Here at the MG Fortress, we like to savor life and live well and living well means eating good food, all whilst maintaining our bodies with exercise and weight lifting.
That’s right. Movement. Sweating. Picking up heavy shit and putting it down…several times. Our bodies are evolved to handle more physical stress and exertion than we place upon it.
We’re finely tuned hunting machines. Easy living makes us soft and weak. Being out of shape and overweight is unhealthy.
And I don’t want to hear any crap about how women find dad bods sexy. That’s bullshit. Go into any Barnes & Noble bookstore and peruse the Romance section. See any men with dad bods on the book covers? No?
A dad bod might elicit feelings of teddy bear comfort, warmth, and security, but that’s not raw, unbridled erotic desire and sexual attraction.
Get in shape fellow masculine geeks. We say this with love, brothers.
The single most actionable and controllable thing you can do to increase your lifespan, feel better, look better, (consequently boosting your confidence AND your sex life), is to lift weights, exercise, and lose that fat.
Exercise and weight lifting are paramount to your health and your overall well-being.
Make sure you’re around for your grandkids. Make sure you’re the man your girl or wife is fantasizing about and not the pool boy or chad thundercock at work.
Now, what to do?
TJ: A good question to ask yourself is “Why am I trying to accomplish?” Are you trying to lose weight, or build muscle? Are you trying to bench press twice your weight, or go on a 20 mile hike? That will determine the type of exercises you do once you’ve developed a basic physical regimen.
The first step is to find a gym with basic amenities and sign up as a member. It’s important to have that financial motivation to get up and go regularly. Home gyms are for men who’ve made it a habit after years of working out.
The next step is to avoid touching the dumbbells or machines, at least at first. You’ll want to develop baseline strength that can be achieved without them.
Two things to keep in mind before you workout. One, warm the body up. To jumping jacks and basic stretches. Tight muscles will get torn or pulled and limit your flexibility. Two, perform the movements correctly, and completely. Perfectionism isn’t the goal, but if you’re going to do it wrong, don’t do it. Your body will thank you.
Push-ups are perhaps the best way to start building upper-body muscle. Rather than seeking quantity, focus on quality. Prolong and extend the motions. Try different forms by having your hands closer or farther from your body. You can also do it as an isometric exercise by performing the first part of the push-up with your chest near the floor, then holding that position for as long as you can.
Finger-touching push-ups are also a fantastic way to work the chest and triceps. Again, do them slowly. You’re not trying to win a numbers contest.
Once you’re able to do at least 50 push-ups, you can move onto dumbbell workouts.
For legs, I would strongly caution the use of lifts such as squatting or even deadlifts. Proper form and lifting belts are essential, especially with heavier weight, or you’ll have back and leg pains that can last indefinitely. If you’re trying to lose weight or improve your cardiovascular health, you’re better off on the treadmill with a phone chocked full of podcasts to keep your mind occupied. Squatting has little utility outside of lifting competitions, good cardio will pay off when you go on an extended hike.
A good goal is to be able to walk three miles on a mid-level incline for an hour without stopping. Start off slow, and then gradually increase the speed until you reach a comfortable pace.
For beginners, the critical objective is to get into the habit of working out. It needs to become a normal part of your daily routine. It will cut into your day, so it has to be a priority – even higher than board game meetups or online gaming sessions.
Once you’re in decent shape, that fundamental question of what you want to accomplish will dictate the specific workouts you focus on from thereon out.
Rob Says: If you have lived a mostly sedentary lifestyle, keep your workouts simple in the beginning. Since you will probably have minimal muscle, or literally no muscle at all, think and use low weights and higher reps in the beginning. Proper form is crucial at this stage. It will help reduce injury and minimize fatigue. You go for the big weights in the beginning you’ll burn out and not want to continue and you’ll probably injure yourself to boot.
Bodyweight exercises are fantastic at this stage. You can do them practically anywhere and you don’t have to invest money into a gym membership if you don’t have the funds at the moment. I do highly recommend that you do get a membership as soon as you can though, consider it the motivation that you need for the investment that is your health and your life.
Go for walks. I don’t mean go get on a treadmill and do a bunch of cardio. Get outside and go for a walk. Get some sun while you are at it, it’s free vitamin D. If you have been sedentary long enough, just the simple act of going for a walk will burn calories and you’ll see results in a short time.
The key at this early stage is to stay consistent and develop a routine, which in time, becomes a habit. Go for a walk every day. Do body exercises every day. Do the work. Think long game about this. You’re not going to be shredded, ripped, massive, whatever you want to call it, overnight. You didn’t get where you are right now overnight, same applies to getting to where you want to go.
It’s going to take time.
While you are at it, it’s good to have an idea of what you want to do with your body, and how you want to look, but what you want to do and how you want to look shouldn’t be your end goal, that’s just a step. Your end goal is to change your lifestyle. And believe you me, exercise and being fit is a lifestyle, not just a goal.
Vince: I co-sign on everything both Rob and TJ have stated above. I agree wholeheartedly in regard to getting outside and walking and warming up the body before any exercise. This is also something you can do with your kids or spouse. Get outside! I walk in the evening after supper. This is good for digestion, gets my blood flowing, and is a great way for me to meditate and plan.
Now, for my own routine, and this serves me well, I workout four times a week – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday is a day of rest and recovery. I do this on my lunch hour and take about 25-35 minutes of intense, no-nonsense, weight lifting.
I also agree that exercising needs to be a part of your life-style. Don’t think about it, just do it.
Make it a habit.
My routine is to stretch for 5-7 minutes and then lift medium to heavy weight to failure for exercise one, then move on to exercise two and do the same. To failure means not keeping count, although you could, and do the movement until you cannot lift the weight anymore for that set. Make sure you do not hurt yourself. Pay attention to your body. Breath as you extend.
Thus, I may do 4 separate exercises/forms going through set one non-stop and then resting for one minute before continuing on to the second set of all the four exercises, and so on.
Here is an example of a Monday routine (I just started this one about 3 weeks ago):
- Flat Dumbbell Chest Press – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmB1G1K7v94
- Hammer Strength Incline Bench Press – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig0NyNlSce4
- Hammer Strength Bench Press – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqbuCsc-ZMs
- Smith Machine Incline Bench Press – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8DqTO6ak0k
Usually by the 4th exercise my chest is torn up but in a good way.
Addendum – First, be safe. Second, the above is what works for me, right now. Everyone’s body is different. This may not be your thing, it might not get the job done. Experiment, watch other videos and consult some exercise blogs. Research. Find what works for you.
In closing, gentlemen, it’s important to maintain our looks and our health as we age.
“But I don’t have the time!” That’s crap. Do you watch Television after work? You do? Okay, stop that. Or, at least, take one hour you would normally watch television and use that to work on your body.
You can do it.
Much love, brothers.