Random Notes on Fitness

About couple years ago, I was thinking about putting together a fitness program for myself.  My goals were endurance, strength, less low back aching, flexibility, longevity, and being able to get on my horse bareback without a mounting block or other cheat.

I spent quite a bit of time at Doug Robb’s HeathHabits site.  He has a post called The “I don’t have time to workout” Workout.  I ran across some paper notes I made during my time there.  Doug recommended some basic moves to incorporate: air squat, Hindu pushup, dragon flag, shuffle of scissor lung, Spiderman lung, hip thrust/bridge, swing snatch, dumbbell press, Siff lunge, jumping Bulgarian squat, band wood chops, leg stiff leg deadlift.  Click the link to see videos of most of these exercises.  The rest you can find on YouTube.

Another post is called “Do you wanna get big and strong? -Phase 1”.  The basic program is lifting weights thrice weekly.  Monday, work the chest and back.  Tuesday, legs and abs/core.  Friday, arms and shoulders.

  • Chest exercises: presses (barbell or dumbell, incline, decline, flat, even pushups with additional resistance  – your choice
  • Back: chins or rows
  • Legs: squats or deadlifts
  • Arms and shoulders: dips, presses, curls

Doug is a personal trainer with a huge amount of experience.  He’s a good writer, too, and gives away a wealth of information at his website.

Around this same time of searching a couple years ago, I ran across Mark Verstegen’s Core Performance, Mark Lauren’s book “You Are Your Own Gym,”  and Mark Sisson’s free fitness ebook that also  features bodyweight exercises.

Lauren is or was a Navy Seal trainer.  His plan involves 30 minutes of work on four days a week and uses minimal equipment.  Lots of good reviews at Amazon.com.

Newbies to vigorous exercise should seriously consider using a personal trainer.

Steve Parker, M.D.

2 responses to “Random Notes on Fitness

  1. I strongly agree on recommended getting a personal trainer for a few sessions and brush-up sessions along the way. Ask around to see who might best understand your needs and requirements. In my case it was a volleyball player who does this semi-professionally .. we “clicked” even though our personal goals are totally different.

    It was also critically important to find the time to exercise regularly. I carved out a 75 minute period that I don’t violate from 6am to 7:15 am five days a week as well as an hour for a long lunch hour walk every day no matter what the weather (people are surprising waterproof and the winter is fine if you learn how to dress in layers). It was important to justify the time, so I gave up most of my evening tv and just don’t miss it. I use an iPod loaded with music and interesting podcasts to fill the time – in fact I just finished a fantastic lecture series on the American Civil War from Yale.

    Motivation is extremely important. My trainer agreed to act as a motivational coach and has me tweet my daily results. She uses this to give feedback as well as to suggest goal adjustments.

    I started out as a fairly out of shape 55 year old with a BMI of a bit more than 29 (I realize BMI isn’t a great measure, but it gives you a sense of the baggage I was carrying). Now I’m 59 and manage to maintain a BMI in the low 20s. Our GP regularly asks me for exercise advice and says I would be in great shape for someone who is 35.

    If I can do it anyone can. It was and is a bit of a struggle, but with motivation you can do it.