Why Being Fit in the Real World is Difficult

CRE's picture
M
Rank: The Pro | 36,518

What's good, WSO? I have been traveling a good bit lately and incredibly busy at work, so I apologize for being a bit absentee. To those of you who PM'ed me, I'm going to get back to you soon. I also have some quality stuff lined up including how to better interact with CEOs as a broker and a discussion on the recent financing deals with CRE companies, but alas - the real world calls and things have to be pushed back a bit.

That's a decent enough transition into the following, which took a lot less prep time but is probably effecting a lot of you out there. Yes, it's a repost again, but things getting pushed back due to business and laziness is its main topic:

In college, I don't know about you, but I was absolutely dominating the fitness department. I was big, lean, had a legitimate six-pack and everything. I wasn't too strict on diet, but I at least kept it high protein and avoided sugar and white carbs as much as I could. I wasn't absolutely insane about the gym either, but I at least managed to make it there 5-6 times a week. I felt good, looked good, guys asked me for advice and girls took notice.

Now, as my pants grow tighter without irony or excitement and my shirts loosen up in the sleeves, I'm struggling with the realization that I am no longer that guy. Would I like to be again? Of course. Could I be? Sure. Will I be? That's where it gets murky. You see, there are way too many things as a postgrad guy or girl that get in the way of your ideal physique.

1. Time

The biggest opponent to getting back into shape is time. Three hours of class a day and maybe a couple hours of work or studying cannot possibly compare to two hours of daily commute and ten hours more at work. In college, there were minimal excuses outside of hangovers to not find an hour to make it to the gym. A lot of times I would go simply because I was bored and needed to actually do something. Now, any free time I have is devoted to sleep.

2. Sleep

In fact, sleep is another thing standing in the way. Sleep is when your body recovers and rejuvenates itself, and although college is full of all-nighters and staying up until the early morning, it is also the time of multiple daily naps and sleeping in past lunch. It doesn't matter how late you stay up as a postgrad because you still have to wake up at the same time the next day. Even on the odd night you get to sleep early, you're still waking up 5-6 hours later out of habit and cursing because you're too afraid to fall back asleep and miss your alarm.

3. Energy

Going hand in hand with the lack of sleep is a general lack of energy. Whether you try to work out before work or after work, the only constant is that you will be absolutely exhausted. Your options are dragging ass through an awful workout that only gets you far sweatier than it does fit or taking a pre-workout, and either way chances are you're going to be too pumped up to fall asleep afterwards. So you attack the next morning with all the vigor of a dying sloth, continuing the cycle.

4. Food

As a former fitness buff, I know that getting that ideal physique is about 20% what you do and 80% what you eat. Of course what I eat these days is takeout for lunch because I don't have the foresight to pack one, and order in for dinner because I don't have the energy to cook or the time to shop. Even things that would be healthy if you made them yourself are infinitely worse for you when a restaurant does it. The worst part of this? I'm legitimately great cook, and I actually enjoy cooking on top of that. It's not a problem with ability, it's a problem with...

5. Motivation

Whether it's cooking healthy food or getting to the gym, motivation just isn't there anymore. Honestly, there are few guys out there that don't look great in a suit, so while wearing one every day it's easy to forget about why you would want to work out in the first place. In college, I had intramural sports to dominate, girls to impress, and loads of vacations and theme parties that would "require" me to be shirtless. Now, I don't even know where my summer went, can't remember the last time I walked around shirtless, appropriately or not, and the factors that impress girls have changed entirely.

6. Alcohol

To the horror of most college girls out there, alcohol-induced weight gain is actually not something you can work off with a couple of gym sessions. Alcohol swells your fat cells and can take up to six months to eliminate from your midsection, unlike food, which is more a matter of calories in versus calories out. Didn't I drink so much more in college? I don't even understand this one. I just know it's a big cause, but since I could do it before and it's killing me now I'm blaming it more on...

7. Metabolism

I remember being able to put an entire pizza away like a champ and it wouldn't even phase me. I remember eating plate after plate of pasta and looking no worse off. I remember a point in my college life where I swore I was losing weight too quickly and honestly couldn't eat enough food in my day to maintain. I remember drinking bottle after bottle, case after case, and still living on top of the world. Why is this? Because my metabolism was on fire thanks to youth and an otherwise healthy lifestyle. Now? Full on cow status no matter what.

8. Money

Whether it's gym fees, healthy food at the store, field fees for pickup sports, or protein powder for that recovery factor, everything costs money. Gone are the days of bi-weekly parental stipends and gym memberships covered in your tuition fees. Healthy diets cost substantially more, and there is no walking down to the turf or the basketball court to see if anyone is playing pickup at 3pm on a Thursday. Gyms cost money, leagues cost money, food costs money, supplements cost money, and honestly, we all have bills to pay. Go out and run, you say, because that's free? Don't even. I hated running even when I was fit.

Am I doomed? I certainly hope not, but at this rate I'm thinking I might want to consider developing a personality or growing my bank account, just in case.

Comments (97)

Oct 3, 2013

Haha this is great. And I agree with you on many points. I guess all the motivation we need is when we see 40-50 year old white collars in the gym, it is very doable. Difficult, but doable. I need to get that gym membership asap.

Oct 3, 2013

I just got a gym membership... and go about once a week. Run most of the time because that's all I have energy for, which made me realize that I don't really need a gym membership.

