Those of you that have been following my daily emails and blog posts know by now that my #1 weapon for getting into kick butt shape - and FAST, at that - is a long, steep hill which I used to climb daily in China many years ago in a different life.
At the risk of repeating myself, that hill is one of the very, very best things that ever happened to me in terms of health and fitness. I actually "discovered" it by "accident" (long story there), but once I did - there was no looking back.
Quoting from my book:
"Climbing hills is one of my all time favorite workouts. In a previous Chapter I spoke about my training in China, when my workout consisted for climbing a hill followed by a bodyweight routine. I used to live near a hill which was about 10 minutes walk away from my home. This hill was pretty steep, and took about 25 minutes to climb at a reasonable pace. There were many routes up this hill, some with steps, and some without. I usually chose the route with steps on the way up, and the slope without any steps when on the way down; this gave me the best workout, as I worked my thighs heavily going up, and stretched my hamstrings out thoroughly coming down. I used to exercise mostly in hot humid weather, and used to be soaked in sweat by the end of the climb – and this was before I had even got to my bodyweight routine. It didn’t matter if it was winter and cold as heck; I used to work up a sweat anyway when I climbed. Now that’s some serious cardiovascular exercise there! "
Great, great stuff - and lest you believe that these sort of hill climbs are tough only for the unfit and uninitiated, well, THINK AGAIN - this hill will make you feel it in no time regardless of your current fitness levels.
Anyway, there's plenty more where that comes from, and you can read all about my hill climbs and the associated benefits by getting Fast and Furious Fitness here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book - but that isn't the topic of today's email.
No, what I want to do today is to actually SHOW you what this particular hill looks like. This is something I've been wanting to do for a long, long time, but couldn't because I didn't have the actual pictures I took back in 2005 - but I'm back in China for the immediate nonce at least, and I've taken these pictures myself during my very first day in China. Made it straight to the hill after very little sleep and a 7+ hour flight (and more travel) over - and that in itself should tell you I let very little get in the way of my hill climbs!
These pictures can be seen right here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/the-hill. Those of you that have "friended" me on Facebook have already seen these updates, but I figured I'd put it on my site for the rest of you as well.
Anyway, it's been a goal of mine for a very long time, but it's only been a month or so since I used some visualization (something I speak very highly of and in detail in Fast and Furious Fitness) and other techniques to make this goal a reality. And I'll tell you this, my friend - when you have a goal - and truly set about conquering it - there "ain't" nothing in tarnation that can stop you from achieving it, provided you go about things the right way.
Dreams CAN, and DO come true - we just have to BELIEVE.
I should know - obstacles were thrown up at EVERY step along my last odyessy. Obstacles that we'd normally never have thought we could overcome - but overcome them we did, even though we were stupefied at HOW some of the issues got resolved. I'll be writing more on this later - in fact, I'm working on a new and related product on achieving one's goals (fitness, life, anywhere) so stay tuned on that one.
Anyway, that's the update for today, and those are the photographs. Back to regular programming again soon - stay tuned for details on some lung busting climbs and associated workouts from China!
P.S. #1: I usually post most photos on Facebook first - and you can find me on Facebook right here: - https://www.facebook.com/rahul.mookerjee
P.S #2: - Dreams are great, but they are only half the battle won. Action is of paramount importance, and if you dream of being supremely fit and healthy, then the first thing you need to do is take action - by grabbing a copy of Fast and Furious Fitness right HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
'Tis a common refrain these days amongst most parents, especially in the bigger cities, where obesity rates amongst children (very young children, at that) is rising at a shocking pace.
Parents often "try" and get their children to exercise, or incorporate some sort of physical activity in their lives to counter this - but more often that not, these efforts are in vain. And those of you that have tried to get a recalcitrant kid up for that 5AM swim, or 7AM jog know just how it feels.
