs are kept low on non-workout days.

2. Zero WillPower by Mike Chang – This guy is big on YouTube and he has a great physique. I didn’t like his workouts as they were geared more towards a guy in his 20’s and 30’s (I thought) and too much risk of injury for a guy my age. I stuck with it for the twelve weeks and learned a few things but ultimately decided it was not for me. I did like some of his ideas for diet though. I tried a couple of the intermittent fasting diets (see below) that state that the ‘six small meals a day’ method is old-fashioned, and you need a period during the day to fast. This cuts calories and trains your body to burn off its fat stores by reprogramming your cortisol levels. I think for my needs and life style that the six small meals a day will work better and this is what I will try for 2014. I liked some of Mike’s recipes and his method of using the George Foreman grill (large size) to cook all of his 42 meals for the week (six per day x seven days) all at once and storing in containers that he can heat up as needed. I liked the spices he recommended, especially the McCormick Grill Mates. All of his meals were warm though and required that you have a microwave handy to cook them, or keep them warm in an insulated bag. This was impractical for me.

3. Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon – If losing weight and making it simple is your goal, this is the book to get. Brad’s method involves fasting for a period of time thereby cutting calories over the course of the week. This worked really well for me, but too well. I could not eat enough calories during the small window of time allowed each day. Surprisingly, fasting was only hard the first week or two. It might not be for everyone, as fasting can have effects on you mentally. I fasted 24 hours once per week and sixteen hours on other days. Every other week I did a cheat day and ate whatever I wanted. I also tried the Renegade diet, which is a variation of this diet. Both worked really well for losing weight and were simple to use. If you need to lose more than 20 pounds, and want an easy method to do it, and not have to cut out a lot of the foods you like, this is a great diet to try. You will need discipline and willpower, but it does get easier after one to two weeks.

4. Low Carb – I didn’t follow any one book or person’s diet for this. The theory is to cut as much carbs out of your diet as possible. For me it was cutting down to like 50 grams per day. So no cereal, pasta, rice, bread or white potatoes. Carbs from green veggies like broccoli don’t count towards your totals. Also, all simple carbs like sugar need to be avoided. This was the first diet I tried, and it worked. It is great to get rid of the spare tire, and to shed those final ten pounds of weight off your body. It was too impractical for me to follow every day for an extended period of time. I could see using this for a couple weeks before vacation, or if you were a model/actor and needed to look good for something.

5. Scooby Diet – Scooby is a guy on Youtube who does videos on fitness. His exercises and information are good – his diet, while healthy, is not (at least for me). The diet he recommends scores points for being inexpensive and easy to fix. The taste is not great and you get bored with it quickly. I am not a picky eater, and I could only last two weeks on it. He also uses a lot of beans which wreak havoc on your system. If canned salmon and beans are your all-time favorite foods, this could be the diet for you. I only lasted two weeks. I did like his recommendations for using flavorings (salsa, balsamic vinegar, dried garlic/onion, no salt seasoning), frozen veggies and dried fruits, and shopping at Costco. So it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

My 2014 Diet

I liked bits and pieces of all of the above. So for my 2014 diet I am going to create my own borrowing from all of the above. Here’s my rules:

1. Effective – must allow me to gain muscle and maintain my bodyfat of 10%
2. Easy – I don’t have the time to weigh foods, chop vegetables, cook six meals. My wife and daughter don’t want to follow my diet, so I am on my own.
3. Economical – I require that the diet be easy on the checkbook. I don’t want to spend $400 per month on supplements, or $200 per week on produce and meat.
4. Edible – Life has to be enjoyed. We spend a chunk of our lives eating, and I don’t want to spend that time eating foods that make me nauseous, or give me bad side effects. I also want the flexibility to eat foods I enjoy, but are not necessarily good for me – just not that often.

MY 2014 DIET PLAN

For my 2014 diet, I am going back to six small meals per day. This works better for me. The fasting diets are great to lose weight, but I could not eat enough during my “eating window” to build muscle. I will have an occasional fasting day of 16-24 hours if I notice a gain in body fat, or if I binge the day before.

