This week something a little quick and a little practical.
I get so sick and tired of hearing excuses. And trust me, after almost 20 years as a fitness coach I have heard EVERY SINGLE EXCUSE you could ever think of and then some.
I am going to tell you the truth though.
There are no excuses with any merit. There is always something you can do to positively impact the physical health of your body. Always.
I am not talking about having the flu or getting a major operation and being unable to workout for a short period of time. That stuff happens. A couple of days here or there are a week or two after something major happens is just fine. That is not what I am talking about.
It’s the bullshit people make up to justify why they haven’t done any physical activity in years or even decades. Yes, there are those among us who haven’t done any physical activity besides moving around the house and going to work in DECADES.
Each to their own I suppose.
Today I am giving you a list of 4 exercises that you can do anywhere, that require NO expensive equipment, that can be learned quickly and for free, that have easy progressions from beginner to Olympic athlete, and that I believe every single human should be able to do.
If you do these four exercises everyday for the rest of your life you will maintain an excellent level of physical health. Period.
Yes, it really is that simple. Easy? In our modern day and age, no. Again it all comes down to how much you care about yourself, how much you care about your family and friends, and how much you care about your life.Because if you aren’t taking care of your physical health you are an asshole.
Here are four exercises that everyone should be doing every single day and if you can force yourself to do that you will be fit, healthy, and strong for the rest of your life.
The Turkish Getup (TGU)
Why it is called the Turkish Getup I have no idea! When I am inevitably asked what I think the ONE exercise is that everyone should do, this is it. Everyone should do a few of these every single day.
It requires strength, balance, stabilization, coordination, and cardiovascular health. It moves every single joint in the body through a full range of motion. It forces you to get down on the floor and then get up to standing. It takes up almost no space (I used to do them daily in a narrow hallway).
You don’t need any equipment. While this is often performed with a kettlebell you can hold any weight in your hand. When you are first getting started you might just hold a tennis ball to make sure you are focusing on keeping your grip activated. Then you can progress into a rock, or a weight, or a puppy… anything that is going to challenge you to balance something overhead and keep that arm vertical.
This is by far the best exercise ever. And everyone should do them.
I promise, 90% of people reading this article not only cannot do a single pullup, but you most likely couldn’t even grab a bar, or tree branch, or whatever, hold on and just hand there with just your bodyweight for 30 seconds.
You see, life isn’t like the movies. When the hero grabs someone falling off a cliff with one hand and the falling person has just one hand hanging on as well and then they work together to pull the person back up onto firm ground…this is a much as fantasy as your fav celebrity crush walking naked into where you are sitting right now and wanting to get frisky.
It. Just. Isn’t. Going. To. Happen.
Yet we should all be able to do a single pullup. I’m being nice. We should be able to do more than one pullup. It is a spectacular exercise requiring an enormous amount of upper body strength. Not just any upper body strength but focused on those big beautiful back muscles. You probably don’t know them you over texting fool because all that time spent on your smart phone has so fucked your posture that none of your back muscles are actually doing what they are supposed to be doing anymore.
Start with hangs, then some negatives, then work towards pullups. It might take a year or more to get there but I promise that by the time you accomplish this movement your strength will be through the roof!
So simple. Everyone knows what they are. Yet people suck at them and have a litany of reasons why they can’t do them. Shoulder pain, sore wrists, bad back….yada yada yada.
If you can’t do a pushup you nee to address any of the reasons why and once that is sorted out develop some basic fucking human strength and do some pushups.
Recent studies have found a correlation between how many pushps you can do and your risk of cardiovascular disease. No, doing more pushups won’t save your heart but it does appear that how many pushups you can do is a good general indication of your overall fitness level.
And none of those stupid ‘on your knees’ pushups either! That isn’t a pushup. That’s an assisted pushup and Coach Taylor doesn’t allow them. Ever.
WHAT? But Coach Taylor, YOU HATE RUNNING!
First, yes, I personally don’t like running. I am NOT anti-running. As I ramble on all the time, however, you don’t run to train, you train to run. See the difference? Running long distance regularly is not good for the body, which can be seen pretty easily when you ask any runners to provide you a list of their injuries and aches.
I am talking about short and intense sprints. UNDER 100m. Sometimes just a simple 10m sprint is perfect. Sprinting is different than jogging, oh, it is VERY different. It is an al l out max effort demanding coordinated muscular and cardiovascular power.
Try this: mark a 50m length somewhere you can sprint. Then do it. Sprint as fast as you fucking can like a lion is chasing your ass with the intent to eat you fast from one marker to the other. Rest 10 seconds then turn around and repeat. Do this 20 times.
Let me know how that feels.
Sprinting will develop your cardiovascular system FAR more than endurance activity and it will also build strength, power, and endurance. I cannot tell you the number of distance runners I have added sprint work to, dropped their mileage in half, and watched them slaughter their running records.
This list might not be what you wanted to hear. It isn’t flashy or glamorous. It doesn’t require supplements or fancy equipment I could sell you.
But I can promise you this: do these four exercises every single day for the next four months and I GUARANTEE you will be stronger, fitter, and feeling better. You will be more resilient mentally and physically and you will have a sense of accomplishment that you probably have never experienced before in your storied exercise history.
The truth is that what your body needs isn’t what the fitness industry is selling. Because frankly, there isn’t much to sell and no one wants to buy things that while seemingly simple are also far too challenging. We live in a world of excuses and laziness. We live in a world of chasing shiny new toys every year and forgetting last years exciting new toy. Like somehow we will achieve all of our dreams and goals by simply acquiring that next best thing.
The path to better health and fitness isn’t shiny and new.
It is tried, tested, and true. It is simplicity. It is respecting the very structure and design of that gorgeous mass of flesh and bones you call you and making it move the way it was built to work.
It isn’t hard.
But it isn’t easy.