(Side note: The "5AM swim" part brings back many a pleasant memory of me going swimming in a largish man made lake at exactly that time during summer vacations with my 77 (at the time) year old grandfather - great, great stuff, and if HE could do it at that age and then put in a full day of work - well - we ALL can!)
Anyway, most end up blaming the Internet, Iphones, TV, and various other gadgets that have infiltrated our lives for their kids inactivity. Some put it down to an unhealthy diet. And yet others say that it's impossible to follow an ideal diet these days with most of everything you buy at the being stuffed full of unhealthy growth hormones and chemicals.
All true to a degree - but guess whose the mail culprit here?
Yes, you heard that right - it's parents that are ultimately to blame for their kids not incorporating movement into their daily lives.
Why do I say this?
Well, first off, kids (especially infants and toddlers) LOVE to move around. Ever seen a 1 year old sit still for hours in front of the computer - I bet not - and thats not because we force them to move - it's because movement comes NATURALLY to them.
But, at the same time, guess how little kids "learn"?
Yes, you got that right - by watching others - and those others are most likely to be their parents, since parents spend the most amount of time with their children (or they should, at any rate). And if the average parents daily exercise routine consists of plopping his or her backside into a couch and performing "pretezel" curls with a bag of chips or whatever other junk comes to hand, guess what the kid is going to learn?
The very same thing. His instincts will urge him to fight against this slothfulness for a good few months, but they'll eventually lose out - and what was a healthy, naturally active kid starts turning into "Tubby" in no time at all.
Not good - and at that point we have parents literally forcing their kids to get up and move, which further puts them off exercise.
Not good at all.
And the funny part is, kids do NOT need to be forced into moving around. If they see you moving around, they'll naturally try to follow you. If they see you going for a hill climb every morning, chances are THEY will gladly follow you up that very hill themselves - and complain if you don't allow them to. Ditto for other physical activities.
And whats more - they'll be HAPPY for doing so. I know this for a fact - my little girl is never happier than when allowed to freely move her arms and legs about, and she has a huge smile on her face while doing so.
More importantly, this sort of movements is what "toughens" kids up for more demanding physical activity at a later stage - and also speeds up the development process immensely. I'll cite another example here - I often try and get my baby girl to "stand" on my chest. Now, being she's just two months old she obviously doesnt have the strength to stand on her own, so I put my hands under her armpits, position her feet on my chest, and then allow her to try and "stand".
This usually used to result in her flailing her legs around without control - but over the last two weeks or so, something remarkable has happened - my little girl is actually RESISTING the force of gravity towards my chest.
That's right - I can actually feel her little muscles beginning to work as she tries to "climb" up Daddy's chest.
Now, do you think I'll have any trouble convincing her to go for that daily hill climb - or swim - or pushups, for that matter?
I don't think so - and neither will YOU, my friend, if you lead by example in front of your kids.
Lead a slothful life, and chances are your kids will turn into couch potatoes before you know it.
Lead a healthy and active life, and your children will naturally gravitate towards doing the same.
It's that simple - and if you don't believe me, well, I have this to say to you - TRY IT, and then come back to me!
Anyway, that's it for me today. Back later with another report on how my baby girl "sits" on my back while doing pushups - that one's a story in itself!
'Twas a crisp and breezy Monday morning today. Winter's approaching - and fast - in my neck of the woods, and signs are we'll have an especially severe winter this year. Global warming, anyone??
Anyway, woke up bright and early at 11, hehe, and dove straight into a combination of leg exercises and pushups that left me dripping with sweat despite the chill in the air. To give you an example of the sort of "cardio" effect this sort of routine can give you, try alternating sets of 20 pushups with jumping rope for 100 reps each time - and don't rest more than 10 seconds between each exercise. 5 sets of this puppy, and you'll be feeling it in no time - guaranteed!
Headed on to the park for some pull-ups after that, and started in on some hammer grip pull-ups alternated with regular pull-ups. Man, those monkey bars were COLD - I was literally "wringing" the cold
out of my fingers after every set!
