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Training Regimen – Oh my god, why aren’t you doing this?

Posted by on 2012/06/10

So, I’ve gotten a lot of emails/tweets from people complaining that they can’t be motivated to try out the training regiments on this blog. To you I say, “Oh”.

We, almost all of us, are confident that the sun will rise tomorrow, the mail will arrive, the light switches will activate those globes of incandescence above our heads, the tap will spit out relatively contaminant free water, and the barista at the local coffee shop will provide us with a hot cup of caffeine. Every day up until this point, we’ve been able to rely on the mechanisms of society clicking along with minimal interruption.

The whole reason that you’re here is the slight chance that one day, something will go wrong: an alien invasion, a viral pandemic, a zombie outbreak, a social uprising, a global financial catastrophe, a hot war, a sudden catastrophic failure of the electrical grid, a crippling internet virus, skynet, C’thulu awakens, the biblical armageddon, ragnarok, the ending of fight club, the premise of the Matrix, Mad Max, Howard the Duck, whatever…

You don’t have to be afraid of ‘when the shit hits the fan’, but there’s no harm in making a little investment in your physical fitness, just in case. I get it, you’re busy, your schedule is full with work, your relationships, your bi-weekly bicycle photography club, your model ship building hobby, diablo 3, internet porn, catching up on three seasons of Dexter, writing ignorant comments on youtube, posting pictures of food on facebook, and all the other important things you do.

So here’s the simplest, easiest, most convenient training regiment I could figure out and some tricks to motivate yourself to do it.

First, the routine.

It consists of three things.

Push Ups
Pull ups

That’s it. These three exercises can be done almost anywhere, at any time; they can be fit in to any schedule, and require an investment of $30 once in your life, 2/3rds of it is completely free.

Actually doing it:

The first thing you have to do is get over your idea that you need to set aside a specific block of time to ‘work out’. That’s nonsense, you squeeze in a few exercises, whenever you can, throughout the day, starting from the moment you wake up, until the time you go to sleep.

The second thing you have to get over is the idea of ‘sets’ of consistent ‘reps’. Also, unnecessary. All of the constraints we put on our workout provide mental obstacles which deter us from actually doing it.

The third thing you have to get over is your expectation of a drastic change to your physical appearance. If your plan is to look like 1980s Arnold Schwartzenegger, Fight Club Brad Pitt, or 300 Gerard Butler, then you’re just setting yourself up for a motivation wrecking disappointment.

The three exercises.

Push Ups: There are right ways to do push ups, but there are few wrong ways for our purposes. You want to start off facing the floor, and push with your arms and chest until you are raised off the floor, then lower yourself back down. The position of your hands, arms, feet, etc, fuck it. Don’t think about it. Just get down and do a bunch. When you’ve done a few, stop and go back to whatever you were doing.

Squats: Stand up, Bend your knees and lower your butt towards the floor, then stand back up. That’s it. Don’t psych yourself out by worrying about proper form, just do it.

Pull ups: Grab on to something that can support your weight, lift yourself off the ground, try to get your chin up to the level of your hands, and lower yourself back down. If you can’t do it clean, then start with a jump, or use a stool or a chair or whatever to take some of the weight off your arms.

Do this shit throughout the day; whenever there’s a moment you aren’t filling with some other activity, bust out a few push ups, or some squats, or a single pull up.

You’re not ‘working out’ you’re practicing. Each repetition you complete is practice for the next one, or for the situation that may or may not arise in the future when you have to scramble up onto a roof or push a burning beam off your chest (what’s up Christian Bale).


Every time you make an excuse to NOT do a push up, you owe yourself another push up that you have to do immediately.

Buy a Pull Up bar for $18 and hang it in the doorway to your bedroom. Everytime you walk through the door, try to do 1 pull up.

Every time you open the door to your refrigerator, do a squat, every time you get out of a chair, do a squat, when you get out of bed in the morning, do a squat.

You don’t have to make it into a thing. Just do it whenever. Start now, right fucking now. Don’t wait until monday, or the weekend, or a sign from god, just start right now. While you’re reading this post, just stop for a second, hit the floor, do one push up and continue reading.

This one is from my pal Rubin. Get a dry erase board, for $10 bucks. Stick it on your fridge. Draw three columns on it. Push ups, Pull ups, Squats – split those columns into two rows. When you go to the fridge, update the number of each exercise you have done thus far, today. Then underneath it, in the second row, write those numbers again. The top row is how you’re doing today, the bottom row is your all time best. Every morning, when you see that board for the first time, zero out the top row. Whenever you put a new number in the top row that’s higher than the one in your bottom row, update the one in the bottom row, and give yourself a reward, a treat, smoke a bowl, eat a candy bar, get a prostitute, read your favorite bible passage, I don’t care what you do.


You’ll see those numbers going up pretty fast as long as you remember to do these three exercises throughout the day. You’ll notice the changes, not so much in your appearance, but in your capacities.

As you improve, you’ll start to find that you can do 50-100 push ups in one go, or knock out 25 pull ups at a time, or just bust out squats for 5 minutes straight without getting tired. Sounds good, but it may not be that great for your insanely busy schedule that’s been preventing you from working out for your entire life… so instead you can do a few things to increase the difficulty (and reward) for your workouts.

I’m not going to start filling your head with stuff that could become excuses, but down the road, you could try doing your pushups with one arm, or with your feet elevated; you can do your squats on one leg, or holding weights, or you could do your pull ups with a wider grip, or slower, or with feet straight out in front of you… The point is just doing it. Just fucking do it already. Start now. Go.

When the irradiated dragon people climb out of the sewers and burninate your village while zombie gargoyle communist mongols swarm the skies, you’ll be glad you did a few push ups every day. Also, you’ll feel like way less of a wimp the rest of the time.

3 Responses to Training Regimen – Oh my god, why aren’t you doing this?

  1. deanna

    Hu, some training advice I may actually follow :) Thanks. Just to be nitpicky, wouldn’t a bicycle photography club be training?

  2. chance

    It depends, is it like a fight club for bicycle photographers?

  3. ScottyMed

    You should really add planks to this. They are better for you than sit-ups or crunches and they really work your core, not just your abs. Without a strong core, being ready for ravenous moths with poisonous fangs will be a lot harder. All you need to do is get in the push-up position with your forearms flat against the ground and hold it. Just keep a rough count of how long you did, add it up and try to beat yourself the next day. Simple.

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