Browsing Tag

Relentless Roger

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How 52 Push-ups Becomes 22,344

Consistency. I beat that word like a dead horse. Consistency produces results.

What does consistency mean in practice? This recent self-challenge helps illustrate:

  • Complete 52 push-ups on a Monday in any way you choose. Rinse and repeat for 6 of 7 weekdays. Grand total: 312 weekly push-ups.
  • Complete 53 push-ups for 6 of 7 days the next week. Grand total: 318 weekly push-ups.
  • Continue the process of adding a push-up to your daily total each week. Do this for 48 out of 52 weeks of the year, taking 4 full weeks to either rest or break up the monotony with something completely different.
  • End result exactly 1 year later: 100 push-ups per day. Grand total: 600 weekly push-ups.
  • Cumulative end result: 22,344 push-ups.

Now it’s your turn! It’s an official challenge.

Rules of the Challenge:

  1. Choose an exercise that makes sense for you. I chose push-ups based on chest development and personal interest.
  2. Choose a starting point that makes sense for you. Pick an attainable number that does not produce significant soreness. 52 push-ups fit the bill for me.
  3. Vary your daily set structure. Chop it up in baby sets of 5 or two larger sets. Perform the sets in close proximity or far apart throughout the day. Experiment with variety and don’t sweat the details. (Note: Avoid leaning too heavily on grinding max sets, as they’ll increase soreness)
  4. Practice perfect form. You have thousands of cumulative repetitions to understand the exercise better and ensure it’s done perfectly every time.
  5. Use your rest weeks… but not necessarily to rest. I advocate changing up your motion patterns from time to time, as it will help with overuse injuries. 4 “off” weeks are built in, so use them to do anything except [your exercise].

One final thing. Choose an exercise that travels well. Push-ups can be done anywhere, anytime, anyplace – no excuses. I successfully took my 53 push-up week on a beach vacation! Simplicity and ease of access mean you’ll get the job done without added mental stress.

That’s it team.

How simple is this? 52 push-ups equates to about a minute per day. 100 push-ups (the end of the challenge) equates to two minutes per day. You can perform them at work, on the road, or at home. You can perform them in a suit, athletic gear, or your underwear.

What is the reward? Your upper body and core benefit. You’ll look and perform like a push-up champion. You’ll have a newly ingrained habit that translates to infinite other wellness behaviors.

Are you willing to pay the simple price of consistency for disproportionate results?

Go get it.

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The “Secret” to Mass Building

Here for your benefit is an email exchange I had today with a friend. While it only scratches the surface of a popular topic and prefaces a drill-down into specifics, it’s a window into a sound philosophy. Magic pills and more-is-better are short-term strategies. Resist those avenues and focus on your fundamentals for results that last. Unmodified cookie cutter plans are also short-term strategies. Practice self-awareness and adapt them in the name of consistency and personal interest.


I just started working out again (probably since college) with the goal of putting on some size.  Any workout schedules/tips would be a huge help – I’m kind of making it up as I go.  Also, I know there’s a ton of BS with supplements – but wanted to ask if you had any recommendations before I go into GNC and get worked over by a sales rep.


Your strategy to put on mass is simple and two-fold: (1) increase strength volume and (2) increase eating volume. I know that sounds outrageously minimal, but it is the time tested formula. Allow me to expand…

ANY improvement over your current baseline (what you’re currently doing) produces results. Period, end of story. The actual results depend on your programming and level of improvement. Too little produces a minimal change. Too much crashes and burns you over time.

Strength Volume:
Start slow. If you’re picking up from way back in the college days, begin with 2x/week total body strength with ample rest between workouts. Include upper body pushes and pulls and lower body presses/squats/lunges (pick one) and deadlifts. 3-ish sets of each, 8-12-ish reps per set. Keep it vanilla. Focus on redeveloping your fitness habit and using strict form. Feel free to conclude each workout with the bro muscles (arms, calves, etc.) you’re interested in and a challenge along the lines of a farmer’s walk.

Get several weeks under your belt before advancing. When you advance, you’ll have a decision to make. How many days do you realistically want to workout and how singularly do you want to focus on size? The answers to these questions determine whether you begin splitting up the body and whether you layer in conditioning work (sprints, etc.) We can always revisit then.

Eating Volume:
Keep it simple. Eat more. You’re also lean to begin with, so don’t skimp. Stay well rounded and prioritize a blend of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. If you can handle lactose, a fantastic post-workout beverage is grass-fed full fat milk. Which brings us to…

Keep them simple as well. Most are junk. Protein and creatine are the two backed by data and geared toward your needs. I don’t like getting crazy with creatine quantity, and if I’m using it I’m on 5g/day. Here’s my preferred protein due to quality, simplicity, and its blendability (I doubt that’s a word).

Bottom Line:
The harder you hit the fundamentals, the stronger your house’s foundation. The simpler you keep things, the more likely you’ll see the project through. Go get it.

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Exercise is Overrated

Are we too tied to the concept of “exercise”?

It comes with a host of expectations.  Exercise _ times per week.  Exercise _ minutes per workout.  Exercise at _ intensity.  Exercise in _ format.

Ironically these criteria can create pressure, which in turn create excuses.  This is a crazy week, so I’ll pick it up next week.  I only had 20 minutes, so it wasn’t worth working out.  I didn’t feel up to it, so I bailed.  My trainer wasn’t available, so I’ll get after it next time.

Studies and data back up a useful point to internalize: the most important variable is that you do something – anything! – consistently.  Almost anything (safe) performed above your current baseline produces positive physical results.

The exception to this is the athlete/competitor tearing after aggressive goals.  Yes, this requires detailed, personal, and progressive programming.  But let’s be honest – how many of us fit that description?  Not many.  Most of us want healthy bodies that we can be proud of without requiring huge sacrifices on the personal and professional fronts.

Your takeaway is to forget “exercise”.  Take the pressure off, and strip away the expectations.  Try “movement” on for size.  It’s a comfier fit.

Now re-assess those excuses.  Any movement you fit in during the crazy week helps.  20 minutes is hugely beneficial.  When you don’t feel up to it, take a walk.  Any trainer worth his or her salt will provide an at-home/outdoor routine to keep you on track, so just ask!

Take an honest look at your lifestyle – your profession, your family, your recreation.  Instead of forcing in exercise, find opportunities to seamlessly integrate movement.

Have a walking conference call.  Go to yoga with your neighbors.  Play a game of Ultimate Frisbee.  Hike with the dog.  Engage your best friend in a push-up challenge.  Engage your family in a Fitbit challenge.  Choose to take the stairs.  Use the free workout videos on your cable package (did you know I have some of those?)  Hold a plank a day.  Do a pull-up every time you pass the bar in your house.  Do 10 squats from your computer chair every half-hour you’re seated.  Learn a Turkish Getup.  Lift, run, bike, swim, row.

Start simple.  Move.