Rahul Mookerjee

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!

Very best,
Rahul


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/

Tuesday, 24 December 2013 08:42

Taking one step at a time -- or two?

It's a glorious afternoon here in Southern China, and I'm feeling on top of the world. Got done with  my exercises a short while ago, had a great lunch, and I'm still "in the zone" - and will likely stay there for a while longer yet!

Anyway, some of you are probably looking at the subject of this email, and wondering why I need to ask the question in the first place. I mean, I speak about progressive training (as in, one step at a time or even baby steps that add up) in my book, so why I am bringing it up here?

Well, some of you Fast and Furious followers would be justified in thinking along those lines - but hold "yer" horses - what I'm referring to is uphill climbs. As in, jaunts up a tough incline (can be man made or a natural hill - it doesn't matter) with steps along the way.

It's actually a question that stair climbing enthusiasts have asked many times over, and there are many schools of thought when it comes to this particular topic, all of them with varying, but valid (to a degree) viewpoints.

"Do I burn more calories if I take two or more stairs at a time?"

"Does climbing one step at a time provide me with a better workout?"

And so forth - and just in case you don't believe, fire up your favorite search engine, and you'll quickly see that this is quite a commonly asked question out there on the Internet as well.

And I thought I'd add my $0.02 as well - - so here goes. What I'm going to say might ruffle a few feathers, and might not jibe with what "conventional" training wisdom dictates, but hear me out before you judge.

Most "conventional" climbing (or stair climbing) theories would have you believe that two (or three) steps at a time is far tougher and far more demanding than climbing steadily one step at a time. And this isn't necessarily that hard to believe for the average Joe - after all, isn't it easier to simply "schmooze" up the two flights of stairs to your apartment rather than sprint up?

Sure is - but what this advice fails to mention is that hills and other serious inclines are an entirely different kettle of fish, my friend - and perhaps a bonier version of fish than you'd expect.

Anyway, without further ado - my answer is "They BOTH work, and they BOTH have their advantages". BOTH burn calories BIG TIME - but neither one burns significantly more calories than the other, despite what various studies may you have you believe (given certain basic constants) - and this is coming from someone whose a huge believer in making a workout as hard as possible.

I generally climb two stairs at a time, but not because I think it provides any extra calorie burning effects - more because it works the thighs in a different manner from climbing one step at a time - but that doesn't mean it's the only way to skin that particular cat.

To put this in perspective, let's take my workout today. I focused on climbing the ENTIRE hill ONE step at a time today - and during no part of the climb did I climb two stairs at a time even once. And I was at the summit before I knew it, breathing in the cool invigorating air as deep as I could.

"Ah, so it was easy then", some of you might chime in.

Uh, no - not really - I was drenched in sweat much like I am after my "two step at a time" climbs - and what is REALLY going to sound unbelievable is that I actually made it up the hill in LESSER time than I normally do. I know this, because I timed myself - and I clocked in a full six minutes ahead of time.

Not bad, eh?

The main reason behind this was that one step at at a time reduces the "shock" on your thighs, and therefore the rest periods required to continue up the hill - but does that mean it's a lesser workout?

Not a chance, my friend - especially when you consider that I clocked in earlier at the top than I normally would.

Taking the steps two at a time might provide a lot more "burn" in your thigh muscles, but climbing at a steady pace accomplishes the same calories burn, albeit without the "pounding" two steps at a time puts your hips and lower back.

Some of you might say "Well, that's like comparing a brisk walk to a sprint" - but it's not. It might be if we're talking Jane Unfit's one struggle to get up to her apartment on the first floor, but not on the hill I'm talking - no chance.

A sprinter finishes a 200 m sprint much quicker than a person walking at a brisk pace does - and I've always said and still say that the former option is a better one in terms of calorie burn and an overall workout.

However, a long, steep hill is an entirely different ball game (or if you don't a hill, a building with maybe 40 flights of stairs at a minimum).