Best Response
Oct 3, 2013

1. cook power food in bulk. Chick, brown rice, mixed veggies...these stay good for a while in the fridge

2. wake up and work out. Another WSO user taugh me this, and it's the truth. Nothing happens after work

3. Protien shakes are for lunch. Add a banana and/or granola. You can pick this up in your building's lobby

4. Use non work time to rest. I've tossed my gaming console, TV, and stereo. I'm considering getting rid of facebook next. This stuff feels good at the time, but in 20 years you will absolutely not care about what current popular media you allowed to distract you.

5. Get back into it with something you really like. I like weight lifting and hockey, as in, I actually enjoy these activities and look forward to the next time I get to excercise. Find something you actually like, or don't totally hate, and then also try to create some type of social environment to help keep you motivated on some level. A close friend runs marathons and she looks forward to the post run dinner with her running mates. Whatever it is you have to do, find a way to circumvent your mind's tendancy to procrastinate.

6. Shop deals. You can spend a literal fortune on supplements, or you can go bare bones for the same effectiveness. A month of protein, plus multivitamins and maybe a preworkout should not cost you more than $100. If you're spending more than that, ask yourself if you really need some exotic blend, or if the cheap (but effective) casiene from Walmart is warranted. And eggs are cheap.

I totally understand how you can have your health suffer, and I sometimes drift into laziness as well. My personal vice is smoking...I quit but end up going back, it's very hard for me. But I know it's worth the effort. Whatever your personal challenge is, you have to realize that maybe you can go a few years out of school abusing your health but it WILL come back to screw you over big time if you don't get it under control.

Good luck

    • 7
Oct 3, 2013

Nailed it. Great post @UFOinsider

    • 1
Oct 3, 2013
UFOinsider:

I've tossed my gaming console

Haha... fuck that.

    • 1
Oct 3, 2013

Totally with you, it's tough to stay motivated. Part of mine (other than being a narcissist) is that my boss plays in an over-40 soccer league, dominates and looks like Don Draper. He'd rag on me pretty hard if I was in worse shape than him.

Oct 3, 2013

Exercise is all about getting in a routine. In college I would go sporadically or in bursts. So far in 2013 I've average going 3-4 times a week for at least an hour. Injuries here and there have been my biggest deterrent to going regularly; now that I've started and committed to going regularly I feel guilty if I don't go, and actually look forward to going each day.

The turning point for me was seeing results and making progress, when working out went from being a chore to being a hobby.

That being said, I still stand by saying fuck cardio.

Oct 3, 2013

I fucking hate cardio. It is the work of the devil.

I swear to myself playing hockey 2-3x a week is enough but in reality it really isn't and I should be doing more.

Oct 3, 2013

What UFO said. Working out in the morning is the way to go. It's the time of day over which you have the most control and it will (a) jumpstart your metabolism, (b) wake you the fuck up. If you have a hard time getting up my advice is to invest in a pre-workout supplement (I do craze or C4), wake-up and immediately take it that way you're forced to go. Added benefit of a PWO is that it eliminates the need for lots of coffee in the morning.

As far as food goes, you're just going to have to suck it up and pay more money for the good stuff. It really is 80/20 diet/exercise so eat a decent breakfast after you work out (protein shakes with fruit and oatmeal are good) don't eat a mcdonalds at lunch and expense a salad for dinner (or at least something with healthy, slow digesting carbs and protein, no pasta). That routine during the workweek should keep you looking and feeling much better than rest of the skinny-fat guys in the finance world.

Oct 3, 2013

Now this is some good stuff!

Oct 3, 2013

I left something out: my room mate just showed me that you can freeze protein shakes. Dude, I'm making gallons of the shit and putting it in individual bottles. That 5-10 minutes making a shake is my least favorite thing to do in the AM. If all I have to do is reach in the freezer and put it in my bag in the morning, that's huge.

Tonight, I'm boozing though, the gym aint' happening tomorrow XD

Oct 3, 2013

What all do you put in your protein shakes? Mine is usually just whey powder and milk in a blender bottle. Takes no time at all.

Oct 3, 2013
riverbaldwin:

What all do you put in your protein shakes? Mine is usually just whey powder and milk in a blender bottle. Takes no time at all.

It's not so much the ingredients, it's firing up that loud ass machine and then cleaning it at 6AM when I'm about 20% fully concious, that's the part I don't like. Being able to pick up my shit and just get moving is what works and once I get moving I'm good. I can not bring myself to order protein shakes from the 'bar' at the gym, I just can't do it. I have this raging hatred of middle aged douches in sweats who don't work out and hang out at the juice bar.

Oct 3, 2013

Agree with most of this but disagree about most guys looking great in suits, by which I mean that you can definitely tell who is really in shape vs. who is not, even in (and maybe especially in) a suit. Suits may look good on most people, but they are people with average physiques looking good in a suit.

Something I'm looking at doing when I start FT is renting an apartment in a building that has a gym in it, and going (as other users have said) first thing in the morning. That being said, this plan won't work for everybody, because it fixes your time problem but compounds the money one. However, if affordable, I think having a gym in-building might be the best thing possible for anyone in a demanding job.

Oct 3, 2013
notthehospitalER:

Agree with most of this but disagree about most guys looking great in suits, by which I mean that you can definitely tell who is really in shape vs. who is not, even in (and maybe especially in) a suit. Suits may look good on most people, but they are people with average physiques looking good in a suit.

Honestly I think that a lot of times really skinny dudes look better in suits than really built dudes. Look at WWE guys or NFL linebackers. Dressed up, they look ridiculous, even with impeccable tailoring.

Or better off, look at Chris Helmsworth dressed up for Thor premiers versus the Rush premier that he lost weight for. Granted he's still in shape, but still.

