Strength and Fitness Blog
There’s a funny article on the satirical Onion News Network about a guy who can still fit into the car he had in high school 20 years ago. He was proud he was able to squeeze into his ’92 Ford Festiva. Barely.
Back in the day, most people were happy if they could fit into their old clothes from school. But nowadays we’ve become so huge that even fitting into our old cars is a huge accomplishment.
This is funny on a number of levels, but mostly about what we’re willing to tolerate. And getting massive is something we’re more than happy to put up with. Our ever-lowering standards for what we’ll tolerate with our bodies is now becoming a joke.
If you have low standards for yourself then you’ve got to be prepared with the consequences. If that makes you happy, then it’s your choice.
Or, you can have high standards and not put up with misery. Only option is to exercise, get lean muscle and lose flab. Then you can fit into any clothing (and car) you want.
All the best,
P.S. Fitting into your old high school clothes might not be always good. Perhaps you weighed 500 pnds then. Or perhaps you’re now skinny-fat now. At one time you were lean and weighed a certain amount. But now you’ve lost the muscle and replaced it with goo. Just because you’re the same size doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Make your body the perfect size with lean muscle here.
The other day someone asked me how often I worked out.
I actually couldn’t answer the question for a while and had to think about it.
“I don’t work out,” I blurted. “I just play. I go out there and have fun.” I explained that although what I do is the best exercise possible to build strength and a lean body, I don’t think of it as working out.
To me, working out is drudgery, like when I used to go to the gym to torture myself doing bench or curls. Yuck.
Plus, “working out” has the word “work” in it. That to me isn’t desirable. Exercise as work isn’t in my mindset anymore because what I do isn’t work. It’s not suffering or pain, or a drag or boring, or something I feel I’m obligated to do.
If it feels like sacrifice or you don’t want to do it, or feel you should do it, then it’s going to be hard to be consistent and easier to quit.
The more your exercise seems like play, the more enjoyment you get out of your “work outs,” then the more you’ll do it, the better your attitude, the faster your results. Then you just exercise simple because it’s fun.
Results come super fast this way.
OK, so how often should you play (i.e. exercise)?
The answer is, ideally, as often as your body, mind and schedule can handle it.
If you’re a beginner, try one day a week for 5-15 minutes at first until your mind and body acclimate to the new activity. Don’t push it otherwise you’ll burn out.
As soon as you’re ready for more, add another day for 5-15 minutes. Then keep adding time and days. When you ease into it and have an attitude of fun you’ll want to do my exercises as much as possible.
Now you know how often, the next thing you need to know is how.
Stop working and start playing.
All the best,
Years ago I used to religiously watch The Biggest Loser, the TV show where a group of obese people compete to see who loses the most flab for a big cash prize.
It was good entertainment and did show the benefits of exercise and nutrition and how it can change people. The contestants would lose hundred of pounds, which was very gratifying to see.
But I eventually lost interest, mostly because it didn’t really represent a realistic view on the process of getting fit and fatless.
I recently read an article about it which said that the majority of people on the program end up gaining back the weight. Mostly all of it, sometimes more. I thought this would be the case.
If the show were to follow the contestants after the competition ended, the results would be a lot different, and here’s why:
1. Unrealistic approach – In the average person’s typical life, there is little time and lots of stress – relationships, job, family, school, etc. But on the show they live in a vacuum outside of reality. If all you had to do was exercise out of the context of your daily life, then no problem.
But trying to fit what they did into a typical person’s schedule is another matter. No wonder when they all return to their lives they also return to their previous ways. They haven’t really fit the exercise habit into their daily lives.
Also, they had great support for their endeavor: fitness, medical, nutritional experts on hand 24/7. Not to mention that mega cash prize to keep them motivated. This definitely works for TV but who has this in real life?
2. Torture workouts – No one should, let alone could, start off doing such brutal, brutish, barbaric hardcore workouts like these contestants do. I mean, holy crap that’s way too intense. I love exercising, especially going hard, but even I look at these workouts and grimace. Way too much pain. And I won’t even
talk about the exercise selection. That’s a whole different story.
3. Doing too much too soon – Not only are they being tortured but they are doing too much to start with, especially since they’re all extremely obese. I realize this is TV and they can’t show the contestants not suffering. There has to be drama and pain. If they showed how they should really start an exercise program it would be very dull television. But no one should start off doing that much right out of the gate. If you’re lucky enough to not get injured you’ll burn out fast.
