Getting in shape isn't easy. Especially for those who have neglected their health for long periods of time. The health choices you make in your daily life either act as a detriment or catalyst to the other aspects of your well-being. With so much snake-oil in the fitness industry, knowing where to start can be daunting.
Crash diets, complicated workout programs and lack of access to fancy equipment can be overwhelming to a beginner. It's understandable and trust me I've been there. My sophomore year in high school at five foot nine I weighed 245 pounds and couldn't run a full lap on a track without stopping and gasping for air.
After many failed attempts and disappointment, I was able to crack the code. Through sweat, pain and perseverance I was able to lose 80 pounds and keep it off for going on 10 years. Since then, I've been able to pack on some serious lean mass as well. Truth is, I was making a mountain out of a molehill. Like I said, getting fit isn't easy. But it isn't complicated either.
The key to building a solid foundation in the gym can be summed up quickly. It even has a neat little acronym, so you don't forget. K.I.S.S.
KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID
Yep. That's the key. If you're beginning your fitness journey from square one, it's vital to apply this mindset. Simple not easy. Now I will dive into my 6 favorite exercises for a solid base that will reignite your primal instincts and optimize your masculinity.
No surprise here. In the weight-room, deadlift is king. Loading up that bar, bracing your whole existence and exploding from the floor is a feeling like no other. The ultimate mass gainer, deadlifts require an unmatched level of focus and dedication. This lift is sure to build strength, size and power throughout your ENTIRE body.
If you're new to deadlifts, ease into it. Make sure you focus on proper form and execution prior to loading up that bar. The majority of the injuries I've seen in my years in the "Iron Palace" occur when people deadlift incorrectly. Be explosive and precise with your movement. And as a beginner DO NOT EGO LIFT! That's a surefire way to snap something up.
Another absolute staple to any fitness program. Squats are absolutely necessary to maximize gains and optimize your masculinity. Other than building up the glutes and quads, this exercise will serve as a cornerstone for overall strength.
Stimulating these large muscle groups using compound exercises like squats will also serve your manhood well. Studies show that high intensity squats performed within the right rep ranges can induce a very beneficial endocrine response.
Again, focus on form and execution prior to loading up that bar. Once you're familiar, get low and let those primal juices flow!
Overhead Press (OHP)
OHP is the ultimate upper body test of functional strength. It requires a strong core and a solid base. Building up a respectable OHP will definitely benefit and fill out your upper body.
You might have heard of terms like "boulder shoulders". It is a cliche term that gym bros throw around to describe the roundness and fullness of a developed shoulder. Few things are worse than having weak, bony shoulders that make your shirts look saggy and wet.
Looking good in your daily attire is extremely important for a young man trying to play the field. Developed deltoids and traps are the key to filling out that ill-fitting shirt. Use this exercise to broaden your presence and improve your noticeability. Shoulder Boy Tell'em!!
Well duh. Of course, the almighty bench press has to be included in the list. The main question you will hear from someone who asks about your numbers in the "Torture Chamber" will be, "what's your bench?"
Rightfully so. The exercise is so effective at building mass and size that it has remained undisturbed since its inception. And it's never going anywhere. Also, an exercise where injuries occur regularly, make sure you're warmed up and primed before you get after it.
Focus on firmly planting your feet on the ground, digging your lats into the bench and push your confidence and expectations through the roof!
Probably my favorite exercise on the list. Pull ups are unparalleled in their ability to build functional strength in your back. We are primates. The ability to pull yourself over obstacles was at one point a matter of survival.
Pull ups are hard for a beginner. Especially if you're struggling with your weight. Use resistance bands or weight assisted machines to build up your back until you can execute them on your own.
It requires no equipment other than something to hang from. I regularly do pull ups on the tree branches in my back yard. So, I don't want to hear any crap about not having access. Pull up and show out!
So, you've been able to put on some muscle and you're starting to look tougher than a 2-dollar steak. Thats great I'm happy for you. But if you haven't built up that cardio it's not worth the paper you wipe with.
Muscles are cool and all and it might even prevent some people from trying you. But if you're ever in a situation where you have to defend yourself or your tribe, a lack of cardio will get your butt kicked. Fatigue makes cowards out of men. Don't let that possibility exist.
36 square feet is all that is required to annihilate your soul with a burpee routine. No excuses. Hit the deck, do a powerful push-up, explode to your feet and touch the sky!
DO NOT WAIT!!
I know the task of getting in shape can be frustrating, overwhelming and misleading. But the intestinal fortitude a man can gain from repeatedly destroying himself in the gym is something we desperately need. The mental clarity a man can gain from pushing his limits on a daily basis can move mountains.
My philosophy on fitness is concrete. When you make the hardest part of your day voluntary, everything else ain't s***. Get up, get moving and make your health and strength a top priority. Your masculinity depends on it.