Oct 3, 2013

Agree completely, but I don't want to be really skinny or really big- I meant that in my opinion, lean, slightly muscly guys look noticeably better than average guys in suits

Oct 3, 2013

It's diet. That is the hardest thing to control. Shit food is just so tasty. You simply can't work out enough to counter this (unless you are a triathelete or something).

But yeah, being a desk jockey sucks. The nice thing to realize is unless you are a totally slob most women will just focus on your ever increasing bank roll vs. your abs.

Aug 30, 2017

Bank rolls and fat rolls.
Sounds like a biggie song.

'I'm jacked... JACKED TO THE TITS!!'

Oct 3, 2013

Over the past two years I've become a huge fan of Crossfit. There's a lot of negative press about it, but that's all crap. Yes if you are a stick figure you aren't squatting 300lbs. Don't lift heavy weights with poor form (ie. check your ego at the door). We do a ton of Olympic weightlifting and I really enjoying the competition aspect of working out in a group as opposed to bicep curls in front of a mirror. Workouts last for an hour, its very efficient. Following the Paleo diet is another great way to cut lbs or get in shape. Some people complain at the cost, around $200 monthly, but when you factor in the personalized coaching you are getting its well worth it. I aim for the 7-8pm class about 4 days a week. As a example this is what we are doing tonight. With a partner complete the following:
a. 6 minutes: One partner is holding plate overhead (45/35lb) while completing below. You may partition as desired. You may not complete reps until the weight is locked out overhead.
50 Double-unders
25 Push-ups
-Rest 6 minutes-
b. 6 minutes: One partner completes a 300m run, while the other partner is completing below
25 Wall Balls
25 Ab Mat-Sit-ups
-Rest 6 minutes-
c. 6 minutes:
250m Row
KB Hold (One partner is holding in front rack position; choose weight)

Oct 3, 2013

Dude, you completely lost your edge with all these weak excuses. Crush the gym in the morning and try to eat relatively clean, it's not rocket science. Also, when I'm drinking alot I tend to lose weight more than maintain or gain.

The one legit item in your list is sleep issues. If you're working BB IB hours and they're as bad as all the posters here make them out to be, then I can see where it would be very problematic. I worked as an IB analyst at a regional MM and the hours were not as slavish. If you're in bed by 11-12 you can get up in the morning, slam a high caffeine pre-workout supplement and get a good session in.

I think it really just comes down to how important is it to you, like anything else in life really.

    • 1
Oct 3, 2013

I find in these my post-consulting days, where I "just" spend around 12 hours or so per day on work and commuting and am otherwise free and in what I now call my hometown, it is possible to maintain a good level of fitness. I can normally squeeze in an hour after work weekdays and very long sessions on the weekend. It can be done. I dont feel dead after 12 hours of work. You can find a lot of time if you just cut TV, Facebook and all that. Also, being ruthless about prioritising (and dropping) tasks is super important. Perhaps surprisingly, I am at a better level of fitness now than I ever was while at college -- certainly recovery after training takes a bit longer, but gone is the insane amount of boozing that is so detrimental for progress, and I am much better at making long-term training plans and following them relatively religiously.

Yes, there is always more work that you could do, and the advisory professions definitely help cultivate a tendency to burn the midnight oil just for the sake of it, but pulling allnighters isnt going to get you a price in the real world; being a consistently strong and reliable producer will, and taking time to pursue interests next to work will put you in the right mindset for that.

I think compbanker shocked this community when he outlined his habit of leaving relatively early when working in PE, which wasnt a problem to performance or perceptions. You can do it too :).

Oct 3, 2013

Why do you keep changing the picture? Haha, change it next to a picture of Triple H.

Oct 3, 2013

Hah, I wasn't the one who changed it. I think the hot girl may not have been front-page appropriate, @TwoThrones & @45c345

I blame that @AndyLouis character haha

Oct 4, 2013

wasn't me, yeah lol why is it a picture of a girl on monkey bars

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Oct 3, 2013

Put the old picture back please.

Oct 3, 2013

In 5 months of diet and strict cardio I lost 40 pounds and am back to where I was, weight wise, at 17. If the motivation is there....you can make it happen. It's very time consuming though.

I'm running a marathon, my first, in a month. Diet is critical though. Very much so. As well as being 15 minutes from work as opposed to commuting over 45 minutes.

Oct 3, 2013

Thread was exactly what I expected.

We even have one Crossfitter. Lol Yeah, because everyone who works 12 hours a day is eager to get home and workout until they yackkk.

I agree with some of you guys in that working out in the AM is ideally how you want to do it. I try to lift heavy 2-3x/week and do HIIT 2x. Heep carbs low and protein and fat high. Done.

HIIT is good if you hate cardio and want to keep your circulatory, respiratory, and endocrine system in check.

I've been doing the grind for a while now...did a lot of research...and think this is how you get the most "bang for your buck."

Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

Oct 3, 2013
DBCooper:

Thread was exactly what I expected.

We even have one Crossfitter. Lol Yeah, because everyone who works 12 hours a day is eager to get home and workout until they yackkk.

I agree with some of you guys in that working out in the AM is ideally how you want to do it. I try to lift heavy 2-3x/week and do HIIT 2x. Heep carbs low and protein and fat high. Done.

HIIT is good if you hate cardio and want to keep your circulatory, respiratory, and endocrine system in check.

I've been doing the grind for a while now...did a lot of research...and think this is how you get the most "bang for your buck."

Good call. I hate cardio. This is I guess the best middle ground

Oct 4, 2013
UFOinsider:
DBCooper:

Thread was exactly what I expected.