All of these are a recipe for recidivism – falling off the wagon and returning to the old bad habits which got you obese in the first place. Worst of all, the person now thinks he can never stay fit so gives fitness up for good.
Getting lean and mean – and staying mean and lean – is possible. But you’ve got to approach it the right way.
Yes, and that way is the Baran Brothers Way. The Baran Brothers Method is the Biggest Winner way and is very different from the Biggest Loser way:
1. Fit the workouts into your life until it becomes habit. Then it becomes effortless.
2. No torture, only fun. Build the exercise habit so that it’s as natural as eating or sleeping, easy as pie. Movement is meant to be natural and enjoyable.
3. Ease into it. Start off where you are and progress from there. This means that if you’re brand spanking new to exercise then go slow, gentle and easy.
Don’t kill yourself trying to get healthy; if you are fit already then Go Animal with a savage, jungle-ized party.
Doing it this way, time spent exercising is enjoyable, the results come quick and they last. Best of all you’ve made a lifelong habit of fitness. This means being lean and mean, fit and young for the rest of your life.
More on the Baran Brothers Method…
All the best,
There’s a funny Seinfeld episode where George Costanza eats his Snickers bar with a knife and fork on a plate. He insists it’s because high class people do it.
Eventually others around the city follow suit and a new trend is born. Next thing you know just about everyone is eating their hand-held desserts – candy bars and cookies – on a plate with a knife and fork. Elaine is the only one who sees the idiocy of this.
This isn’t all too uncommon in fitness. Someone will start a new fitness trend and next thing you know it’ll catch like wildfire. Soon everyone and their grandma is doing it. They don’t know why, nor do they care, but because everyone else is doing it they assume it much be good.
I have no problem with fitness trends. As long as it gets people to move I’m all for them. And fitness trends are sometimes the only exposure someone might have to exercise.
Problem is they don’t stick. Most of the people who do follow trends get bored after a short while then look for the newest thing. This is as true in fitness as in anything else.
Also, trend followers aren’t so much doing something for the results, but rather just for the sake of being in style. When this happens, they’re not so much interested in the ends as much as the means.
Ergo, people quit because usually trendy stuff has a very short shelf life. Even it is legitimately good, if it’s not “in” then it’s “out.”
Thus, it’s always best is to go with exercises that have stood the test of time. Tried and true, real exercises that gymnasts and other athletes have been doing for decades because they’ve been proven to work. No trends here.
Just solid, real world strength and conditioning for the leanest, meanest body around that’ll last a lifetime.
All the best,
P.S. I actually do like eating a dessert like a candy bar with a knife and fork. It slows me down so I don’t shove my face. More importantly it helps me to not take myself so seriously. I think we could all use a little absurdity in our lives.
A few months back, the singer from the pop punk band Green Day got booted from an airline flight for wearing his pants too low – underwear showing and all.
My philosophy is live and let live, but you gotta respect other people’s rules when you’re in their house. To his credit, he did apologize and wore something different for another flight.
But still, the dude is almost 40 years old. I think wearing your pants so low at that age is a little silly, rock star or not.
And didn’t sagging go out of style like 10 years ago when it became chic with the upper crust white kids in Orange County? I remember surfers doing it way back in the early 70′s but now it’s time to retire this trend.
The only people who should be sagging are plumbers, since they’re the ones who invented it back in the 1800′s (Well, okay, I made that part up. But it’s possible.)
This incident of a middle age man behaving this way is a perfect example of trying to be young when you shouldn’t. Let’s face it, youth culture is for the young, not for the “aged.”
When I talk about getting younger I’m not talking about fashion or certain immature behaviors. I’m talking about a young body.
A young healthy strong body which is possible to get at any age regardless of what you have now.
(Ironically, most youth of today are getting flabby and old well before their time so they don’t even have that going for them. So perhaps the term “young” isn’t accurate.)
Anyway, there is a way to get young in body but stay mature and wise in mind. That’s what Baran Brothers do.
We take your middle age body and make it young, strong and lean.
This way you get the best of both worlds – young body and mature mind.
Keep the strong mind, lose the weak body. Go here now…
All the best,
Is congress a bunch of baboons?
There is a popular misconception that a group of baboons is called a congress, just like a group of lions is called a pride or a group of cows is a herd.
But it’s not true. A group of baboons is called a harem. Calling it a congress is meant to poke fun at our political leaders.
Well, I find this joke highly insulting, offensive, disrespectful and degrading …
… to baboons!
