If you’re among the many guys who isn’t fit, have you ever really asked yourself why? As in, seriously sat down and thought of a good reason why you’re not taking care of your body? Chances are you have not. I know, because for most of my life I simply convinced myself I didn’t enjoy physical activity and so skipped it. It’s only since I turned 30 that my views changed.
Being fit doesn’t mean spending countless hours in a gym. It doesn’t mean huffing and puffing and wishing you could just die on the spot. What it means is taking basic care of your body. Humans do require physical exertion. Doing that in a controlled environment is greatly beneficial.
Still don’t want to shell out $50 per month for a gym membership? Don’t want to lift heavy things only to put them back down? Abhor the idea of running without a destination? Here are five out of the box tips that can help you get fit while avoiding traditional means.
1. Work out like a convict
In popular cinema we often see scenes of prisoners working out in rugged-looking gyms. While many prisons do have gyms, inmates do have plenty of time to kill in their own cells. It represents a chance to get in functional workouts. I’m not suggesting to go get convicted of a felony, but you can learn something from the minimalism of prison cell workouts.
The Convict Conditioning program gives you basic bodyweight and callisthenic exercises that you can perform anywhere, at any time. You can, for instance, do a few of these exercises immediately after waking up. Then you can do another couple at lunch, and a few more yet before dinner. You won’t exert yourself too much, since you’re doing only two exercises at a time. Yet you can build real, functional strength that will help keep your body in shape.
2. Keep up with the news
How can you get fit by sitting at your computer reading news sites? You can’t, of course — at least not directly. You can learn a thing or two, though, and if you’ve paid attention to technology news lately you’ll see that there have been a huge number of fitness-centric devices hitting the market. These devices won’t make you fit, but they’ll make it much easier to reach that goal.
Devices like FitBit (which my father-in-law swears by) and Jawbone actively measure your activity level. Drop below, and you’ll know that you’ve done poorly. Do well, and you just might find yourself motivated to keep up the streak. As a bonus, these devices also monitor your sleep, a benefit you’ll see in greater detail under number five.
3. Walk it off
Think that getting fit and losing some of your beer gut will take rigorous exercise? Think again. It doesn’t take that much effort to get your body in better shape and perhaps drop a few pounds. Studies have shown that walking can lead to weight loss if done in a regimented manner. When was the last time someone complained about walking? Even if it burns just 300 calories, that can go a long way when spread over a long enough time period.
Want some anecdotal evidence? My father-in-law felt he was overweight, so he took two actions. First, he limited his beer consumption to Thursdays and Saturdays. Second, he started walking a mile every morning. Fast forward three months, and he looks like a completely different person. He inspired many of his friends and family to get aboard the walking wagon, and we’re all much better off for it.
4. Stand up and shout
If you’re like most guys, you work sitting down at a desk all day. It’s comfortable enough, to be sure, but did you know that you’re doing your a body a disservice? Here are just some of the negative effects of sitting down all day.
- Cutting off circulation. When you sit all day, your glutes don’t get enough blood.
- Muscle atrophy. When you sit, your psoas are always in a contracted state. This can lead to atrophy.
- Lethargy. Ever find that it’s harder and harder to stand up the longer you sit? That’s no coincidence.
- Poor posture. It’s basically impossible to stay in proper posture all day long. You start to slump, which can cause all sorts of bone and muscle problems.
The answer is to join the increasing number of people enjoying standing desks. They do require a bit extra effort, since you stand for a good portion of the day. But at the same time you’re strengthening your core muscles, which will make you functionally more mobile. You’ll also avoid the maladies listed above. Some people have even reported improved sleep when they stand more often.
5. Go to bed early
One of the most difficult transitions for many guys is learning to call it a night. We like to think that we’re still invincible 20somethings who can maintain a party lifestyle even as our responsibilities grow. That might work for a few years, but eventually it catches up to you. As it turns out, that beer gut might not just come from the beer you consume. It comes from the lack of shut-eye.
A lot happens when we sleep. We produce testosterone, for one, which plays a role in the fat-burning process. Low testosterone can lead to belly fat and man boobs. We also recover physically from the previous day. If we fail to sleep enough and don’t recover, our bodies respond by consuming more muscle mass. A body with less muscle mass has a harder time burning calories.
That’s not even to mention the energy benefits, which can stoke your metabolism and help you burn fat. So even if you’re not hitting the gym, make sure to get plenty of sleep. With that alone you can fend off some of the body fat increases that come with age.
Trent Jacobs is a rabid tech enthusiast who loves everything from the latest server software to the most up-to-date iPhone rumors. He blogs at TechBreach with a few friends.