We even have one Crossfitter. Lol Yeah, because everyone who works 12 hours a day is eager to get home and workout until they yackkk.

I agree with some of you guys in that working out in the AM is ideally how you want to do it. I try to lift heavy 2-3x/week and do HIIT 2x. Heep carbs low and protein and fat high. Done.

HIIT is good if you hate cardio and want to keep your circulatory, respiratory, and endocrine system in check.

I've been doing the grind for a while now...did a lot of research...and think this is how you get the most "bang for your buck."

Good call. I hate cardio. This is I guess the best middle ground

You should give Thai boxing a shot. I used to hate cardio as well but now train 2 hours a day regardless of my schedule or the extent to which I am sleep deprived. I've been staying away from the weights for the past year. HIIT is great, but I found it extremely boring and that discouraged me from being committed. Getting the opportunity to inadvertently knee a marine in the nuts and get away with it is a totally different story...

Oct 4, 2013

Double post

Oct 3, 2013

9. Priorities. You could have worked out in the time it took you to write this post.

"Not me. Im in my prime"

Oct 3, 2013

Guys want to stay fit so hot girls might consider sex.

If the girl in question is hot enough it's not that 'hard'...or is it?

Oct 3, 2013

Also, when I hit middle age and start to get flabby, I'm going on the hormone replacement therapy and jacking my test/HGH levels up.

Case in point: Dr. Jeffrey Life, MD 72 years old and not photoshopped.

http://drlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/TMM18...

Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

Oct 3, 2013

2nd for Crossfit. They workouts are very hard but workouts typically dont last more than 35 minutes if you are of a decent level of fitness.

Opstar lifestyle, might not make it

Oct 3, 2013

I am a workout fanatic. When I was in college, I followed the typical body building type lifting regimen where I would do chest/triceps, back/biceps, etc. and toss in 1 hour of cardio 6 days a week. I was not looking to get huge, just maintain a nice physique and be able to keep up in intramurals. Fast forward to banking and PE with additional years tacked on to my age, I have found this regimen not to be the best for my lifestyle. I have switched up to more of a crossfit type workout where on days that I lift, I am constantly moving from one lift to the next and always doing different lifts while engaging the major muscle groups. I still lift heavy weights, but I never rest more than 15 to 20 seconds between sets. I also do two days of cardio where I will do a long run/bike/stairclimb/row and then two days where I do a mix of sprinting run/bike/row with push-ups, burpees, pull-ups, and other body weight exercises mixed in. I still work around 70 hours a week so I have committed myself to at least 2 workouts on the weekends (try to go twice a day if possible so it allows for some flexibility during the week). I found that I am actually more defined than in college with this regimen because I am mixing the workouts up and pushing myself to the point where I really want to give up. I don't actually do crossfit, but I like the competitive aspect of it. I just have a hard time believing that you should try to do Olympic lifts as fast as you can do them because odds are that your form will suffer and all it takes is one rep to destroy your back, knee, or some other key part of your body. I am a bit biased because my good friend is a physical therapist and about 1/3 of his clientele comes in with crossfit related injuries.

Diet is probably almost more important because you have a much better control over it in my opinion. You just have to watch what you are eating when feel that your gym seesions are lacking and cheat a little when you are getting in regular workouts.

Oct 3, 2013
Gunga Galoonga Looper:

I still lift heavy weights, but I never rest more than 15 to 20 seconds between sets.

So... you're puking ever time you hit the gym

This is a physical impossibility.

Oct 3, 2013

Not puking, I switch to different muscle groups and am completing my workouts in closer to 30 minutes than 60 minutes.

Oct 3, 2013

i really feel like i hve grooved my diet/exercise thing to a point where its easy:

1) Diet is at least 80%, probably more. Skip breakfast and on normal days consume all of your calories between noon and 8pm. This is unorthodox but it makes it much easier to eat good full meals while still keeping your calories at the right level. It may sound girly but as you get older you need to be aware of what your daily calorie burn is and how much you can eat w/out gaining weight or you will drift fatter. Keep protein up near a gram per lb of bodyweight (use shakes) and avoid processed carbs. I follow this strictly during the week and then on weekends i basically free-style the diet. Read "Eat Stop Eat" for the science behind the 16 hour/8 hour daily fast/feed thing.
2) As long as u arent ingesting too many calories,weightlifting is much more important then cardio. I lift 3x/week focusing mainly on big, compound lifts such as bench, squat, hang clean, etc. These workouts are very minimalist and usually take 30 minutes or so....usually just three exercises, 5 sets/5 reps of each focusing on trying to lift as much weight as possible with good form.
3) I do conditioning because i like to be in decent shape and it gives me a little more room/margin for error on my diet. I stick to very short and intense interval training. Either treadmill intervals or intense bodyweight circuit-type stuff....stuff like burpees/jump-rope/heavy bag punching circuits. I get a lot of it from "Full Throttle Conditioning" by Ross Emanait which is a book written by a guy who trains fighters...highly recommended by me. My conditioning literally takes 10-20 minutes and then i tack on some ab stuff for a total of less then 30 mins...i do these workouts twice per week on the weekdays i don't lift. One day per week, on the weekend when i have more energy, i also go to a boxing gym and do a full workout that usually takes over an hour and probably burns 800-1,000 calories...this allows me to not worry about diet on the weekend.

I am at the same weight i was my senior year in high school, and have been for a few years after having packed on a few lbs in my mid 20s...and i spoend a total of about 3.5hrs per week in the gym which is manageable.

