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Fitness 101

Updated on March 12, 2018

I was talking to a friend of mine recently-we'd both had many of the same Finance classes and would often run into each other at the school gym. He was telling me that his roommate had convinced him to spend the summer experimenting with Doggcrapp(an intense program for advanced lifters). Needless to say I was more than a little alarmed. You have to understand, my friend, let's call him Crazy Mike, is a relatively new trainee and is totally committed to being in shape and trying any program that will help further his goals: Total Body, Single and Double Splits, Westside, 5x5, etc... He's made really solid progress in one year and now weighs in at approximately a buck fifty at a height of 5'9. Anyways, I advised him to put Doggcrapp on the back burner and to instead adopt a simpler but more realistic and effective approach.

Crazy Mike surprised me a little bit when he asked me how I got started. I suspect he was determining whether I was using the classic "Do as I say, not as I do" approach. He need not have worried. His question reminded me of a discussion that I had with another one of my old training partners-my old pal stood at 6'3 and tipped the scales at over 300 pounds. A youthful Santa Claus comes to mind. Anyway,Santa told me that the reason most overweight people rarely seize the initiative and train themselves is that there is an absolute overabundance of information related to getting in shape. He also told me that it's the worst feeling in the world stepping into a gym where everyone is, comparatively speaking, in better shape than you. I agree completely with both of my friend's statements-it's a real drag being a total beginner.

But I digress. Crazy Mike was giving me a very concerned look as I was considering all of these details. I finally came to my senses and told Mike that the way I started training was pretty much the way most lifters start-with a small bench, some cement weights, and a pair of 11-pound dumbells (which I still have). I was lucky when I started-a fellow musician gave me all of the aforementioned equipment and some pearls of wisdom to help me along: Eat plenty of meat, go heavy or go home and sleep as much as possible.

At about the same time I decided to enroll in a Weight Training class to fulfill the P.E requirement for my degree. I still remember our coach admonishing us "Kids, don't waste your money on protein powders, you're just flushing your money down the toilet!" We ignored his advice and continued purchasing the various protein powders offered by Weider. Basically the coach had us do 5 sets of 2 exercises Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for all the major body parts so that a typical program would look like this:

Shoulder Presses X 5
Standing Rows X 5

Bench Presses X 5
Incline Presses X 5

Lat Pulldowns X 5
T-Bar Rows X 5

Leg Press X 5
Lunges X 5

Preacher Curls X 5
Close Grip Presses X 5

That's basically the program in a nutshell performed on alternating days. For us it was M W F. The program is a Total Body approach which is a great starting point for beginners. My training partner and I both gained approximately 20 pounds and all of our lifts increased noticeably. I passed along all this to Crazy Mike and he looked a little disappointed after he looked over the program (which I had written on a napkin). I think he expected something more eccentric, mystical even. The look on his face suggested that the program was fine for out-of-shape advanced trainee like him would require a specialized heavy-duty program that would bring out the Greek god that was hiding within. Stay Tuned...


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