Let's face it, we (or at least the guys reading this) all like the look a large, powerful and brawny "barrel chest" gives a man. Most guys rate the chest as the favorite part of their body to develop, and that's not entirely a bad thing, as the pectorals are one of the larger muscles in the upper body, and working large muscle groups in conjunction is always a good thing.
But it's not good when folks start to ignore other body parts in favor of purely training the chest, which is actually more common than you'd think -
- and neither is it good that most folks don't have a clue as to what the REAL secret is to developing a broad, powerful chest.
Now, I can already sense the regular readers on this list saying "Ok, I know the hidden key he's talking about. He's said it so many times before!
Work an opposing body part, in this case, the back, and your chest will grow as well. Bah. Humbug."
And they'd be right - - I DO mention that a lot of times, and with darn good reason, but I'm not going to go over that particular reason in that email.
No, there's a far more important hidden key here - - something which most people are either unaware of, or prefer to ignore (usually the former).
What's that, you ask.
Well, let me backtrack a bit before answering. Several years ago, I climbed my favorite hill for the first time - and the experience left me feeling as if a truck had run over me. I never thought the seemingly simple task of walking uphill could tax the entire body, but boy was I wrong.
A few months later, I was climbing this hill on a daily basis, and had dropped almost four waist sizes. My pants were "hanging" off me, my resting pulse dropped to about 65 or so, and my legs had become like pillars of rock - - all benefits that might be expected from this sort of exercise, but what I also noticed that I was growing out of my shirts - - and this without doing a single pushup, or any sort of exercise for my chest. I did do pull-ups after my hill climb, but not regularly - - my main exercise at the time was the daily hill climb.
Fast forward a few years, and I was doing all sorts of pushups and pull-ups on a daily basis - - including sets of the super tough handstand pushup -
- something which most people can't even do a single rep of - - but though I packed on a lot of mass on to my upper body from these exercises, nothing really "stretched the tape measure" quite so drastically as my hill climbs had.
Back then, I was wearing medium size shirts, and I rocketed straight up to XL size a few months later. Fast forward a few years, and my size increased to a XXL, but not really a lot after that.
Now, keep in mind that was a few months - - and this was a few YEARS of training.
And now, let's forward again to right NOW. As in, February 2014 - - I'm back to climbing my hill again after a bit of a break the past few weeks, and I'm already noticing my shirts starting to get tight around my shoulders yet again - - and this without really doing a lot of upper body work on a regular basis.
What gives, you ask.
Well - put simply - and hard as it might sound to believe, it's the deep breathing that my hill climb induces that is working my upper back and chest muscles along with my entire body. Ever felt REALLY, REALLY out of breath? Like so out of breath you could barely open your mouth long enough to gulp in air, your heart pounding inside your chest like a sledgehammer?
That is what a tough, non-stop hill climb will do to you - - and let me tell you, this deep breathing works the HECK out of your entire upper body as well, including your abdominals and back. In fact, my stomach muscles are often sore after a tough climb as opposed to my legs -- that's how much this deep breathing works my entire upper body.
The old timers wouldn't find this surprising - - in fact, a lot of the old timers recommended exercises that induced heavy, labored breathing for a sustained period of time followed by chest specific exercises to really achieve maximal growth. John Maccullum, Peary Rader, you name them, and these guys knew about how important deep breathing was to overall chest development.
And how does deep breathing actually develop the chest, you might ask?
Well, long story, and one I can't really explain in an email, but the gist of it is that deep breathing done correctly forces the "inner" chest fibers and muscles to grow, thereby giving you a larger and more spacious rib box in which the lungs can expand more comfortably, thereby taking in more air with each breath. It also works the outer chest and back muscles to a degree - - not to mention the entire core - - done correctly, you are forced to breathe in air the right way i.e. through your abdomen instead of your chest.
You can call it developing the chest from the "inside out"; but whatever you call it, it works far, far better than simply trying to overload your chest muscles with heavy presses and the such. Although those are good, deep breathing is the real deal - - deep breathing is what lays the foundation for tremendous gains down the road. Remove the foundation, and you might as well not have the building - - it is that simple.
