Minimalist Exercise

This week I developed a workout plan based around simplicity and efficiency. My goal is not necessarily to lose weight, but to become leaner and stronger in a healthy way that won’t take up all of my time. After lots of research, I came to the conclusion that a high-weight, low-volume approach will help me move towards this goal most efficiently. Along with many other corroborating sources, I’ve found several of Martin Berkhan’s articles on leangains.com very thorough in explaining the science and research behind the effectiveness of this approach. I won’t get into all that now, since I am certainly no authority on the topic and I don’t think it’s necessary for me to rehash here what is more thoroughly explained elsewhere. I enjoyed Berkhan’s great description minimalist training and his explanation of Fuckarounditis, a no-B.S, confrontational, yet hilarious diagnostic tool by which I concluded that I am no stranger to the affliction and needed to do something about it right now. Go ahead, I challenge you to take the test.

To help me achieve and sustain the general goal of becoming leaner and stronger, I made these two smaller goals:

1. Some type of physical activity every day for at least 30 minutes (going for a walk, stair climbing, cycling, dancing, yoga, home workout, weight training, hiking, etc. etc.)

2. Weightlifting session 2-3x per week: bench press, weighted squats, chin ups, deadlift, triceps extension. (Heavy weight, low reps)

I also decided on these ultimate strength goals, which are looking pretty lofty after my first session at McFit (Friday) on this new weightlifting plan:

1. DL: 220 lbs (Currently I’m at whatever weight the bar is. That’s right, just the bar… no weights… ha ha)

2. Chin ups: body weight x 3 reps (Currently I’m at body weight – 110 lbs x 6 reps)

3. BP: 110 lbs (Currently, 11 lbs)

4. Squat: 180 lbs (Currently, 11 lbs)

5. Triceps: 120 lbs (Currently, 55 lbs on the pulley machine)

As you can see, I’ve got QUITE a ways to go and have no grand delusions about my current strength status. But everyone has to start somewhere. The most important thing is that you do start. My glutes and chest especially are pretty sore right now, and I like it.

What I love about this minimalist approach to exercise is that it’s freeing. I don’t need to spend 6 days a week at the gym to see results. I can use this time to do other things I love, and 4-5 days a week I can choose whatever activity floats my boat to get some exercise, and I only have to commit to 30 minutes at a time. Yesterday I took a long walk in the snow for about an hour, and today I did the one-room cardio workout from backonpointe.tumblr.com that got my heart racing. Both were very enjoyable.

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One thing I’ll miss about Deutschland: the wide designated pedestrian/biking paths everywhere. Most American “sidewalks” are nothing compared to these.

Next week I’ll write about my minimalist approach to diet.