I would never consider insulting a group of baboons by associating it with the likes of self-serving, egotistical, pandering, power-hungry, narcissistic, opportunistic blowhards who are only interested in their own careers and couldn’t care less about running this country into the ground.
Just like a group of crows, a group of congressmen should be called a “murder” because they’re killing the country.
Besides, why pick on baboons? They’re incredibly athletic animals. Strong, tough and powerful.
That’s why we took a close relative of the baboon and the toughest monkey of them all, the mandrill, and created a killer animal exercise out of this intense beast.
Our mandrill exercise is one of the most brutal, hard core ab exercises for chiseling strong animal abs. And it’s one heckuva killer upper body exercises, too. Your shoulders, back, chest, arms and abs will build major strength and toughness from a few minutes a few times a week of this exercise.
However, it’s only for the tough and real man (or woman), not the spineless and gutless congressman.
All the best,
As you get older or thinner, you might look in the mirror and ask yourself:
“Dude, where’s my rear?”
This is a common question people ask as they age, and when they lose flab without proper exercise.
Where on earth did my rear end go?
They notice their buttocks losing all shape and size. It’s just a straight shot down from the waist to the legs on their backside.
Their rump region reduces to almost nothing due to lack of movement. I’m not talking about going from huge to normal. I’m talking about reducing down to a flat pancake. There’s no butt to speak of. At all. This is more of a problem in men than in women.
Your gut should not be bigger than your butt. Not only for aesthetic reasons but for health reasons. Your glutes provide lots of stability and strength for movement, whether you’re jumping, sprinting or walking.
The big gut/small butt combo is a recipe for pain – bad back, bad hips and bad knees. Your alignment’s all thrown off, you’re weak in key areas, all of which lead to misery.
If someone does have an ample arse, most of the time it’s an amorphous blob that needs to be shaped and rounded. Again, only proper exercise can do this. You can reduce the size of your butt with diet alone but you won’t be able to shape it.
Get your glutes here. This is for both men and women.
All the best,
P.S. Size doesn’t matter, but shape does. Whether you’re after a Beyonce booty or a dancer’s derriere, what gives it that round shape is muscle. And you can only get muscle from proper movement. Yes, genetics have a part in it, but you can go from flat and flabby to round and toned. Men and women, go here now to get your buttocks.
One of the most gratifying things for me is to hear from someone who’s considered over the hill – which in our Western society is 40 – and act age-inappropriately.
I’m not talking about an 80-year old dude chasing 18-year old girls. No, I mean doing physical things you’re not “supposed” to do at a certain age.
Here’s a note from a 57-year old Scottish man who’s disregarding the common BS that he’s too old, and taking matters into his own hands:
I just wanted to write and thank you for emails and your programs. Over the years I’ve done my fair share of circuit training, sports conditioning. My main hobbies were back packing, rock climbing and skiing. I had got a book on Body weight exercises for phenomenal strength–but they were really just a step too far and I could see no way of getting there.
I then recently got your Gymnastic Abs program. I am impressed. Your approach is for every one, not just the elite. You make it actually possible and achievable. Because I’m starting from a reasonable base I’m making gains in some of the exercises quite quickly, but I have some way to go on others- but at least I’m on the way, and I know with perseverance I will reach the goal.
I was also very gratified that they are not “just abs exercises”. They are far more “holistic” than meets the eye. After 3 weeks I was seeing improved endurance and power when pulling through over hangs on rock climbs.
You and Matt Furey have opened doors for me that I had only dreamt of in the past. Normally at my age (57), folk expect to lose muscle bulk and strength; but I have never been stronger, and my physique continues to develop. I want to still be doing it at 85.
The sense of well being that comes with this is priceless. I also enjoy your realistic advice in you emails which accepts that we are not perfect, but that we can still make the journey.
Thanks so much for writing. You’re awesome. I’m thrilled to see you’re getting stronger and fitter than ever. Most importantly, I’m really happy to see you had the belief to do it. You’re right, most people consider 57 too late for strength. But you defied this BS and proved ‘em all wrong.
Just as the 85-year old German Gymnast Granny did, you’re proving my point that your attitude, not your age, matters. And that health, strength and fitness is for everyone. Stellar work, brother. Keep it up and let me know how it goes. Can’t wait for you to reach the next level.
Whether you’re Scottish (or American or Australian or Asian or African or European), you can gain supreme physical supremacy. Where you’re from doesn’t matter. Only where you’re going does.
Set course for your strongest body yet by going here.
All the best,
Although we Californians didn’t invent road rage, we perfected it to a high art form. Back in the 90′s you couldn’t so much as look at another driver without them pulling a gun on you.
