This post is targeted mainly at men, but if you’re a women and feel you’re in the crosshairs, then what the heck. Here is the deal : If we are going to pretend that we are in fact civilized people with fairly low time preferences and in addition to this want freedom and liberty to pay for our own health-care (among other things), then the first thing we should do is act like it.
And with all we know today about how the body works, and what lack of physical activity does to muscles and general health, there really is no excuse for being lazy anymore. If you are too fat, too skinny, too weak, too stiff or just generally not in shape – what’s your excuse? It’s not important? Only if you want to live a fairly long and healthy life. Counting on public healthcare to take care of you? Don’t.
This has been something that has increasingly been nagging me. Why can’t one just get in shape? Because it requires discipline. People don’t like discipline. We like to goof off. Do whatever we feel like. Be “free”. But free to do what, exactly? Eat doughnuts, get backpain from our white-collar jobs and watch our muscles atrophy from lack of use? Freedom, if not used for anything, is fairly pointless (not that I am saying that we shouldn’t have it anyway – but being free and not doing anything with your life is the worst kind of waste). So I finally decided to do something about it.
I started running a bit last fall, and simultaneously started doing some strength excercises. Since I hate gyms, I figured I’d have to find a way of doing it at home. And luckily, I did. It’s not perfect, but it seems to work pretty well. I actually stumbled upon a standard workout routine when I was looking for paleo stuff. And then I stumbled upon the same routine on another, unrelated place. And again. And people seemed to think it worked pretty well. So I decided – heck – maybe it isn’t much more complicated than this. The concept is generally called “body weight workout”. No machines. Mostly no weights. Just your own body weight.
The basic workout is a mere four exercises (but the options to substitute/add are of course endless) :
That’s it?! In a nutshell, yes. Do it regularly and you will start building bodymass. After you get into the routine of doing it (at least 3 times a week!), you will soon stop considering it a pain-in-the-neck. And the great thing is that for the most part, you don’t have to worry about “overdoing it” and damaging your physique, since you are not using any weights. Just do push-ups, squats, pullups and planks till you literally drop. I began doing them a little each day, but realized instead to do them twice as hard every other day. As I write this my arms have that distinct “spaghetti”-feeling you get from too many push-ups.
And I know, working out SUCKS. No news there. But discipline and a feeling of general health do in fact NOT SUCK. And I am starting to believe that the Japanese (currently reading a book about Budo & Bushido) were right – you cannot have a healthy mind without a healthy body.
But in the end, the most important question is this : What is your excuse? As an intelligent, well-read person why are you too lazy to spend a few hours a week keeping your body in shape? Why do we, in all honesty, expect to earn the respect and listening attention from others when looking at us gives clear evidence that we are lazy and unwilling to commit to something as simple as body upkeep? This may sound harsh, but I actually mean it – if you want to gain any form of influence among others, you cannot look like a slob. And besides, it’s becoming a trend already.
I hasten to add that for those who have weight problems (I generally do not), a good paleo diet may very well be helpful. For those of you following Karl Denninger @ The Market Ticker, you may have noticed that he more or less dropped to half the size, using what I gather was an LCHF-inspired diet. Personally, I have mainly just cut out all the known “unhealthy” food and excess carbo-hydrates and thereafter eat pretty much what I want. Anyway, here is some links if you want to start doing a living-room workout (and not have to go to some pesky gym) :
If you, like me, know that you have pretty much reached your physical fitness peak and your body will there-after be on a slow slope towards old and broken down, the time to begin is NOW!* Okay, so some encouragement might be in place here. After not having worked out properly for 4 or 5 years (occasional swimming was all I did) I started 9 months ago.
Back then, I could just barely do 15 pushups. Now I do 40+40 decline pushups. I could just barely do 30 seconds of planks. Now I do 120+120. I could do three pullups. Now I do 14+10. I could do 15 squats. Now I do 40+40. I am in no way in “bodybuilder”-shape. I just look and feel like I at least give a damn about my health.
And for the record, doing things that feel like they are “too much” builds character. Get to it.
*I am turning thirty. Still many years of good health to go, but there is no denying that the human body is at its peak in the mid-twenties or so.