I wrote to Lean Cuisine last year about suggesting they produce a line of low carb meals. They said they would note my suggestion. A year later, and nothing new from them. However, I did see a line of low carb foods from Atkins (yes the same as the Atkins diet). These are frozen meals that consist of a protein source like chicken or beef, with veggies. These are actually quite tasty. They also make protein bars and protein shakes. All are high in protein and low in fat and carbs. I have decided to use these at work and for snacks. They will provide four of my six meals. My first meal of the day on workout days will be rolled oats with protein powder and fat-free yogurt. It takes a little to wolf this down. But it is loaded in protein and really fills you up. The second meal of the day is a new snack I tried that I like. It is a tortilla with almond butter spread on it, and then you roll it up around a banana. This tastes great and it is a healthy snack. This two options are only on workout days. Non-workout days will be protein and veggies only.

My 2014 diet will also incorporate some other recipes I use in the slow cooker, as well as, using my grill in the summer to cook meat with a side of veggies.

So six meals per day that are high in protein, low in fat and carbs and I’ll mix it up a bit now and then with a cheat day and some fasting. This combined with my total body workouts will be my 2014 diet and exercise plan – simple, safe and effective. I will give a quarterly update of how this is working.

Please share your comments for your 2014 diet and what you hope to accomplish.

What New Fitness Routine Will I Try in 2014?

2013 was a great year for my fitness.

I was able to bring my body fat % down to 9.5%. I had a goal to bring it down below 10% and was able to do it. Diet was the key to achieving this goal. I did a combination of low carb and intermittent fasting. See these blog posts for more information LINK1 LINK2 LINK3. I was also able to remain pain and injury free. The key being I shifted to new routines that while still effective, they were geared more towards a guy over 50 rather than someone in their 20’s and 30’s.

While it was great to bring my body fat down, I didn’t reach two of my goals in 2013; six pack abs and to bulk up my upper body. I have a nice development going with my abs but there wasn’t much difference between 9.5% body fat and 11% body fat. And my upper body withered away to where I looked sickly. My weight reached a low of 139 at 5’10”. In December I started eating more, especially around the holidays. My weight came back up to 146 and my abs looked the same. My muscles also felt fuller, not deflated like they did.

So for 2014 my goal is to refine my diet and exercise program and bulk up while staying cut, or becoming more cut.

How will I do this?

I will break this down to two posts; one for exercise and one for diet.

Exercise changes – I will stick to working out at home in 2014 using body-weight and dumbbell exercises. My workouts will focus on the whole body and I will do these three times per week on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. These three days work well with my schedule. On Wednesdays and Fridays I will do cardio interval training. Sunday will be my Ab Blast and Tuesday will be a rest day. I have been using this for two weeks now and my weight has not decreased (good thing) and my body fat % has been in the 10-11% range. Time will tell if I can gain some muscle while keeping my body fat around 10%.

The exercises I use on my total body workouts are varied to shock my muscles and prevent boredom. I use 10-15 exercises per workout; 2-4 exercises for the large muscles (chest, back, legs), one exercise for each arm muscle (bicep, tricep, shoulders) and two for abs. Rest is as little as possible and reps are kept in the 10-15 range. For exercises like planks I will do those for 60 seconds. Exercises like pushups and pullups I will do to failure. Here are some of my favorite exercises for each muscle:

Exercises By Muscle Group

Chest
Standard Pushups**
Decline Pushups**
Incline Pushups
Incline DB Press
DB Flys

Back
Chinups**
Pullups**
Bent Over DB Rows**
DB Swings**
DB Woodchops
Band Rows
Supermans
DB Deadlifts

Legs
Body-weight Squats**
DB Squats**
DB Lunges**
Ball Curls
Bench Step ups
Ball Wall Sit