Oct 3, 2013
Bondarb:

Skip breakfast and on normal days consume all of your calories between noon and 8pm.

I was under the impression that skipping breakfast is bad because it slows down your metabolism, whereas eating a little something of anything keeps it humming along...I could be wrong though.

Oct 3, 2013
Going Concern:
Bondarb:

Skip breakfast and on normal days consume all of your calories between noon and 8pm.

I was under the impression that skipping breakfast is bad because it slows down your metabolism, whereas eating a little something of anything keeps it humming along...I could be wrong though.

What he's referring to is called/similar to "leangains". Check this out if you're interested... http://www.reddit.com/r/leangains

Jan 30, 2014

You should give the bulletproof intermittent fast a try, undoubtedly the best addition to my morning routine: http://www.bulletproofexec.com/bulletproof-fasting/

Oct 3, 2013

For those of you who prepare your own lunches, what do you usually make? Chicken and wholegrain bread is getting a bit dull....

Oct 3, 2013

I agree with a poster above, that sleep is the big issue (I'm not working banking hours, and thus I have more time to work out). I'm expecting some flame for this but what are some suggestions for having the motivation to get up and work out instead of getting that extra hour of sleep? With so little hours of sleep anyway, whats the strategy?

Oct 3, 2013

@"CRE", that's one hell of a commute. If you cut it down to 15 minutes each way you could lift for 45 minutes and do cardio for 45 minutes.

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Oct 3, 2013

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Oct 3, 2013

I hit the gym before work. It isn't too exhausting after you get in the groove but that might take a couple of weeks. Then again I'm working only 70 hours a week and my commute is only 5 minutes.

Oct 4, 2013

Guys, any chance smbdy could shed some light on diet/food thing?

  • MVP
Oct 4, 2013

Wii Fit!

Oct 4, 2013

What supplements do you guys use? I never used anything but protein to be honest, but once I stopped even doing that, I actually got much better gains. Watch this:

Anyone use steroids?

Oct 4, 2013

I didn't read every comment on here so not 100% sure if it has been spoken about but read the book 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris. The guy is an extremist when it comes to his eating but there are some really good take aways from it that can be used by every day guys. A couple that I have used over the last couple years have been to consume 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up and to drink at least 12 oz. of room temp water within 5 minutes of waking up. They both jack up your metabolism asap and when I drink the protein shake or make some eggs as soon as I get up I am not even remotely hungry until lunch. Clothes all fit better in the morning as well when I don't eat carbs and get all bloated. You'll be taking some massive dumps around 8:30, thats my favorite part.

Oct 4, 2013

I subscribe to the school of highest return on investment. Thus:
- to get lean, don't overeat. A healthy fit male will burn 1800-2200 kcal a day. Anything above gets stored, anything below is fat or muscle burn. Below 1200 or so you hit your starvation level, at which point you will eat muscle first (to reduce burn) and get cravings and binge eat (to store for further starvation). Doesn't really matter what you eat, try to spread it into meals every 4h or so. It's hard initially to chuck half a double cheeseburger, but it pays.
- to get big, the most efficient way I have seen so far is Mike Mentzer style high intensity training. Go to the gym once a week, for 10 minutes, hit 2-5 machines just once, do 5 seconds positive, 5 seconds hold, 5 seconds negative never letting the weight rest, aim to reach muscular failure within 45 seconds (20 seconds if you are an advanced lifter). Many fail simply by not being intense enough. Muscular failure comes roughly 5-15 seconds after your limbs start shaking uncontrollably, this method of training is hard on the mind, go slow with the big weights, bouncing them can cause injury. You should aim for 2-5% improvement in weights, or 5-15 seconds in time to failure, per week, if you are not reaching it, you're not using high enough weights. At some point you hit a plateau and it's more like 1% a month.

I know a half dozen people who train exclusively like this with no other exercise, have been doing it for 2 years, love it for one reason: 10 minutes a week. Many lifters tell me "but you should try method X or Y or crossfit mixed with boot camp or whatever and these magic shakes" but for me to change systems would involve it having returns high enough to justify spending more than 10 minutes a week exercising.

Oct 4, 2013
EURCHF parity:

- to get big, the most efficient way I have seen so far is Mike Mentzer style high intensity training. Go to the gym once a week, for 10 minutes, hit 2-5 machines just once, do 5 seconds positive, 5 seconds hold, 5 seconds negative never letting the weight rest, aim to reach muscular failure within 45 seconds (20 seconds if you are an advanced lifter).

This program Menzter designed (along with Heavy Duty) are very controversial you should mention. Many people believe Mentzer was basically losing his mind toward the end of his career and was prescribing a program that was very sub-optimal. Mentzer was already a top pro before he started on these radical HIT programs.

Human beings do not require 7 days to fully recover from a strength training session.

I have found that high frequency is the best approach for building size (for strength only 3x a week is prob best). Keeping intensity high is very important and using loading and deloading, high volume and low volume, periodization, and other protocols will help you not fry your central nervous system.

Oct 6, 2013
adapt or die:

This program Menzter designed (along with Heavy Duty) are very controversial you should mention. Many people believe Mentzer was basically losing his mind toward the end of his career and was prescribing a program that was very sub-optimal. Mentzer was already a top pro before he started on these radical HIT programs.

Human beings do not require 7 days to fully recover from a strength training session.

I have found that high frequency is the best approach for building size (for strength only 3x a week is prob best). Keeping intensity high is very important and using loading and deloading, high volume and low volume, periodization, and other protocols will help you not fry your central nervous system.