And of course, the way you get to a state of deep breathing so profound it literally reshapes your physique from the inside out is by doing exercises that cause you to gasp for air - - namely, leg exercises - - or even more more specifically, exercises that work the thighs, hips and core to the max
- - in other words, those exercises that tax the largest muscle groups in your body.
Show me a guy who squats regularly, or climbs hill regularly, or even jumps rope at a high level, and I'll show you someone with a well developed chest.
Other hand, show me someone who just works the chest without really working the leg muscles, and I'll show you someone who might have the "look" but not the actual strength and power (as well as size) that comes with REAL chest development.
And though all this might sound confusing, it's really not. Here's how you know what this is about - - find an exercise - - any exercise that makes you breathe deeply, and heavily for a sustained period of time (and I mean REAL deep breathing) - - and work that exercise into the ground for a couple of months. You may do upper body work at the end of your routine, but make it supplementary work - - not the main course.
After two months, measure your chest - - and if you've been doing this right, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
And that, my friend, is the tip of the day - - work the chest from the INSIDE OUT for a truly large, and powerful chest!
Implement this little gem into your training routine, and let me know how you do.
P.S: - Leg exercises are the ones that cause all the puffing and panting, literally forcing your body to grow - - but you gotta do the right ones - - and Fast and Furious Fitness is the best resource for those interested in this type of thing: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
Well, that's another long break from writing to you for sure. I think my last note to you was on New Year's Eve, and funnily enough, I just haven't had the time to post after that. Maybe it was my New Year's resolution of starting new businesses that started to work for me, or perhaps I just got too busy dealing with other stuff, but either way (and again,funnily enough), here I am in China, writing to you right after the Chinese New Year holidays.
Strange how that works, huh - I found no time to write to you after the "English" New Year, but I seem to be getting time to do so after the Chinese New Year? Is that a harbinger of even better tidings to come?
Well, I don't know, to be honest, but what I do know is that I've been busier than a bee trying to build several honeycombs at once. I've been dabbling in a new business I might start shortly, and I've also been doing lots and lots of writing, again for different business which I've already started. So, lots of things going on for sure - and all throughout, I've been climbing my favorite hill here in China on a daily basis.
(Note: There's always time to exercise for those that really want to!)
Anyway, so I saw this little building being built today in the park my hill is in, and thought I'd look closer to get a better look. Turned out they are (or were, at some point) building a small building where folks could barbeque food, cook their own meats etc while relaxing by the side of the lake, perhaps with a beverage of choice.
Ok, that's MY style of relaxation - but the combination of the hill and this potential bar-b-que spot instantly got me thinking about the furnace INSIDE of us - which everyone should have, but doesn't.
Furnace inside of us? And "keeping the fire burning"?
Do I mean keeping the "desire alive", which is what "keeping the fire burning" commonly alludes to? Well, there's nothing wrong with keeping the desire alive for what one likes, but I'm referring to something else.
I'm referring to the FAT burning furnace inside of you that lights up the fire cells like fireworks, and pops each one of them right OUT of your system. The furnace that is key to dissolving the layers of pesky chub that bulge out over that abdomen. The bar-be-que inside of you that is instrumental in roasting off the blubber hanging off your backside. And so forth.
Effective fat burning can often be compared to a successful outdoor BBQ. Think about it - how do we get a good BBQ going? It takes a large flame to kick start the process, but that flame usually dies down to a steady, but intense heat that keeps the coals red, and cooks your food from the inside out. And far burning, my friend, works much the same way.
In other ways, you kickstart your metabolism - and keep it at a level slightly below what it was during the peak part of your kickstarting.
So, those long, boring runs won't do it in terms of shedding fat quickly - - And neither will lifting weights all day in the gym do it. In fact, large and clumsy muscles can actually sometimes worsen your entire look if your overweight to begin with.And while walking is a great overall exercise, and does burn calories, it alone won't give you the intense fat burning effect that overweight people need.
But take an exercise - - any exercise - - that cranks your heart rate up to the MAXIMUM level it can go (depending upon your current conditioning levels), and then either keeps it there (not possible for very long periods) or "dies" down to to a slow and steady pounding, and you have the perfect recipe for building muscle and burning off fat - - both at the same time, while also getting your heart and lungs in the very best shape of your life.