Run, or sprint, or take the stairs three at a time, and you'll certainly feel the heart pound times 10 within no time - but you'll need to rest as well.

Walk up the stairs (or hill) at a brisk undulating pace (one step at a time), and you'll feel the lungs starting to burn times 5 as well - but this burning will be sustainable over a longer period of time, and you'll likely sweat your way up to the top BEFORE the other guy does.

And just so you know, that is NOT the same as flat land walks/sprints. Climbs (especially serious inclines) force your hips, thighs and lower back to work HARD no matter whether your taking it one step at a time or two - the only difference being that one is more sustainable over a long climb.

I've also found that the "burn" is significantly less during the "one step at a time" climb, not because it's "easier" - but because one step at a time allows me to fully "press" down on each step with the heel of my foot, thereby stretching out the calves and hamstrings with each step (which then share the load of the legs as well).

Taking them two at a time usually means I'm somewhat "on my toes" for most of the climb, and that really kills the calves, and causes way more soreness later.

Now, does all of this mean  you should ignore taking the stairs two at a time?

Not at all, my friend - I sure don't - but what I'd advise is working BOTH the techniques into your climb for optimal benefit.

Climb half the hill in one manner, and switch back to the other during the second half.

Or mix it up - take one flight of stairs two at a time, the next two one at a time, and the fourth two at a time.

It's all good - and it all WORKS!

Last, but not least, know that what I'm saying applies to serious climbs - not the trek up one flight of stairs to the bedroom - you'd likely be better off sprinting that than taking the dowager's "slow and steady" walk up THOSE stairs, hehe.

So, there you have it. Take it one step at a time - or two - but put in serious climbs you absolutely MUST - and it doesn't get any simpler than that!

All for now - if you workout today - make it a super one!

Best regards,
Rahul

P.S. : - My new course on pull-ups is going gang busters - click on over HERE to see what the hoo haa is all about: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/88-getting-better-at-pull-ups-from-dud-to-stud-within-a-matter-of-weeks

Wow, what a busy few days it's been thus far. Seems like I've been in China for years already, when in reality it's only been around 10 days so far. You know what they say - time flies when your having fun, and it sure has "flown" past these last few days!

Anyway, it's been a merry jaunt thus far - getting back in touch with folks I knew here, practicing my very limited Chinese, hehe, drinking my "secret" potion for health and weight loss (for those that require it) in copious amounts, and of course, my jaunts up the hill. Great fun thus far, and I don't expect that to change for the immediate future.

Of course, things are never "perfect" - and the weather sure hasn't for the last two days (and today as well) - it's been raining incessantly over here, making it almost impossible to get out of the house, let alone go for long treks up a tough hill. I generally don't let the weather stop me, but it's cold and rainy outside, and I don't fancy catching a chill trekking for hours in this weather, so I'm doing the sensible thing for once, hehe, and letting the weather even out a little before I venture out again.

And I won't lie - an enforced house stay is never easy - and those of you that enjoy outdoor activities on a regular basis know what I'm talking about. I write in my book about how "I got so cranky if I missed even a day of my daily climb" - and that's spot on - I'm crankier than a hibernating grizzly roused from his sleep right now, and ready to chew nails as it were. Aargh!

Anyway, I figured I'd use the extra time productively, and one of the things I've done is to (finally) get a Facebook page up for Fast and Furious Fitness. The page is still very much a "work in progress", but feel free to stop by and check it out, "like" it, and leave your thoughts/comments - all much appreciated! You can check out the page here: - https://www.facebook.com/fastandfuriousfitness.

On other fronts, I'm also going to be announcing a special offer soon on the site - which will likely mean a discount on all, or at least some of my products. That offer should be up within a day or so - stay tuned for that one!  

And that's the update from here, for now. Back again tomorrow with regular programming - and here's to hoping the rain stays AWAY!