Anyway, I was finishing up with some timed holds, when along dwadles this young'ish sort of guy with a silly grin on his face.
Plenty of these "specimens" where I work out, and they usually leave me to my own devices, which is what I prefer - but I could tell at one glance that this dude wasn't of the same bent of mind.
He was looking at me from afar, making gestures, "sidling" up to the monkey bars every time I finished a set (and sidling right back when I glared at him) - in short, doing everything he could to get me to speak with him.
And I was, of course, doing everything I could to shake him off. I'm not exactly one for "chit-chat" (especially idle and silly chit-chat) during my routines, and I never make any bones about that fact. And it usually works - folks usually leave me alone when I'm working out.
On this occasion though, I was unsuccessful.
"Hello", he starts, while proferring me a limp hand.
"Hello", I grunt back, getting back to my timed holds.
Did my 4th set of 20 second holds, and was taking a brief rest when I heard him again.
I pretended not to hear.
Wool in my ears, as they say. . .
"Excuse me", he said for the third time, finally moseying on up to the monkey bars in a most slimey fashion.
"Yeah", I say.
"Do you work out here daily?"
"Uh huh", I grunt back.
"You shouldn't be working out on these", our guy says. He pointed at the monkey bars with a limp finger as if they were something to be ashamed of, and shook his head in a sad manner.
"You should get the TRX", he tells me. "You'll get the cuts and definition you want in no time at all!"
Uh-oh - those who know me know that "cuts and definition" are the last thing I want to hear about, and badger me with that type of nonsense during a workout - well, you're liable to get the sort of rousing reception a hibernating grizzly bear provides those who rouse him from his sleep.
Anyhow, I ignored him and went on to set #5.
"Ouch! That must be painful", he starts after this set.
"Calluses, what do you expect", I retort in a gruff manner.
"You really need the TRX. Here, take my card", he goes, handing me a sort of business card with the name of a prominent gym as well as the TRX logo on it.
"I don't want your card".
"Try it, it'll help you".
"I don't want to try it, and I don't want your help", I snapped back, annoyance getting the better of me.
He finally seemed to then "get the message", and pushed off in the other direction, mumbling "Thank you" under his breath. Good for him.
Anyway, "cuts and definition" not withstanding, I find it funny that even gyms these days are scrounging around for folks to buy their overpriced (and in many cases absolutely worthless) memberships. It would seem that folks are sick of paying through the nose for something that doesn't really benefit them - but maybe not, as I don't see the number of fit people going up - it's actually the other way around.
Now, just so you know, I've got nothing against the TRX system (even though I prefer to use my own bodyweight to get fit). The TRX has worked for many people, and I'm sure it'll continue to work for many more, and who I am to knock something that apparently "works"?
But does it work better than a bodyweight based program such as what I advocate?
Not a snowball's chance in tarnation, my friend. The TRX has several things going for it, the most important being the fact it also at the end of the day is a bodyweight based program - and the other being that one has to stay on a super strict diet during the program, else you dont see results.
But, I don't see whats wrong with doing pull-ups on thick bars and how they're any worse than doing them on the suspension system the TRX provides.
I don't see whats wrong with climbing a long, steep hill daily for your "cardio" as opposed to super strict diets that one cannot stick with for any length of time.
And neither do I believe that it's necessarily better to do pushups using straps or pushup bars - I much prefer the old fashioned way of putting one's palms on the floor and completing the exercise.
Folks think they need something "fancy" to get fit - but the truth is, all you need is your own body and some willpower, my friend, and your all set.
More importantly, people need to learn that "tough" isn't a bad thing. Thick bar pull-ups are tough, and they'll give you a pair of calloused hands for sure, but you'd be hard pressed to replicate the STRENGTH that this particular exercise builds no matter what gizmo you use. 'Tis a fact - try it yourself and see if you don't believe me.