Whilst I thought the HD II program (detailed in his last book) was not ideal - with three workouts a week being too many, several reps in one session meaning the reps were not intense enough, and attempting to target different muscle groups failing to take advantage of putting the body into an exhausted state - I thought he was going in the right direction right til his heart attack, by consistently increasing intensity and reducing duration.

Still, whether Mentzer was a pro or on steroids (which I think was probable) does not make his ideas less valuable, even if the ideas were not fully there yet. He developed them on his clients, after all, not himself.

I think much of the opposition to HIT(I use the term loosely to mean "hard stimulus, 1 week recovery") type training comes from the gym industry, who benefits from longer sessions and more sessions per week (with fuller gyms, more expensive memberships and upsell of side goods like drinks), and from people who enjoy working out for its own sake.

My evidence for HIT is thus:
- the half dozen people I know who practice it properly, i.e. by exhausting themselves once a week with high enough weights going to real failure, keep making progress years into the training
- the people at work who used to think I "drank the Mentzer kool-aid" made no progress (one for the past two years), and wasted large amounts of time at the gym doing hours of volume
- the studies and people who failed HIT (such as the rowing group who tried it experimentally for 6 months) clearly - from the notes of their program, or from my observations - did not go to failure during training nor did they have a proper recovery period after. I actually attended a HIT-focused gym with MedX and Nautilus equipment, no music, and trainers who wrote your training programme for you, and most people did something like 10 machines in a session which is insane if you are trying to go to failure (5 is the maximum a beginner can handle, an experienced bodybuilder, 2 or 3).

I did read various studies and books on the various types of exercise but from my personal observation, the evidence is clearly in one camp. As a civilian with little interest in gym culture, my only concern is how to get to my goal (a more powerful, fitter body) in the least amount of resources wasted and so far I have not found better.

Regarding recovery periods, I would agree with Mentzer that 7-10 days is optimal. Trying 4 days I made no progress (usually went down) and hurt myself pretty bad. 7 days is sometimes too little particularly after a very hard session the previous week. I also see little evidence against the idea that all humans are built the same and thus that there is such a thing as an optimal training programme.

Finally, as a former endurance athlete, I found that my performance somewhat increased after a year of HIT with no specific other training. In particular running uphill and cycling were much easier. This lends credence to the idea that a stronger body gets tired slower, thus improving endurance, and going against my former creed as an endurance athlete that He Who Trains 2h A Day will place well in the Ironman.

Oct 4, 2013

And to add onto my HIIT comment. Many people who are unfamiliar with HIIT think its like some form of cross training or whatever. The best HIIT exercise is sprinting. It's kind of hard for me to do now - in NYC. Back in college I would sprint from one of the football field end zones to the other. Like a tall, lanky, white, and slow Adrian Peterson. Walk back and do it again. If you are doing it correctly, and at 100%, you'll have nothing left in tank after only a few rounds.

VO2 max shoots up, resting pulse rate goes down, insulin resistance goes down, and your legs actually get bigger rather than gaining the Kenyan cardio build. Best of all, it takes 15-20 minutes tops.

Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

Oct 4, 2013
DBCooper:

And to add onto my HIIT comment. Many people who are unfamiliar with HIIT think its like some form of cross training or whatever. The best HIIT exercise is sprinting. It's kind of hard for me to do now - in NYC. Back in college I would sprint from one of the football field end zones to the other. Like a tall, lanky, white, and slow Adrian Peterson. Walk back and do it again. If you are doing it correctly, and at 100%, you'll have nothing left in tank after only a few rounds.

VO2 max shoots up, resting pulse rate goes down, insulin resistance goes down, and your legs actually get bigger rather than gaining the Kenyan cardio build. Best of all, it takes 15-20 minutes tops.

Great point about sprinting, probably the most underrated workout. It also raises testosterone unlike long bouts of steady state cardio which reduce it. All you need to do is look at the olympic athletes who run the 60M vs the guys who run the mile. Too many people believe training for long distance runs is the best was to change body composition.

Oct 5, 2013
DBCooper:

And to add onto my HIIT comment. Many people who are unfamiliar with HIIT think its like some form of cross training or whatever. The best HIIT exercise is sprinting. It's kind of hard for me to do now - in NYC. Back in college I would sprint from one of the football field end zones to the other. Like a tall, lanky, white, and slow Adrian Peterson. Walk back and do it again. If you are doing it correctly, and at 100%, you'll have nothing left in tank after only a few rounds.

VO2 max shoots up, resting pulse rate goes down, insulin resistance goes down, and your legs actually get bigger rather than gaining the Kenyan cardio build. Best of all, it takes 15-20 minutes tops.

^^^^

Highly effective, time efficient and builds up your metabolism over time.

Sprint 20 yds, walk back, sprint again. Do this for about 20 minutes giving it 100%. Beats the hell out of watching The OWN channel for an hour on the elliptical. However, you can't look at cute girls butts. Only downside :(

Oct 4, 2013

This topic is all about finding the small things that fit into your current lifestyle that offer great time/energy ROI. Here are some things that make it pretty easy for me to keep up:

Nutrition is key. If you are eating out, Chipotle burrito bowls let you load up on protein (2x meat) with good carbs (beans only, no rice). At home? Buy a $50 shrink wrapper from Amazon and cook in bulk. Shrink wrap about 20-30 min after you finish cooking, and then microwaving in the bag keeps your meats juicy, not dried out. Also, crock pots/slow cookers - there are tons of "muscle chili" recipes out there that will give you the most bang for your buck, in terms of saving both time and money. Reheat and enjoy. Also, if you suck at cooking, remember that there is nothing that a little (or a lot of) hot sauce and cheese can't fix.