Very best,

Rahul

P.S. : - That Facebook link again is https://www.facebook.com/fastandfuriousfitness; be sure and stop by!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013 11:14

The HILL!

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!

Best regards,
Rahul

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  

Friday, 22 November 2013 09:18

Why doesn't my child exercise?

'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?

It's US.

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!

Best Regards,
Rahu

Monday, 28 October 2013 07:21

How many rest days?

Folks often get confused when trying to "decide" how many days they should actively rest - rest, as in, not go about their regular workout routine on the day.

And truth be told, this isn't an easy question to answer in one syllable (yes/no). There are a lot of factors involved, and the real answers would probably be "it depends" and. . . "it depends".

Yeah, that sounds kinda cryptic, but that's how it is - and I'll attempt to explain a bit.

First off, I'd like to make one thing clear - that one can only achieved the desired results and get to one's goals if one is fully committed to the plan required - be that exercise, or be it another plan to achieve whatever it is you want to. And being committed means STICKING to the plan as far as possible - not procrastinating to "do it another day".

Not saying "Oh, I didn't sleep well last night - bring on the potato chips, beer and DVD's - and let the workout wait".

Not saying you need rest when you don't - and so it goes.

But, having got that out of the way, how does a serious trainee know when it's time to take a break?

Well, there are several "rules of thumb" here which I detail in Fast and Furious Fitness(http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book), and I'll get into some of these in this email as well.

First off, I don't recommend going below a minimum of three days of exercise a week, no matter what the reason be. Hit it hard one day, take a day off, then hit it again the next (perhaps a slightly less intense workout), then rest, and so forth - that sort of routine seems to work well for a lot of folks, regardless of age or level of training achieved.

Second, you must remember that while exercise is an important part of your life, you also have other responsibilities and activities that are just as important and take up as just as much time. So while an athlete with not much else on his/her plate other than exercise might be able to give it his/her all day in and day out, you likely will burn and crash if you try to do the same. I'll expound more on this beneath via a personal example, but remember that you must (honestly) look at your overall stress levels, degree of fatigue, intensity of workout routines and other similar factors when making this decision.

Third, listen to your body. If your truly exhausted even after a rest day, it might mean you need another day of rest - and so be it. If your sick (and I mean truly sick, not a minor cough or something like that), rest and recuperate. Only YOU know what your body is really trying to tell you - and if you really need to listen - so do so judiciously.

Fourth, remember that while exercise is king, diet is queen, and sleep is the trusted court aide that never fails to deliver. 'nuff said on that one.

There's more where this comes from, but you'll have to read the book to get the complete "low down" on this.

So, what do I personally do in terms of rest days? How many days do I work out per week?

Well, the answer is - "it depends, and it's been evolving as things change around here".

Let's rewind a few years back to China (2006 to be exact), when I was single, 25 years of age, worked a full time job that was more of a 12 hour per day job than 8 hours in real terms and didn't follow a diet worth speaking of (more due to necessity than choice, though). What did I do then?

Long time readers know the answer - work out DAILY, WITHOUT fail - and that means climbing a long, steep hill daily without fail. I still get misty eyed when I think of that hill (it's provided me with some of my best memories ever), but to put it briefly - it was over an hour's hike in hot and humid weather, 40 minutes of that on the steep hill. Wasn't any joke, and got me into the very best shape of my life. I followed this up with my bodyweight routine, which I also never missed.

Fast forward to today - and I usually take one, or even two rest days between my exercise days. Don't have the hill here any longer or I'd probably climb that daily even now, but the other exercises I do aren't exactly easy on the body either. But overall, I'm probably doing less volume now than I was then, and I'm resting far  more - and whats more, I'm IMPROVING at what I do. For instance, I hit a personal best of 7 (in one set) hammer grip pull-ups, and this after two days of rest.

Some more "background". . .