Tough is GOOD - and they understood that in the old days. And thats why they had some mighty strong - and FIT - men back in those days. Men who stuck to the basics, and focused on getting stronger. Men who knew all you needed to get a great workout in is your OWN body weight.
What's also amazing is that folks these days are willing to fork over big bucks for the latest gadgets, fad diets, gym memberships et al, and then do so all over again when their "purchase" doesnt deliver what was promised.
So, forget the $250 gym memberships, my friend.
Forget "workout systems" that promise you six pack abs within said number of days.
Ditch the fancy protein shakes, "no carbs" diet, and any other nonsense the so-called fitness gurus might preach.
All you really need to do is fork over a mere $24.99 for Fast and Furious Fitness, and you'll be all set. Heck, that's less than a FRACTION of what I mentioned above would cost - but you'd better believe it delivers far more than any of the above will.
It's solid, tough, back to the basics stuff - and THAT, my friend is what really delivers - not the lass on TV showing off her "8 pack" trying to sell you products late at night.
Anyway, this email has gone off for long enough - so I think I'll end here. Gotta go help my wife reposition a solid oak bed we have - moving that sucker around the bedroom (limited space) can be a workout unto itself.
P.S.: - I speak about "men" towards the latter part of this note, but this advice, and the routines I teach in Fast and Furious Fitness are just as applicable for you ladies out there - as well as kids. Click on over NOW to see what the hullabaloo is all about: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
If there's one upper body (primarily) exercise that's guaranteed to have you huffing, puffing and sweating within a short period of time, it's the good ole pushup.
It doesn't matter how out of shape or in shape you are, there is a type of pushup out there that will make you feel it in the right areas when you perform the movement correctly. It doesn't matter if your just starting out or an experienced trainee. It doesn't matter if you choose to train in the morning or evening - and it doesn't matter if your from Mars or Venus - pushups, when done correctly will get the blood pumping and the heart beating within a short period of time. Good stuff.
A much ignored but extremely effective exercise, especially when done for high reps, this exercise is one of my favorites - not just to get a great upper body workout in a short period of time, but also to "rev the engine up" before embarking on a tougher/longer routine.
What do I mean?
Well, I wasn't feeling the best this morning when I woke up. The weather's changing around here, and I think I might have picked up a tad bit of flu or something - so, I wasn't at my chirpiest to say the least.
Started to get stuck into my normal routine (which today was supposed to be various styles of jumping jacks, rope jumps and a few other associated exercises), but quickly figured out that I just wasn't being able to "get into the groove" as I normally do. I was sweating, and breathing hard, but something didn't feel quite "right" - in other words, I wasn't as switched on as I should have been, if that makes sense.
So, for a change, I figured I'll pump out 25 slow pushups, and then get back to the set #6 on the rope jumps.
Did that, and then knocked off 5 "table" pushups (slowly) for good measure, followed by 10 finger tip pushups.
By that time I was starting to feel a little something in my triceps, and I was breathing much deeper than I was before for sure.
"Hey, this feels good - that old, familiar feeling of the heart starting to pump HARD, and working up a great sweat while I'm at it".
So, figured I'd do a "few more" pushups before getting back to the rest of my normal routine.
Hit #60. Figured I'd do a "few more".
On to #92. "Ok, a few more".
Another set of 20 slow tricep pushups - followed by fingertip pushups again - and I'm on 120 pushups before I know it.
I finally finished at 155 pushups - and whats more, I was feeling GREAT by the end of it. No more "wooziness" or "slow off the blocks" feelings - I was feeling recharged and ready to ROLL. The blood was pumping, the sweat was pouring, and I was breathing like I'd just run a sprint - all great, great stuff.
Never did finish the 1500 rope jumps I had planned for today, but finished my routine off with 25 pull-ups and timed hangs - and that was that. And this feeling of being "on top of the world" after a good hard set of pushups lasts all day long - I'm still "buzzing" a few hours after my routine, and my triceps literally feel "worked to the bone".