Shoulders
DB Press**
DB Laterals
DB Front Raise
DB Rear Laterals

Triceps
DB Extensions (lying or standing)**
DB Kickbacks**
Bench Dips**
Band Kickbacks
Band Pushdowns
Close Grip Pushups

Biceps
DB Curls**
DB Hammer Curls**
Ball DB Preacher Curls
DB Concentration Curls

Abs
Planks**
Side Planks**
Roller Wheel**
Leg Raises from Chinup Bar**
Double Crunch**
Bicycles**
DB Seated Twist
Band Crunch
Bench Crunch

Cardio Intervals
Exercise Bike**
Running Hills**
Jumping Jacks**
Jump Rope**
Jump Ups**
Bench Step Ups**
Run in Place**
Mountain Climbers**
Burpees (Half and Whole)**
Regular Bike

** Note these are my favorite exercises

Now that I’m over 50, the emphasis is on maintaining my health and staying injury-free. Gone are the days of trying to look like Arnold and the pursuit of 18 inch arms. I want to keep the weight off, maintain the muscle I have and keep it toned. It is far more important to me to not throw out my shoulders or hurt my back then it is to be huge. In a lot of ways I am in better shape now in my 50’s than I was in my 20’s. 2014 will be all about perfecting, or coming close to perfection with, my diet and exercise. I would love to hear from anyone else over 50 and what routines you do.

Interval Training

Running up that hill

Photo by: Jeremy Keith

Interval Training

One of my most favorite workouts is actually one of my toughest.

I did interval training workouts when I ran track and cross-country in high school, but I hated them. Your breathing was so hard you felt like you were breathing fire out of your mouth. Every part of your body ached and you were physically shot the rest of the day.

Yet I tried them again last year and found I liked it.

What changed?

Well it wasn’t just one thing. I found several benefits. The biggest being able to have the same effects in 20 minutes that someone who jogs for an hour or more. And I only do it once a week instead of three or more times per week when I would jog.

What is interval training?

Interval training is where you have short bursts of intense activity followed by rest or lower intensity activity. You can do this with running, cycling, jumping jacks, jump rope, burpees, mountain climbers…

Many people do it using the Tabata technique which is where you do a burst for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. You do this cycle eight times, so it only takes you four minutes (20 sec + 10 sec = 30 sec x 8). Per WebMD, you burn more calories with this method than if you were to go at a steady pace. Here is a link to Mark’s Daily Apple which also explains interval training.
LINK

You can actually do it with different timing intervals. My bursts last 20-30 seconds followed by a rest of around 60 seconds. I run up a hill and gradually pick up the intensity and then walk back down to my starting position. By the time I get to my eighth one I am dripping sweat and breathing hard. I always do mine on Fridays at a forest preserve close to my home. Saturday is my binge day for eating, so I’ve found that doing my interval training the day before helps me burn the calories better. It is fun to eat like crazy on Saturday; ice cream, hotdogs, Chipotle…and weigh myself on Sunday and see my weight exactly the same. I credit a lot of this to the interval training. My metabolism is ramped up all week.

My Interval Training Workout

interval_training

I listed all of the benefits I’ve found. The only con I would say is it is probably advanced. If you haven’t exercised in a while or have only jogged lightly, I would not recommend this without seeing your doctor first.

Benefits

    1. I only do one run a week and it is my interval training.
    2. It is the only thing I do physical that day.
    3. I run about 100 yards up hill at the forest preserve down the street from me.
    4. The surroundings are beautiful.
    5. It completely relaxes me.
    6. It is such an effective workout. Doing this once per week, combined with my workouts and diet has kept the fat off me.
    7. My metabolism stays high all week.
    8. I have more energy.
    9. It feels good to sprint like a kid again. I haven’t done it in years.

If you can’t do this right from the start, then just try say three intervals where you pick up the intensity just a bit. Then gradually add more. You don’t need to do more than eight. Not that eight is a magic number, but six to eight are effective at getting results, so why do more.