Climbing hills fits the bill for sure, but for those of you that don't have hills nearby, here are some more options to roast your inner lard right off your frame: -
- Stair climbs/sprints (almost as good as climbing hills)
- Pushups done in sets; a great lung buster
- Jumping rope at the right cadence
And many, many more - - all exercises that I've included in Fast and Furious Fitness: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book - - grab your copy right NOW if you haven't already.
Once you've got your hill climb in, or done a few hard sets of pushups, or whatever, really, that BBQ is going to taste so much better once you get to it. And if you don't believe what I have to say - - well, all I'm going to say is this - - TRY IT - - an intense workout always works up a far better appetite than slow, "grind me down" exercise that actually ends up harming you more than you think it benefits you.
So that's the tip of the day, as well as interesting way to think about burning fat!
P.S.: - It's the Year of the Horse in China, and the very best thing you can do for your health and fitness this year is to grab my fitness manuals and start implementing what I teach. Gallop on right here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book
As you know, the New Year will be upon us in a matter of hours. In fact, it's probably only an hour or so away for some of you, especially those of you from New Zealand and nearby areas, where it's already 11P.M. at the time of writing this.
Not quite that late here as yet, it's around 5:30 P.M. here. And it's a great time for - you guessed it - some introspection on how the year has gone by, and how the New Year is going to pan out.
Notice I don't know "how you think the New Year is going to pan out" - I say "how the New Year is going to pan out". And that's more than just adding in two words - I believe that WE make our destiny to a large degree, and so whether or not the New Year is a roaring success or tepid failure for you is really up to YOU, my friend (again, to a large extent).
Be positive, and look ahead to the upcoming year with optimism, hope and positivity - - and chances are the same vibes will flow back into YOUR life. Other hand, look ahead to the New Year with trepidation, worries about the economy, or just a bleak outlook in general, and chances are 2014 won't exactly be the best year for you either. And that holds true both in terms of life, and fitness as well, my friend.
Note that this doesn't mean you ignore practical realities - not at all - but sometimes, a healthy dose of measured optimism is just what the doctor ordered in many cases.
It has been said that an optimist stays up until midnight to ring the New Year in, and a pessimist stays up until the same time to bid a teary farewell to the old year - which one are YOU?
Anyway, 'nuff said on that one. Back to introspection - a lot of you are probably getting ready to go out and celebrate the New Year in style and that's fine - but a little time spent tabulating your goals and reviewing where you are (in terms of life) in general will work wonders for you in the New Year.
For instance, you might have set a goal to drop 40 pounds this year - did you make it? If not, why not?
Or some of you might be looking to get that raise, but cannot no matter how hard you try - why not?
You get the picture - sit back with your beverage of choice and a piece of paper, and simply think - and jot down the points that appear in your mind.
Along with those points, jot down your GOALS (concrete goals), and also the ACTIONS you are willing to take to achieve those goals.
This should really you take you no more than 15 minutes or so - if it is, your doing something wrong.
And that's it - just make sure you keep that piece of paper with you, and look at it come midnight with a POSITIVE mindset.
Go to bed, wake up the next morning - and start to put your PLANS in ACTION - and watch the year whiz by so rapidly you won't even know it's come and gone. And chances are you'll be pretty happy with what you accomplish as well.
As for this cat, well, my routine today wasn't really any different from what it's been like the last couple of weeks, really. I don't have any plans of going out and ringing in the New Year "in style" (though there's nothing wrong with doing so to be honest) - it'll probably be a quiet evening as usual spent talking to my baby girl (who has a case of the sniffles) as well as Mommy. And then bed as usual.
One of my goals for next year is to get in a hill climb DAILY, without fail (at least ONE hill climb) - as in, a minimum of 365 hard slogs up the hill, more if possible (and it should be very possible). No "rest", no "days off", no breaks, nothing (unless I really, really need it due to reasons beyond my control) - just hard exercise EVERY DAY of 2014. Not really all that different from what I did in 2013, but there it is - thats one of my goals.
Make that one of YOUR goals (replace the hill climb with whatever you prefer, of course) - and you'll be surprised at just how fit you are come 2015.
OK - enough for now! To all readers of this blog, or those who "chanced" upon this post - or just everyone, in general, really - have a very happy, prosperous and safe 2014 - and make it the best year yet!