It was the Wild West where gun fights on the highway were as commonplace as cars themselves.
There are countless stories of people getting shot up by some psycho for the simplest of provocations.
A friend once told me how he got into it with another motorist who had cut him off. My friend decided to really anger the other guy so he blew him a kiss. This tipped the dude over so much that he pulled out his gun and waved it at my friend. My friend wisely backed off after that.
I remember seeing a yuppy in his BMW recklessly cutting people off with no regards for anyone else, thinking he owned the road. When the beemer came to a red light, one fellow he cut off got out of the car. This guy was a massive, gigantic Paul Bunyan type. He goes over to the BMW fully enraged, yelling at this guy to get out of the car. The big ape wants to fight so pounds his fists on car and shakes it. Lucky for the beemer the light turned green, teaching him a valuable
lesson about road etiquette. And lucky for Hoss that the yuppy didn’t have a gun on him. You just never know about people.
I’ve learned many good lessons from all the recalcitrant road ragers over the years, and it all applies to fitness:
1. Be realistic – Just because you’re encased in 2000 pnds of steel doesn’t mean that you’re invincible. Like our BMW driver, he wasn’t so tough outside the car, was he.
And just because you exercise for only a week and aren’t perfect yet, doesn’t mean it’s not working. Be realistic about the time. It will happen but it’s a process and won’t happen overnight.
Also, remember that if you do nothing then everything will fall apart. That’s the way it works. Don’t expect to even just maintain what you’ve got without doing something.
2. Don’t take yourself so seriously – Sure you want to take driving seriously and not treat the road like a frat boy on a bender. Be responsible but don’t get so easily offended or indignant. Learn to laugh at the little things.
Years back, one old lady (who couldn’t have been a day under 90) was tailgating me in the slow lane because I was going only 70. She was so enraged that when I changed lanes to get out of her way, she flipped me the bird. It was so absurd I had to laugh; I couldn’t get upset.
Yes, you want to be serious about getting super fit but nothing’s worth getting pissed off about; that’ll just delay your progress.
Having fun with your fitness makes the results happen faster and the ride much more enjoyable.
3. Compassion – Sometimes people are just having bad days. We’ve all been there. It’s rarely personal when people vent on the road. Just let them go and stay out of their way (see #2). Of course some people are just jerks but no need to get involved (see #1).
Most importantly have compassion for yourself. Most people don’t. Whether you demean yourself with words or neglect/abuse your body, you’re not being compassionate. You might be Mother F’in Teresa to others but when it comes to yourself you’re more like Mommy Dearest. If you have any interest in getting stronger, leaner or fitter, you’ve got to be kind to yourself.
So, even the maniacs on the road can teach us a thing or two about fitness, mainly how NOT to do it.
Although you might not want to drive like an animal, you do want to train like one. Why? Because your trip will be fast, fun and effective for getting lean, mean and strong as an ape.
All the best,
P.S. George Carlin once said “Anyone who drives slower than you is an idiot, and anyone who drives faster than you is insane.” That’s some awesome insight. So, don’t be an idiot or insane when it comes to physical supremacy. Be an animal…
Calling someone an ape is a big insult. But I consider it a compliment. They’re the animal most like us, they’re smart, they have societies, they use tools.
But one way they differ is they have super strength.
For example, they once tested a 135-pnd chimpanzee deadlifting half a ton – with one arm! An orangutan is so strong he can destroy a crocodile with his hands. A 500-lb gorilla can easily scale a wall using just the cracks to climb up.
So how do apes get so strong? Sure, an ape has certain leverage and physiological advantages in his structure that he was born with. It’s his nature.
But it’s also his nurture. The movements he does in the wild contribute to his awesome strength of his muscles and tendons. If an ape wasn’t forced to move in awkward ways he wouldn’t be nearly as strong. He’s forced to move this way for survival.
Humans, on the other hand, aren’t forced to move in any way – other than in our cars when we go through the drive-thru at a fast “food” restaurant. Or when using the TV remote control with our opposable thumbs.
But what if humans were to move like apes? Mimic their movements, imitate the motions in the wild, ape the apes. Well, then they’d build tremendous bodies. Your muscles and tendons will grow stronger than any possible way, your body will start looking ape-like: lean, sinewy, muscular.
Sure, no human can get as strong as an ape, but when you do ape exercises you’ll be tons stronger than the average human. That’s a fact.
No fitness course is complete unless it builds ape functionality.
All the best,