Combine this with your regular diet and exercise program and see if you have the same results that I have found.

Please above all else, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise/diet program. You don’t want to start off your program with a heart attack.

Links to other Fitness Posts

Beginning Exercise Plan for Guys over 50

Can a Guy Over 50 Have a Six Pack?

Quest for a Six Pack

Quest for a Six Pack

Diet Phase Two

The Quest for a Six Pack – One Diet to Rule Them All

I spent July, 2012 to March, 2013 on a low-carb diet. My initial results were great, but I lost the bulk of the weight/inches in the first month. The downside was not much further progress, crankiness and low energy. I decided it was time to tweak the diet.

I have been reading and using the information in a book called “Man 2.0 Engineering the Alpha” by John Romaniello Non-Affiliate Link . I wasn’t crazy about the exercise portion of the book. It seemed to be more geared towards a younger guy. The diet portion of the book was terrific though. I would recommend any male purchase this book. This is the guy Arnold is using to get back in shape after letting himself go. Well worth the price.

I decided to use portions of this diet with portions of other things I’ve learned to create a “hybrid” of all of them. I’ve been using it since April, 2013. The results have been very good. I have been keeping my weight steady while shrinking my body fat percentage. I’d rather increase my upper body muscle mass than holding steady, but I will leave that to phase three.

During phase one of my diet my body fat percentage “plateaued” in the range of 11.5% to 12.5%. I found body fat to be like your auto speed on a highway. It is hard to keep at one number. You drive in a range and avoid the extremes.

My goal is to get down to a range of 8.5% to 9.5%. As of today (June 23) I have kept my body fat in the range of 10% – 11%, so down about 1.5% in about twelve weeks.

My abs are really starting to come into view now. It is weird how my right half of the abdominals are very cut and the left side is barely cut. I also have no spare tire any more.

Ok here are the specifics.

I figured out the calories I need just to maintain my weight. I used 17 calories x my lean body mass (total weight less my body fat). This came out to be around 2300 calories. Then on workout days I eat a little more (2500) and non-workout days I eat a little less (1800 calories). This varies depending on your current body fat percentage. The book details what you should use.

I use the low-carb diet on non-workout days. Veggies are ok, but no bad carbs like sugar, white flour…I try to limit fruit and potatoes, carrots on these days. Workout days, however, I have added back carbs. I eat sweet potatoes and red potatoes with my dinner and put a banana in my protein shake.

I use intermittent fasting throughout the week. This is a method where you divide up your eating into two periods; fasting and eating. This was popularized by guy named Martin Berkhan. Others have also used variations of it with the Warrior diet , and Brad Pilon’s “Eat, Stop, Eat”.

I fast for sixteen hours a day and eat for eight hours a day. This involves no snacking after dinner and skipping breakfast and eating a late lunch. My fast hours are from 9p to 1p.

On every other Saturday I have a binge day and eat whatever I want, however much I want. Yesterday for example I ate ceral, three hotdogs, a strawberry shake, a chicken burrito, a pint of ice cream, a bag of cookies and two beers. When I woke up today I had not gained a single pound. The bad side of this is on Sundays after a binge I fast for the whole day.

Typical meals for me our:

1. Six eggs with bacon and veggies
2. Chicken breast/tuna with avocado and lettuce/tomato
3. Steak, Pork or Hamburger with potato
4. Snacks of almonds, apple or cashews

Yes it is kind of boring and requires a lot of discipline initially, but the binge day really does make up for it. And the results have been great. A 1.5% drop in body fat in twelve weeks. I would guess I will be at my goal of 8.5% to 9.5% by the end of this summer, or about 22 weeks total. Could I have gotten my body fat below 10% much quicker? Possibly, but I think the methods would have been more drastic. I am going for simple, safe and steady…the three S’s!