Supplements: Whey protien, multi vitamin, fish oil, BCAA powder, creatine. In order of importance. Buy the first, and if you can afford more, work down the list. Also, buy he best deal on Amazon. If you are worried about the label, you're doing it wrong. (One extra supplement that works well for sleep - ZMA. More below.)

Sleep- Everyone is different, but for those on this forum, 5-6 hours/night. Get 8 when you can, but not necessary. When your goal is to just be "fit" and avoid a gut, then you don't need crazy recovery. That's for the muscleheads throwing around serious iron working for maximum strength and/or hypertrophy. Take a half-dose of ZMA (full dose is good for 8 hours), and throw on a sleep mask. This let's you get better quality sleep during your 5-6 hours.

Workouts: When you want to lift heavy, 1-2 times a week heavy compound lifts (squat, bench, DL) for 5 sets of 3-5 reps. Then go do some auxiliary lifts for higher reps. Next, buy a jump rope. Most boxers (Butterbean excluded) are fit as hell. AND, it travels well. Plus, it will make you more coordinated and athletic. Order a 50-lb kettlebell and swing it around, press it, curl it, whatever (for KB swings - you should only feel it in your butt and hamstrings. And for God's sake, stop at eye level). Also, good call on the sprinting! Would you rather look like Justin Gatlin or Usain Bolt, or a marathoner? Stop with the distance running. Get your heart rate up for 20 min every morning, and then if you get around to a full workout later, great. If not, then at least you won't feel like you didn't do anything at all.

One extra hack that is pretty sweet - check out John Berardi's self study on Intermittent Fasting. Do the once a week fast. Easy to adhere to, and effective. Truly stimulates awareness, and in addition to the crazy hormonal, HGH, and fatloss benefits, it is a great practice of self discipline. I go Tuesday dinner to Wednesday dinner.

I think I saw somewhere that a bodybuilder would take off his shirt and look down at his stomach every time he sat down to eat. It reminded him to keep control of his food choices. Maybe you don't go that far, but for me, once I became acutely aware of what I was eating, I just made better choices.

"I keep my eyes on him. Then once I see a chink in his armor, boom, one of his eyes may move, and then I know I have him." - Mike Tyson

Oct 4, 2013

@"CRE" how much do you travel for work?

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Oct 5, 2013
Silent Guardian:

@CRE how much do you travel for work?

Honestly not that much at all, which is why the three trips I've been on lately have been rather disruptive.

Oct 4, 2013

DO NOT USE MACHINES.

Stick to compound movements: Deadlifts, Squats, Power Cleans, Pull-ups, Push-Ups, Renegade Rows etc. Push as much as you can with good form.

Dumbell curls, hamstring machine etc are for bodybuilders who have time to spend 4 hours a day at the gym.

Athletes especially MMA fighters keep workouts short and explosive.

Secondly, download GSP's rushfit program and do the conditioning and explosive power workouts.

My routine per week is this:

1 Session Strenght (Heavy Lifts: 5-5 Squats, Deadlifts,etc.)
1 Session COnditioning (Light but fast workouts based on GSP)
1 Session Explosive Power (GSP's explosive power workout)

AND YOU DO A 10 MIN STRETCHING SESSION EVERYDAY, regardless of whether of workout.

Diet wise: Must have the following supplements if you don't have time to get feed 10 servings of fruits + 10 servings of veggies.

PHD Pharma Greens
GNC Mega Multivitamins
Flax Seed Oil
Cod Liver OIl
Coq2 Pills

Plus if you are lifting heavy:

Creatine
Glutamine (for recovery)
Glucosamine
and

of course whey protein.

Now a very good trick in banking is this:

Buy a blender and put it in your office kitchen. Once a week, when you do groceries, buy a couple of bags of frozen fruits and Whole wheat Muesli.

Now every morning and evening dump the fruits and whole oats along with 40g of protein and you will have a wonderful meal right. 80g of protein right there.

So this is it. I am an analyst and I have somehow managed to implement this regime. There are weeks when it is just impossible due to time constraints but discipline and work efficiency can get it done.

Hope this helps.

Oct 4, 2013

With a proper diet and a well designed 2 day program (Sat, Sun) you can maintain and even gain.

I could envision a proper diet sucking but heck Chipotle bowl with rice, steak/chicken, lettuce, tomato and fajitas tastes great and is healthy as heck. Stay away from the salsa and cheese. Even ordering in is easy to be healthy, two slices of pizza is fine. You can do it if you want to, it's just not easy.

Oct 5, 2013

I'm a huge fan of the rowing machine now. Great full body cardio workout while still working your upper body - much more enjoyable than running.

Oct 6, 2013

I slowly get in shape from January to end of Sept, Oct to December I get fat as it's my birthday, thanksgiving, christmas, etc.

Just prioritize. Trust me go sloppy for 3 months and the desire wil be there. It's early October and I've stopped working out since 1st week of Sept due to injury and I need to get in shape. My metabolism has certainly slowed down.

Do it slowly and gradually. 1st of week of January, or perhaps sooner like a week after my birthday I'll slowly get back into it. 3-4 days of working out and slowly adding cardio, and randomly taking a week off every 8-9 weeks. I'll be back in very good shape in 10-12 weeks and in excellent shape by the middle of the 4th month. I try to maintain that and even improve a bit for the following 4-5 months.

Oct 6, 2013

There is so much fucking broscience in this thread.

