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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying in Shape (Without a Gym)

Robert Manni - Friday, March 07, 2014


There are workout classes now for pole dancing, trampoline, twerkshops, Vikings and Valkyries, hula-hoops and even “voga”—a mash-up of yoga and vogueing.

But for this Guy’s Guy, nothing beats an old school workout and classic exercises for peak fitness and a sculpted physique. I realize that working out is a personal issue so for context, I wholeheartedly endorse any regimen that gets you moving and burns calories and any fitness regime that includes yoga for stretching, breathing and healing the body from the inside out.  Now that we’ve gotten the disclaimers out of the way, let’s get on with it.  Most of us lead fast-paced busy lives. A lot of well-intended people either do not have the time or the money to join one of our high-tech gyms that charge thousands for a membership and real cash for a class. With that in mind, here is my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to working out on your own. Most of these moves require less than an hour’s time and little, if any, equipment.

Push Ups.

This old school exercise pits you against your body weight as it works your delts, pecs, triceps, biceps, forearms and abs. I’ve built my fitness life around this core move. I’ve pounded out one set of anywhere from fifty to seventy-five push ups almost every morning since I was twelve years old. If you don’t believe me, ask my Mom, roommates, girlfriends or my wife. This basic move has done wonders for maintaining my strength, a decent upper body, self-confidence and discipline. You can do push ups almost anywhere and they require no equipment. Towards the end of each set I hold the plank position and slowly counted to two hundred. Then I squeeze out another ten push-ups. If you only have time for one exercise per day, look no further. And that includes the ladies. It’s tough for women to build upper body strength and shape with many women concerned about bulking up from weights. Push-ups give you strength, tone and shape and they don’t cost a dime.

Jumping Rope.

Okay, you need a good rope that will run you about $15 bucks. I suggest a rubberized rope to get that whip action going. You can jump rope outside or in any room with a ten-foot ceiling. Boxers are probably the best-conditioned athletes and they all integrated the rope into their workouts. Jumping will get you heart rate soaring while melting blubber around the midsection. It’s also great for maintaining your coordination.

Jumping Jacks.

We all half-assed our way through short sets of these babies in high school gym class, but when done properly in high reps this is a great exercise for cardio conditioning and shedding pounds. Think they’re easy? Do one hundred using perfect form. Actually, make that two hundred and then get back to me. You’ll see what I mean. And you can do them almost anywhere. They are not fun, but they work.

Running.

As we age a lot of us either lose their interest in running, trade in their runs for bike riding, or experience physical problems in their knees, shins and joints. I’ve completed three marathons, but I’m done with the 26.2 miler. During my third race it felt like every single tweak and twist I’d ever experienced was reappearing and telling me in no uncertain terms that this would be my final marathon. My meniscus was scraping. I had cramps in my calves and my hammys were tight. I took some time off before getting back on my horse and running along the Hudson River Park and the boards at the Jersey Shore. Now that I live near Central Park I’ve returned to that hilly 6.2 mile run around the outer loop and I’ve never felt better. Maybe I will consider one more marathon. Running clears my mind, trains my legs and keeps my weight in check. And it’s therapeutic to work out in nature and the elements instead of indoors on a treadmill. You’ll need to invest about $100 a year in a good pair of running shoes, shorts, a top and some sun block.

Dumb Bells.

I always keep a set of twenty and ten pound dumb bells in my room. This way I can squeeze out a few sets of Arnold presses or basic curls whenever I get the urge. This is pretty basic stuff, but throwing the iron around helps maintain strength and muscle tone. I’ve recently switched to a body bar, a great piece of equipment that costs about $20 that can be used for a number of different moves with high reps and high intensity. If you want to go big, then by all means invest in a bench and a barbell. 

Guy’s Guys stay in shape and who doesn’t love a fit woman? So regardless of our busy lives and financial constraints, it’s still important to look good and treat your body with respect. You only get one body and if you take care of it, it will serve you well for many, many years. And what could be wrong with that?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Hershel Walker, former NFL running back who at age 49 began a new career in the MMA and does 1500 push ups every day!

Are you making time to work out without breaking the bank?  


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