Example Meals

Breakfast

Protein shake or scrambled eggs/omlet with veggies

Lunch

Tuna with light mayo on a bed of lettuce, or chicken breast and avocado over a bed of lettuce with oil and vinegar dressing

Dinner

Steak, Hamburger (no bun), Pork Chop, Chicken, Pork Tenderloin and Frozen Veggies.

Snacks

Raw Almonds, Almond Butter, Apple or Protein Shake

For chicken, I was getting the cooked, whole chickens from the grocery store for about $7 each. Then I found them at Costco for $5 each. This was actually cheaper than buying one frozen and cooking it myself. There is something manly about eating a whole chicken and leaving nothing but a carcass…reminds me of the three stooges. An even better method (for me) for chicken was going to the deli section of our grocery store and finding out that they take the whole, cooked chickens that don’t sell and pull the meat off and sell it…no bones or skin. It is expensive $4.99/lb, but oh so convenient to just add that to a salad. If your store doesn’t offer it ask them to try it out.

Can a Guy Over 50 Have a Six Pack?

Diet1

Almost a year ago, I embarked on a journey to improve my health and fitness. This was needed after a long layoff due to a neck injury that ballooned my waist to 35 inches, and left me out of shape.

I needed a diet and exercise program that was safe, effective and able to be done at home with minimal equipment and expense. My results were better than expected and I continue to tweak my program for even better results.

In my last blog I went over the exercise portion I did during phase one. For this post, I would like to cover my diet changes. I am guessing that the diet portion is about 80% of reason you will lose weight. For exercise, you could get by with walking about two-three hours per week. Say 20 minutes per night for six days and one day take a nice 30-60 minute walk. Bring your tunes and get some thinking done.

My goal with the diet was to not only feel good, but to get my waist back to what it was in college and shrink my body fat % to 12% during phase one and below 10% in phase two. I wanted to see if a guy over 50 could actually develop a six pack without starvation, $500 a month in supplements, expensive diets, joining a health club or hiring a fitness trainer.

Most guys have picked up a copy of a Men’s Fitness magazine with a cover story on “how to get six pack abs.” Nothing says a guy is in shape like a cut mid-section. Have you tried the recommended workouts and come out with nothing but a little muscle soreness? I have and you feel like it is impossible or people must cheat somehow to get them.

I have never been really over weight by much, but even at 150 pounds I could only see a vague outline of an abdominal region. The worst part is that every year it seemed like it was even harder to get there. You hear about the pull of gravity, and the inevitable spare-tire that comes with getting old. I didn’t want to give up. Here’s a link LINK to a site showing the various body fat % levels. Getting below 10% is where you get to the “excellent” level – the level where you can really see your abs well. My endeavor has had two phases. I will do each in separate blog posts. Here is my phase one.

Phase One

Phase one was all about getting rid of the easy fat, improving what I was eating and cutting out a lot of carbs. I can’t say I was good 100% of the time, but I was fairly disciplined from July-September, 2012 with my eating (about twelve weeks).

Cutting out carbs (or I should say cutting down on carbs) was very difficult for me. Some things like cereal were not bad. Pizza and buns were a tough give up. I gave up eating pasta, breads, cereals, sweets and rice. I kept potatoes, green vegetables and some fruit. Every meal consisted of a protein source and a veggie or two.

I did not want to do a lot of calorie counting, nor spend a lot of time doing food prep. I’ve done that before and it just adds to diet dread. Also my family was not going to go on the diet with me, so I was on my own for cooking.

I decided to at least track what I was eating for the first couple of weeks as I didn’t have a clue what my totals were. I used an Iphone app called “MyFitness Pal” to track what I ate. It has a large database of food items you can look up or you can just scan the bar code of the can or box with your Iphone and it will automatically enter the totals for you…simple. After a few weeks of using this I was able guess pretty closely what I was eating as far as protein, fat, carbs, and calories. The proof is in the pudding, or in not eating the pudding. If you’re losing weight or inches, you’re doing something right. If not, you’re doing something wrong, so cut some more calories or carb grams and try again.