Rahul and family
P.S.: - My new course on pull-ups is disappearing off the shelves like hot cakes - make sure to grab your copy HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/88-getting-better-at-pull-ups-from-dud-to-stud-within-a-matter-of-weeks.
Much has been written around the two words in capitals in today's letter. I bet you've heard talks on this before, and how being more positive is always a GOOD thing no matter what - tomes have quite literally been written on this particular topic.
But while a lot has been said and penned on this, what I'm going to tell you today might be somewhat different from what you've heard - or from what you might be expecting me to say.
First off, those of you that read my emails regularly and have purchased my bestselling Fast and Furious Fitness know that I'm big on breathing correctly, both while exercising and otherwise. I've devoted an entire chapter to breathing in the book, and for very good reason (by the way, if you're still "on the fence" about whether or not to purchase the book - that particular chapter alone will get you your money's worth: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book).
And why exactly is deep breathing - done correctly - such a big deal, some of you might ask?
Well, I'm not going to get into the reasons here for obvious reasons, but from a fitness perspective, deep breathing done correctly is ABSOLUTELY VITAL to increasing your levels of fitness, capacity to perform a particular exercise, and just your health in general. Show me someone whose huffing and puffing an uncontrolled manner through the mouth (sound familiar, eh?) and I'll show you someone whose NOT breathing correctly - and more, someone whose likely selling themselves short on many of the fitness benefits they could be getting with the right breathing techniques.
But today's note is not about exercise - it's about more than that. It's about bringing good things into your LIFE - focusing on the positive - and doing this in a way that's not normally said.
I'll explain more in a sec, but here's what I did today (and do a lot of days).
I went for a long, long walk after my regular lung busting hill climb routine. And I mean long - I deliberately chose all the long walking trails in the area I generally walk - some of them more "deserted" than the others, with a lot more greenery and forest in some areas than the other paths.
I did this NOT to get in more exercise (although I got in some as an indirect benefit) - but rather to take the time to simply "zone out" and "be at one with Nature". And the way this is done is to simply BREATHE in the right way - that means from your diaphgram rather than your chest - and exhale correctly as well.
I thought about my goals and what I wanted to accomplish during this time - but funnily enough, my MAJOR focus was NOT my goals - it was on the greenery and FRESH AIR around me. I was feeling invigorated with each deep lungful of air, and that feeling alone is indescribable; so the "goals" and "thoughts" were a secondary focus, if I might put it that way.
Neither was I even thinking about exercise, calories, leg muscles, any of that - I was simply MOVING my body through space while I was ONE with nature.
At peace with myself - for the nonce - and at peace with the rest of the world as well (again, at least for the nonce).
Breathing in the FRESH, cool air deeply, and exhaling just as deeply - and just knowing that something good was going to happen. And guess what - it did - I received a couple of calls I was hoping would come while I was outdoors, and sure enough, like clockwork, they came right at that point.
Now, know that my "belief" in this case was NOT based upon logic, or any facts. NO, this was a deeper belief - from "within", if I may say so - the sort of thing you just "know" will happen. And it usually does, if you focus on the positive, and really "open" your body's "meridians" up to what is possible.
I was NOT actively "hoping" the call would come.
I was NOT actively "trying to feel better".
The only thing I WAS actively trying to do was be at one with Nature, and to "blend into" the spectrum of positive energy that is everywhere, if we just know where to look for it.
And again, the way you do that is via deep breathing. Sure, you need a degree of solitude and Nature in order to make this possible, but the #1 catalyst at work is deep breathing - THAT is what gets the wheels in motion without you even knowing (or caring).
(And when I say Nature, know that you don't need an entire jungle or mountain - the beach - or the meadows - or the park - or even the countryside - it all works just fine!)
I mean, I was so "blissed out" today from this portion of the walk that I literally had a lot of local Chinese come up to me and smile and say hello, despite my obvious inability to communicate with any degree of fluency in Mandarin. And most of them were focusing on why I felt so good - and with good reason - when YOU breathe - and BELIEVE - then the positivity just flows off you in waves, and affects EVERYONE around you, whether you know it or not.
And the same goes for negative behavior, of course - remember the saying about what one bad apple does to the rest?