Being fit really is simple: workout very hard - yes, that includes tons of cardio. Eat healthy. Eat lots of protein. Get your sleep. All this detailed shit is a waste of time, that people on this site do not have time for. For those who say they don't do cardio, you probably look big but in a fat way. People who get shredded without doing cardio likely spend a shit load of time every day lifting and eating right. Do cardio.

    • 2
Oct 6, 2013
droking7:

There is so much fucking broscience in this thread.

Being fit really is simple: workout very hard - yes, that includes tons of cardio. Eat healthy. Eat lots of protein. Get your sleep. All this detailed shit is a waste of time, that people on this site do not have time for. For those who say they don't do cardio, you probably look big but in a fat way. People who get shredded without doing cardio likely spend a shit load of time every day lifting and eating right. Do cardio.

Completely agree.

Oct 6, 2013
droking7:

There is so much fucking broscience in this thread.

Being fit really is simple: workout very hard - yes, that includes tons of cardio. Eat healthy. Eat lots of protein. Get your sleep. All this detailed shit is a waste of time, that people on this site do not have time for. For those who say they don't do cardio, you probably look big but in a fat way. People who get shredded without doing cardio likely spend a shit load of time every day lifting and eating right. Do cardio.

fucking this.

Progressive overload (bench more in 6 months than you do now)
+
a type of cardio you will stick with a couple times a week
+
eat a few hundred calories above or below maintenance level depending on goal
=
physique you desire

very simple. it just takes patience and repetition

Oct 6, 2013

You're right, most nutrition advice is broscience. Hard evidence? Gatorade institute, t-nation, or jssm dot org. The OP seemed to be on the lookout for some input regarding his specific concerns tho, and I'm sure somewhere in the thread someone will find some inspiration to get their heart pumping. Good call on the call for protein + cardio minimum requirement. Heart disease is a mean mother

"I keep my eyes on him. Then once I see a chink in his armor, boom, one of his eyes may move, and then I know I have him." - Mike Tyson

Oct 6, 2013

I hope that no one in this thread thinks HIIT is bro-science - and that there aren't more efficient ways to get better physiological changes than traditional "cardio."

Bro-Science?

Read up.

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=high+intensity...

Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

Oct 6, 2013

i share a lot of your pain, CRE. One thing I just recently started doing is biking to work. I know not everyone has the luxury to be able to, but I was surprised, and you might be too, how much a 30-45 min bike ride just to get to work (I shower at a nearby gym after I get there all sweaty) not only wakes me up and actually energizes me for the day, but also helps rev the metabolism, if only a bit.

Oct 6, 2013

frequency + consistency are key. you don't even have to know what you're doing if you're consistent (assuming you don't work out like a total pussy). same thing with diet -- you just need to consistently keep your calories in check. macros don't even matter that much for most people.

Oct 7, 2013

The toughest part is scheduling the time and then the initial month of going, once you get into the habit it gets a lot easier.

Give me a kid whose smart, poor, and hungry...............

Oct 7, 2013

Tabata! 4 minutes of excercise that makes you want to puke helps you burn more calories all day. Check youtube for vids. Also, dailyburn.com has streaming yoga/cardio/abs etc. Easier to do in the morning than go to the gym.

Oct 7, 2013

Something that's been working for me is to focus on frequency, not time per session. I'll run twice or so a week, but will usually just do two or three miles as fast as I fucking can without stopping. Only takes half hourish, and has without a doubt increased my strength and muscle mass (probably from increased testosterone). Other days just lift for 45 to an hour taking as few breaks as possible. Lots of super sets....whey protein...works well for me. No idea what this HDII business is, but if you played sports you should have a pretty good idea of what works for you

Oct 13, 2013

To those that hit the gym before work: how early do you get there? Do you eat breakfast before or after?

I've read pre-workout supplements + coffee is a bad idea? Can anyone provide some color on this?

Oct 13, 2013

Wake up 6:45, eat straightaway, arrive gym 7:30 (roughly 10 minute walk), 45 minutes gym, arrive home 8:30am, leave for work 9am (15 minute walk).

Basically I eat, allow 45 minutes for food to settle then go. Shower when I get home (not at the gym), get changed straightaway and head out to work. Protein shake right after workout when I get home.

Oct 13, 2013

Wake up at 5. In the gym by 5:15. Workout until 6:30. Shower, breakfast, etc. and leave at 7:20. No preworkouts or caffeine.

Oct 14, 2013

Wake up around 6 and depending on how I feel I may throw down a preworkout drink and maybe a quick snack (peanut butter, cranola, rice cake). Get to the gym by 6:30, home at 7:30. Protein shake, shower and leave for work at 8

Oct 14, 2013

working out after the job, damn tough

Oct 14, 2013

Is it better to eat breakfast and then workout or vice versa?

Snootchie Bootchies

Oct 14, 2013

Follow up question for you early risers: what time do you go to sleep?!

Oct 14, 2013

I aim for 12, but it's usually a little later.

zee4:

Is it better to eat breakfast and then workout or vice versa?

I have food after my workout. I really don't want to cook and smell eggs when I can barely keep my eyes open. Once I'm in the gym, I wake up a lot and suddenly have tons of energy.

Oct 15, 2013

If I do the gym in the morning the latest I prefer is 11.

Oct 14, 2013

@"CRE", what is your non-protein calorie to protein calorie ratio? You might be over leveraged.

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Oct 14, 2013

I try to be in bed by about 10:15pm for best results. The pre-workout/caffeine as soon as you wake is the key for me to rev up.

Oct 15, 2013

Two words...PERFECT PULL-UP

Oct 15, 2013
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