Back then I didn't really have any responsibilities other than going to work, and exercising - and I slept like the proverbial log once I hit the hay.  I was 25,single, enjoying life, the ladies, and, ah, I think you get the gist. So even a 24 hour period of traveling, partying and no sleep didn't deter me from hitting that hill come 9AM next morning (yes, thats actually happened!).

Right now, I'm married, and have an adorable little baby girl that takes up most of my time. Sleep is a premium for both Mrs Rahul and me (her more so than me) and we have a lot more to do than simply exercise. Doctor vists, "time with the family", and of course figuring out ways to beat the economic slowdown (something that wasn't prevalent back in 2006). More than enough to deal with, and exercise sometimes just has to take a back seat - not due to choice - but because handling 10 sets of 5 pull ups, for instance, along with other stuff isn't that easy on two hours of sleep and a bawling baby to boot. Trust me on that one.

But, and here's the kicker - I still make it a point to exercise whenever I can (and that doesn't mean once every month).

I still make time for it even though I'm sometimes dead tired and don't feel like even moving.

And I still make it a point to improve at every workout - and so should you, my friend.  

So, thats the long answer to a relatively short question. And as for what works best for you - well, I'll let you figure out by yourself, my friend - because YOU are in the best position to do so.

All for now!

Best Regards,
Rahul

P.S.:- Along with the right amount of rest, diet is of paramount importance, and if your serious about your training routine, then you need to grab a copy of the Simple and Effective Diet ASAP. This diet, combined with my exercise routines will quickly strip the extra fat off you while building durable muscle, superior health and lasting endurance. Grab your copy NOW: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/84-the-simple-and-effective-diet

Thursday, 17 October 2013 19:17

Train "dem" calves

I’ve been noticing some serious muscle growth on my lower legs a.k.a calves these days. And I mean SERIOUS – my calves are getting that “diamond shape” that most body builders lust after – and whats even more important is the functional strength and endurance they add to an already well exercised pair of legs.

Now, if you’ve been reading my notes regularly, you’ll know that I’m a fan of focusing on tough, compound movements for the larger muscles (thighs, back etc) as opposed to “isolating” the smaller muscles such as the calves and forearms. And with good reason as well – working the larger muscles into the ground leads to tremendous overall gains in strength and stamina – and rapid fat loss as well, if we’re talking about regular hill climbs (an absolute quadriceps killer if done right).

But while isolating muscle groups is a huge mistake, it is also important to know that the smaller muscles must not be completely ignored as they are usually the “weak link” in any chain. And as the saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Case in point being weak forearms and thick bar pull-ups – something that a lot of folks can probably identify with, by the way - how would you be able to do these for reps if you can barely GRIP (and hold on to) that thick bar, much less pull yourself up on it?

And when it comes to calves, remember that calves are pretty much the equivalent of forearms for the lower body. Ever seen a really strong and functionally fit athlete, strongman, power lifter or combat sports practitioners with weak and underdeveloped calves?

I didn’t think so – and there are many good reasons behind this.

First, calves “connect” the more powerful thigh/hamstring/butt muscles to your feet. The stronger your calves are, the more power you’ll be able to generate through your legs and core – and the better you’ll do at activities that require functional strength (jump starting a dead car battery by pushing the car around, for example – speaking from personal experience here!).

Second, weak calves are an invitation to injury, especially when paired with powerful thighs and
exercise that require the entire leg to work as a unit. The same thing holds true for weak forearms and powerful upper arms – something that came back to bite me strongly in the backside a few years ago while doing handstand pushups in the form of a nasty bone spur on my left wrist. Yow!

Third, strong calves make it much, much easier to warm up when playing any sort of sport or even before your regular workout. Again, I’m saying this from personal experience – it takes me far less time to warm up before my exercises these days due to stronger and more enduring calves – as opposed to a few years back when I could pound out hill climbs “straight out of bed” like there was no tomorrow, but needed a warm up before a brisk walk or jog on flat land regardless.