Anyway, there's way more to this topic than I could cover in one email or several - but for now, know that this is one of the most important practices you can adopt, not just to achieve your fitness goals - but to literally turn around your LIFE and achieve what you want to.
Yes, you heard me - deep breathing (done the right way) will lead you to greater things than you ever believed possible. And I'm working on a brand new book that will focus a LOT on this topic (amongst others) - be on the outlook for it.
Last, but not least, I realize there will be some reading this note that "pooh pooh" what I'm saying, and dismiss it as just another bunch of hooey from the Far East. And truth be told, if you're one of them, I really don't care - and am not going to spend my energies educating you on a topic you obviously are not open to. It's just not worth it.
Other hand, those of you that have opened your mind up to what is possible KNOW what I'm talking about here - and I'm willing to bet the majority of folks reading this email fall into that category.
OK - that's all for now. I'm going to sit back and relax for a while - back again later with more updates from China!
Well, it's that time of the year again - much love and happiness all around (or at least, there should be). Your kids are probably eager to see what Santa brought them, hehe, and most of us adults are looking forward to plenty of good food, some time spent with the family - and again, thats how it should be.
Sometimes, occasions like this cause us to introspect and think about just whats important in life. 2014 is almost upon us, and I thought it would be a good time to think over how 2013 went, and how I can make 2014 way better - both in terms of life and fitness.
And so I went for a long, long walk today after my hill climb. No tough climbs, no taking the steps three at a time, no lung busters - nothing of that nature. Just a long, peaceful walk through the woods if you would, enjoying the chirping of the birds, the feeling of the sun on my face - just the feeling of being ALIVE, actually.
In short, being glad for the small things in life. None of us lead a "perfect" life (at least most of us don't), but focusing on the negatives only takes away from the joy that the simple (and usually freely available, if one just looks for it) pleasures in life are what count the most.
Just FYI, I often go for long walks like this - not necessarily for any "cardio" (though walking is good exercise), but more to "chill out". If I'm doing this in the woods, then it's usually to "be at one with Nature" and enjoy some well deserved and much needed solitude - and this time really gets the brain cells working, and contemplating. In fact I've had some of my very best ideas while going on long, peaceful walks - can't beat that for sure!
I thought about my family (not currently here with me - so for those of you that aren't able to see family for Christmas, I completely understand you feel). I thought about my baby girl growing up every day - and my wife working overtime to care for her (quite a task without both parents around, and those of you with kids will understand) - and the sheer joy of seeing baby Shristi grow up in front of her eyes (again, those of you with children know what I'm talking about here).
I thought about how glad I am that my daughter was born healthy - and that both of US (wife and me) are healthy individuals with many years in front of us.
I thought about how I'm "lucky" enough to be in a position to be able to do what I am right now on my own terms. Lucky to have a fantastic following on the site, lucky to have some great friends, lucky to be able to enjoy some simple (but tasty) meals every day. And so forth.
I thought about how I was feeling at peace - and at one with Nature, and how these simple walks really make my day - without any expense or special equipment required (and the fitness benefits are a welcome bonus).
In short - the "simple things in life" (or the "small" things in life). Sure, there are areas of my life I'd love to improve (and will improve) and that holds true for everyone - but sometimes, just sometimes, it's good to just "sit back" and just introspect on a relaxed level if that makes sense.
Anyway - that was what I did today - and I highly recommend you take some time out to introspect as well, be it over the holidays or in the New Year.
And in the meantime, back to fitness - remember that the "small things" add up to a LOT over time. You might just be able to crank out two painful pushups now, but keep at it, and soon you'll be repping out 10, then 20, and even more before you know it.
You might not be able to walk an hour without fatigue, but start with 15 minutes, and build from there, and you will quickly develop your endurance to the point you can walk for MORE than an hour without fatigue!
Remember - DOING something is what counts - and doing something is what will keep the pounds off ya during the holiday season.
And one last thing before I end today's note - our 20% off special ends soon - so make sure to take advantage while you can: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products
Ok, that's that for now - I'll be back with more fitness tips later! Merry Christmas to all of you again, and here's to a joyous and prosperous 2014!
P.S: - A lifelong passion (and habit) for fitness is one of the very best gifts you can give you kids, bar none. And we're open throughout Christmas for just that purpose: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book/
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