And thats not just a stray observation - pushups always make me feel better. For those of you that do them regularly, you know what I mean - and for those of you that don't do pushups on a regular basis - well, one of the best things you can do for your health is to get cracking on a regular pushup schedule - it'll benefit you far more than you know.
So the next time you need a quick "pick me up", ditch the coffee in favor of 20 pushups done in the right way - the boost you get will be well worth it!
All for today. If you workout today, make sure and make it a winner!
P.S.: - I speak of "table" pushups in this email, and I did a wide variety of pushups today in getting to the 155 mark. To learn more about how I structure my high rep push up routines, push on over HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
I've not been able to get to the park I normally perform the outdoor portion of my workout in for quite a bit now. Not really sure why, but one reason is TIME - that park is a fair distance away from where I live, and I just haven't found the time as of late to mosey on over there for some long and enjoyable workouts.
I miss it somewhat - especially having to shoo off the "busy bees" that all show up in my workout "space" to do little other than pass comments, "ooh and ah", and hang their jackets on the dipping bars (or even worse, position their posteriors on said piece of equipment as soon as one's ready to start a hard set of dips). Ah, the fun of it all. . .
But, I'm digressing here - so since I can't make it to that particular park these days, I'm making do with one right near my house. Which is fine, really, except for the fact that it doesn't have the old rusty swing set that I'm used to doing my pull-ups on. I basically used to use the top of the swing set (thick bar joining the swings together) to do my exercises, and it worked great.
Neither does it have a monkey bar apparatus of any length/height, so going back and forth on it (an excellent grip builder, btw) is out.
But, it does have a monkey bar set up of sorts, so that is where I do my pull-ups these days. And I'm doing OK - except for the fact that the monkey bars form a "V" where I grip to perform my pull-ups, and I'd much rather do them on a thick and straight bar if that makes any sense.
Why? Well, many reasons, mostly personal preference, but also because I think I can exert maximum force and get the most out of my back muscles on a straight bar as opposed to a "v" setup.
And so, I'm trying out some interesting variations on the pull-up these days - one of those being the hammer grip pull-up - where you basically perform the movement by gripping a couple of parallel bars and pulling - perfect if your doing pull-ups on a monkey bar setup.
I've seen this variation done many a times before, but for whatever reason, I never really got into the movement that much myself - but I am now - and here are some observations: -
- This type of pull-up should be far easier than the regular pull-up (especially in the bottom position) for those that have shoulder problems, as the shoulders are in a "neutral" position of sorts as opposed to a regular pull-up.
- The movement should be easier to master than a regular pull-up, meaning more reps is a real possibility - and leading to many fun "high rep" pull-up sequences!
- The parallel grip makes it a lot more comfortable (note - thats different from "easier") to perform abdominal movements such as the L-hold, or V-hold. I personally sometimes have trouble with my shoulders when performing said movements on a straight bar, but nothing of the sort happens on parallel bars - even if I hold for an extended period of time.
- It brings the biceps into play big time; so for those of you that are looking to hit the biceps with a decent exercise - this is it. The regular pull-ups is still king - but this one is a close second.
- Last, but certainly not least, this movement can be a fantastic grip builder as well if you perform the right number of reps - try it and see!
Not to mention it makes a nice change from having to do your pull-ups the same way every time; always good to change things up once in a while.
None of this means you should replace the regular pull-up with this one - not at all. That movement is still the #1 back and arm movement in my books - but this one is a pretty decent strength builder as well if you really get good at it.
And that, my friend, is the tip of the day - back again soon! If you workout today, make it a super one!
P.S: - To see photos of me with my adorable little baby girl, click on over here to my facebook account: - https://www.facebook.com/rahul.mookerjee
P.S. #2: - For more interesting variations on pull-ups, check out Fast and Furious Fitness right here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
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