So, those are three good reasons - there are more as well, but these should suffice for now.

And so, your next question will likely be – well, HOW do I train “dem” calves then?

Well, pretty much the same way I advocate training other body parts – with tough compound exercises that make you use your entire leg as a UNIT – but simultaneously require you to develop strength and endurance in your calves (with size being a byproduct as well in most cases).

Some simple but incredibly powerful (and time honored) exercises that you can use to build up your calves are as follows: -

-    Jumping rope: A proven way to build stamina and endurance throughout the entire body, but especially the calves.

-    Sprints: Another great, great way to build the calves – and entire body – with one heart pounding, sweat inducing exercise.

-    Jogging in place (if done correctly and at the right cadence).

And while those will get your calves (and legs) in great shape, there is FAR, FAR more to working your calves than simply these exercises – and I plan on devoting a book entirely to calf training in the near future. Be on the lookout for that!

So, that’s the tip for the day. If you plan on working out today – make it the best one ever!

Best Regards,
Rahul

P.S.: - The exercises in Fast and Furious Fitness do a pretty darn good job of “prepping” and conditioning your calves for the really brutal stuff at a later stage – grab your copy HERE: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book

Saturday, 05 October 2013 08:52

What infants can teach us about fitness

Well, it's been a furlough again from sending you daily updates/emails, and this time mostly because of the birth of my baby daughter a couple of weeks back. Yes - you read that right- there's been a new addition to the Fast and Furious gang - a healthy little girl that already seems to be wrapping me around her little finger, hehe.

I also now fully understand what folks say about newborns tiring one out - it's been a struggle (though an interesting one) just to keep up with our baby girl and take care of her at odd hours and such, and handle business affairs, workouts and life in general at the same time - whew!

And so, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about infants and what they can teach us about fitness in today's email.

Most folks, especially those that are hooked on to heavy weights and stuff would sneer at this. After all, what can a 2 week old baby girl teach a "muscle bound" gym goer about fitness?

Well, read before you judge, my friend, and you might just be in for a surprise.

First off, infants and kids (uptil the age of maybe 3 or 4) do the one thing that ALL of us, regardless of shape, size, or fitness levels should be doing - and that is, they BREATHE naturally and correctly. They breathe the way we were meant to breathe, which is from the lower abdomen. And if you've seen a baby sleep, you know what I'm saying. They breathe deeply on each inhale, with the lower abdomen rhythmically rising and falling with each breath, and the chest expanding - not intentionally, but as a side effect of each breath. They do NOT breathe from the mouth - which is another bad habit most adults have, especially when gasping for breath.

Sound cryptic and confusing? Well, I wouldn't blame you if your answer is a big YES - I like to think of myself as breathing in the right way, but I caught myself not doing so just a few minutes after watching my little girl sleep in the hospital. To put in a nutshell, your breath should originate from the lower abdomen - NOT the chest, and it should be a "deep" rhythmic breath that makes your lower abdomen expand with each inhale. Try it yourself after a hard set of exercises, or when you are out of breath, and I bet you'll find you recover far more quickly than sucking in "lungfuls of air" through your mouth in a harried manner.

Ever see an infant huff and puff after a bout of wailing, or a 1 year old out of breath after "running" you ragged around the living room? I bet not - and the reason behind this is deep breathing - done naturally without a second thought, and done CORRECTLY. And that, methinks is "proof enough" for those that believe this method of breathing isn't the right way to do it.

Second, and more importantly, infants (and toddlers) make sure to get in the right amount of movement during the day. Ever seen a healthy infant lie "still" without flailing about? I bet not - this movement is what gets their muscles up to speed for the tasks required in daily life such as walking etc. Easy enough to figure out, huh? Well, take the average pot bellied Joe (or Jane) and have them kick like a baby from the "core" for just five minutes straight, and I bet they'll be exhausted and unable to complete even two straight minutes without a pause.