I only ate three meals per day and tried to keep my carbs between 25 grams and 75 grams per day. Believe me the grams add up fast and the first couple of weeks are rough. You become irritable and it’s hard to sleep, but then you get used to it.

This is what I did for twelve weeks and it brought me down to a 31 inch waist and 12% body fat…pretty easily too. I stayed there until April, 2013 (phase two is moving me lower). The holidays and winter weather were the main contributors to my stagnation.

In my next blog, I will discuss my phase two diet which I have been on since April, 2013. This is the diet I’m hoping to take me below 10% to around 8%. This is where you finally get to see your abs in all their glory.

Beginning Exercise Plan for Guys over 50

Exercise

About this time last year (2012), I was in the worst shape of my life. I had not exercised in months. This was due to an injury to my neck which pinched a nerve down my left arm (see my blog on medical tests). If you combine the lack of exercise with the inactive winter months and the holiday meals, you can understand why I was in such terrible shape. After my neck injury was cured, I vowed to get back in shape. I’ve never really been in bad shape my whole life.

Every journey starts with where you are at and where you want to go. Following that, planning how you’re going to get there, right?

Where I was at:
165 pounds, 35 inch waist, out of shape

Where I wanted to go:
150 pounds, 30 inch waist, six pack abs, 15 inch arms, 40 inch check, 50 inch shoulders, injury/pain-free

Plan
Research diet/exercise for men over 50 that is safe and effective, not over do it, disciplined plan, rest and recovery

Research
Most of the exercise programs I saw were more geared toward someone younger. I wanted something that I could do at home, with minimal equipment and where the risk of injury was close to none. I also figured I would have no trouble with the diet, except for getting my bodyfat down below 10%. That is tough for someone in their twenties and even tougher when you’re over 50.

My research led me to Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple LINK

His exercise plan was short, minimal body-weight exercises performed only 2-3 times per week. The exercises are pushups, pullups, body-weight squats, planks, and one day of sprint intervals. Non-exercise days are spent walking.

Mark’s diet plan was centered on Primal eating; lots of meat and veggies…stuff a caveman would have eaten. You cut out all of the bad stuff like sugar, white flour, fried foods, but you also cut out a lot of things you wouldn’t normally think of as bad; like oatmeal, spaghetti, wheat bread…I had heard of “low carb” diets before, but had never tried them. I will cover my diet in a separate blog post.

Here is my exercise plan. All of this information is available freely on Mark’s sight, as well as in his books.

Day One (Sunday) Easy Workout 10 minutes (do each of the following one time)
– Max # of Pushups
– Max # of Pullups (if you can’t do one, step on a stool or chair with one leg and cheat until you can)
– Max # of Body-weight Squats
– Plank hold for max length of time

Day Two (Monday) 20 minute walk outside

Day Three (Tuesday) 20 minute walk outside

Day Four (Wednesday) Harder Workout 30 minutes (do same as Day One but repeat twice for total of three sets)

Day Five (Thursday) 20 minute walk outside

Day Six (Friday) Six to Eight Sprints Up Hill at park (each sprint was about 100 yds) Run about 15 sec and walk back down about 45 sec. Alternate – if weather was bad I would use my exercise bike and go fast for about 1 minute and then slow for 2 minutes

Day Seven (Saturday) 60+minute walk. I would walk about five miles early in the morning.

RESULTS
After six weeks I had dropped from 165 to 149 and brought my waist from 35 inches down to 31 inches. I have since refined my workout further to get my body fat down below 10% and I’m close to an actual six pack. I will write on that when I complete. I hover between 10.5% and 11% body fat right now. The above workout is all you need to do to get yourself in decent shape (along with a healthy diet). I will be honest and tell you that exercise was only about 20% of the solution for me. The other 80% coming from diet. I don’t use any supplements except a whey protein shake, multi-vitamin, vitamin D and a fish oil (omega 3). The last three being recommended by my doctor.

Please above all else, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise/diet program. You don’t want to start off your program with a heart attack.