Sunday, April 2, 2017

How Should I Start Exercising?

The idea of exercising may bring to your mind images of people jogging in the park or working out with complicated machinery in a slick-looking gym full of hot, young people listening to edgy music. Actual exercise may include these activities but you can improve your health drastically without doing those things. In fact, you can build muscle and drop unnecessary weight just doing a simple workout in your living room or bedroom.

However, before you up into whichever workout that you prefer, you should keep in mind two rules: 
  • Start slow. 
  • Build muscle. 
  • Train to failure
Starting Slow

Too often, when a man decides to change his life, he tries to make a radical alteration to his normal habits and eventually fails. It is like trying to leap straight to the top of the mountain instead of climbing the first foothills surrounding it.

Over-commitment leads to failure and despair. If you are doing pushups and have not done any in a long time (since high school gym, perhaps), then begin with ten. 

I mean, do ten pushups the first entire day. If that exhausts you, good. If it does not, wait until your next exercise day and do 12 or 15. You can continue with incremental advances until you feel like you cannot do any more pushups in at one time, Once you reach the point where you are exhausted, you know how many you should do in one set. 

Use the same approach with anything that you do - lifting weights, sprinting, pull-ups, etc. Start slow and build to exhaustion. 

Building Muscle

Various gurus and experts may counsel you to focus on certain "cardio" exercises. These are exercises which aim to get your heart racing. The goal is to use calories and shed weight. 

 However, as a man, your goal should really be to acquire physical strength rather than lose weight. You may very well lose weight as a result of weightlifting and other strength-building exercises but it is more likely that you will turn your weight into muscle. You may even see and increase in your weight as you get stronger.

The best methods of exercise for achieving this goal are those that build strength. 

  • Lift weights or do pushups. This will increase the strength of your chest and arms. There is also some impact on abdominal muscles but you should worry very little about these muscles. You are not some model trying to sculpt a beautiful body. You are building a warrior's body.
  • Sprint rather than jog. Jogging is good for increasing your endurance but sprinting will burn more calories because you will be using the largest muscle group in your body, those of your thighs, at maximum intensity. 
Do not focus on the numbers on a scale. That is a woman's worry. Your metric should be: how much can I lift? The rest will take care of itself.

Train to Failure

After starting slow, you will build to exhaustion in any exercise. The purpose here is guided by our knowledge about how muscles work. 

When you lift a dumbbell with one arm, you only use a limited amount of muscles in that ar to achieve one curl. When you repeat that lift immediately, your body has to recruit more muscle cells to get the job done. Eventually, you will have engaged all the muscles in your arm and exhausted them and you will literally be unable to do another curl for a short period while your muscles recover.

This approach builds muscle quickly and avoids having to spend hours at the gym doing less intense exercises. You will see results in weeks not months.

At this juncture, stop counting how many pushups or curls you are doing. Just do it until your arms or legs give way. You cannot fail to get results.

Be careful. If you do this without taking precautions to avoid dropping weights on your feet, you will injure yourself and set yourself back. 

Basically, just don't be a spaz about it. Start slow, ai for strength and be wise. Reach the point where your strength fails you and you will be getting the maximum from your work out. 
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