As for nutrition, well - ever seen an infant stuff itself so full of milk that it can't breathe? I bet not - but I bet you've seen someone stuff themselves full of a calorie laden pizza and barely be able to breathe (let alone walk) after that. 'Tis not the case with infants and toddlers - they instinctively know how much they need to eat and move, and thats something we as adults would do good to emulate in our daily lives as well.

Anyway, those are but a few examples - and YES, we CAN learn how to incorporate some of these practices in real life as adults as well.

All for now - the little one is crying, and it's gotta be Daddy's fault, of course, hehe. . .

Back again soon!

Best Regards,
Rahul

P.S.: - Natural movements are the key to getting super fit in a record period of time - and ensuring those results stick with you for the long term. Click on over HERE to learn about natural movements that can get you to the levels of fitness and flexibility that you had as a kid: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book

Sunday, 01 September 2013 08:03

All that pent up anger

Was working out today in the local park, practicing some one arm hangs, and trying to hold a one arm flexed hang for time. Great, great workout for the entire upper body - especially the forearms, fingers and wrist - and when you can perform this hold for time, you're REALLY getting somewhere.

But, today's note isn't really about exercise alone - it's more about the sort of lifestyle folks lead in today's world, especially those that live in congested, polluted and dirty large cities.

What do I mean by that? Well, let me backtrack a bit. . .

I was moving through my sets pretty smoothly, when I heard an overweight old man "hollering" in the background. Turned around from the monkey bars, and saw that he was endeavoring to get the attention of another guy that lived in the house next to the park. Was raising Cain while at it, as well.

Why, you ask? Well, apparently he had parked his vehicle in the other guy's parking spot, and the other guy took it upon himself to promptly deflate the first guy's tires.

Now, just so you know, I'm currently living in an area where the folks are (by and large) fat, overweight, slovenly - and - yes, you guessed it - stinking rich for the most part, so it's one of those areas where there's more cars than people. Parking space is at a premium, and fights break out often in this so called "upscale" area of the city regularly over parking.

Anyhow, so the first guy was screaming like a banshee at the top of his lungs, and you could see his stomach and chest fat bobbing up and down as he gesticulated wildly.

The other guy came out - and did pretty much the same thing, except he was OBESE - this guy looked like an oversized egg to be honest. A waistline that wouldn't fit into even the most roomy of Victorian sofas, a backside bigger than the moon it seemed, and topped off with flabby arms and chest that resisted even the slightest sort of movement. Reminded me of a beached whale - and NOT in a good way either.

Anyway, these two fine gladiators stood there calling each other names, and the obese guy seemed to be getting the worst of the argument - until he called in his plumper than plump "young" son to support him, at which point the tables were turned - apparently there's strength in numbers, hehe.

And the pent up ANGER these two had - wow. You gotta hear it to believe it, but you'd think that the two had murdered each other families in cold blood by the way they were going on. Geez, simply ask the other guy to move his vehicle, and be done with it. . . apparently they dont think that way though.

They were threatening to beat each other up, but what was really hilarious though that NONE of them were in any sort of shape to do even a single pushup, much less get into a fist fight with each other. Would sort of be like a couple of fat ducks waddling around angrily, each poking their beaks at each other and little else.

Now, think how much better it would be for these two super-sized tubs of lard to actually channel some of that anger into something positive - like maybe some tough exercises? Like, maybe WALK a little instead of depending on the car that much? Maybe use the subway once in a while, and take the stairs while at it? I guarantee you that they'd be better off physically for it - and would actually be in some sort of shape to engage in hand to hand "combat" if there ever was a real need.

And while more activity will whoop your butt into better shape for sure, you'll also FEEL better for it - no better way to release some of that pent up anger and frustration by trying to get yourself into better shape.

So the next time you feel like kicking someone's face in for something relatively harmless, resist the urge - and try a hard set of pushups instead. Go for a brief jog, climb some stairs, heck, do some jumping jacks if you must - just whatever gets you going. And THEN come back and re-evaluate the situation - I bet you'll be a lot calmer and feel a lot better while doing so.

Of course, I realize this advice will slide off most folks like water off a duck's back, hehe, and thats fine by me. But, if you ever feel your emotions getting the better of you - just TRY what I just suggested - and then get back to me on how you feel - I look forward to your feedback!

All for now - back soon!

Best Regards,
Rahul

P.S: - If your looking for ways to blast that lard right off your mid-section, but don't know how to - well, fear not - you can whack that lard right off with the exercises I teach in Fast and Furious Fitness: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book

Thursday, 08 August 2013 07:32

It's raining, it's pourin. . .

Well, it's yet another rainy day here in Delhi - been raining intermittently all night, sometimes heavy, sometimes light rain. Reminds me of Seattle when I lived there for a very brief period. . .or London, for that matter.

Anyway, my first thoughts upon waking up were along the lines of "It's raining, it's pouring. . .", but instead of the "the old man's snoring", my thoughts where "there go my pull-ups. . .".

Now, for the uninitiated, I do my pull-ups and other assorted movements out in the park - so a rainy day makes it impossible for me to get those exercises in. Which sucks, as pull-ups are an exercise I love, and one of the major movements in my routine.

So, I guess I could have done what a lot of folks would have done in that situation - which would be to say "ah, can't do the pull-ups anyway, so screw the workout - will get to it tomorrow". And that sort of thing is more common than you think it would be - and what's sad is that tomorrow never seem to show up for these good folks either.

Anyway, no such thoughts on my end - I actually got a workout in today that not only had me pouring with sweat - but my fingers and forearms feel like mush right now. And even more importantly, I got the bulk of my strength movements done via STATIC holds - meaning you simply hold your body in a certain position.

How hard can that be, you ask? Well, do them right, my friend, and they can be as hard as you want to make them - harder than anything you've ever done  before if you so prefer, and thats no joke.

So, I got in a solid 5-6 minute jump rope session in interspersed with jumping jacks done at a fast pace - 500 reps of the former, and 250 of the latter - that alone would be enough to kick most people in the can.

Then started off on handstand pushups and finger tip pushups - except this time I didn't concentrate only on the reps - I made it extra hard by doing fingertip HOLDS, and by doing the exercises slowly.

By slow, I mean I pause at the bottom of a handstand pushup for a count of 10, and then pushup up - then pause another 10 - and then start the second rep. YOW!

By slow, I also mean I do my fingertip pushups in slow motion, while pausing at the end of each rep. YOWZ!!!!

And so forth. By the way, I talk extensively about fingertip pushups in Fast and Furious Fitness and you can get "yer mitts" on it right here: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/articles/83-fast-and-furious-fitness-the-book

This type of training will cause you to HURT. It will cause you to SWEAT. And most of all, it will constantly ask you to give up - but the point is, you DON'T GIVE UP!

Of course, that is hard to think about not giving up when your shoulders are shaking like tree leaves in a level 5 hurricane - but hard is what makes us tough - and thats what it's all about at the end of the day.

Finished off with some bear crawls and alligator crawls - some of these done on my fingertips - and that was that for the day.

So you see, my friend, you can literally get your workout in anywhere, irrespective of weather conditions, how you "feel", whats going on next door, or what the boob tube has to offer - no excuses, period. Just "git 'er done", and get on with the rest of your day - and you'll be amazed how GOOD you feel after a routine like I just described.  

All for now - back again later!

Best regards,
Rahul

PS: I speak about handstand pushups in the above email - for those that are interested, my new course "Shoulders like Boulders" teaches you EVERYTHING you need to know about this wonderful, wonderful exercise: - http://rahulmookerjee.com/index.php/products/87-shoulders-like-boulders

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