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 Home fitness made simple... 
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Post Home fitness made simple...
The New Year brings with it a virtual army of well-intentioned aspiring “hot-bods” all of whom have no clue what that newfound aspiration entails. Since my return to work the questions have been nearly endless ranging from “What exercise gets rid of love handles” to “If I stop eating breakfast, how soon can I be a size 2 again?” Well, seeing as how you’re a FOURTEEN NOW… let’s say never?

The truth is that fitness doesn’t have to be hard, we make it that way. For some reason we’ve developed the mentality that it requires some fancy gizmo or contraption with more cams and pulleys than an ancient Egyptian construction site to get us into shape. Nothing could be further from the truth. In theory a person should be able to develop a respectable physique simply by flexing their muscles as hard as they can repeatedly. The body can’t make the distinction as to what has caused the contraction, nor does it care. Muscle contracts and the body responds. End of equation. Which brings me to the most commonly asked question this year, “The gym is to *expensive, crowded, far, etc*, but home gym equipment seems so pricey. How can I workout at home on a budget?”

It’s easier than you think.

Lately bands have become all the rage and for good reason. They work quite well. However, many are put off by the feel of using a band since its constant tension and elasticity are strange to us and regardless of the effectiveness of the bands people turn their noses up. We are, after all, creatures of habit by and large. We want things that feel familiar, safe and we have a hard time adapting to things that are foreign. Fair enough. So where do we go? How about the fridge?

Milk Jug Dumbells:
An empty milk jug is the single greatest piece of home workout equipment ever accidentally invented. As soon as its empty, rinse it out and set it aside. When you have several pairs (I recommend at least 3 pairs to start, more is better.) we can begin.
With some water or sand or even gravel, fill the milk jug a bit and then using that dreaded bathroom scale (I finally found a POSITIVE USE for that damned thing), weight your milk jug. You want a pair that covers the slightly lighter end of your ability, your midrange and the upper end. For example, someone just starting out may want a 2.5 pound set, a 5 pound set and a 7.5 pound set (Yes, it’ll hold that much. I’ve seen them hold as much as 15 pounds with ease. Gotta love plastic!). As you grow stronger you can increase your weights to perhaps 7.5, 10 and 12.5 pounds or 5, 10, 15 if you prefer a greater range. This will all depend on the substances used to fill the jug as, clearly, a gallon of gravel will weigh more than a gallon of water. Once you’ve filled your gallon to the proper weights, return the cap tightly.

At this point, those of you more artistically inclined can go so far as to paint each set a different color or get creative with labeling. I simply scribble the weight on the container with a sharpie and call it a day.

The handle on the jug serves as a great handle for most exercises but some of you will want to do things using a fixed bar, or barbell. That’s easy too. Any hardware store will sell lengths of thick dowel rod. A 1” diameter dowel rod should do quite well for what I’ll describe but a good old fashioned broom stick can work as well depending on how heavy you want to go.

Fill two milk jugs to the desired weight and set aside. Take your broom stick or dowel rod and some regular old duct tape or even masking tape and tape off the ends tightly and be generous. This helps increase the strength at the end and helps ensure the wood doesn’t split when we move on to the next step.

Once you’ve taped the ends take an ordinary house-hold nail and drive it in just slightly in from the edge of the tape so that the nail pierces the tape itself. Try to get the nail all the way into the wood without poking out the other end.

Now, slide the broom stick or dowel through the handle of the milk jug so that the jug is on the ‘inside’ of the nail. Take your tape and secure the jug in place just to keep it from sliding around. There you have it, a barbell. Total cost should be nothing as you more than likely have these things available already. If you fill each of the jugs used to 15 pounds you now have a 30 pound barbell. But what do you do with it?

Dumbells can be so versatile. Nearly any motion we perform throughout our day can be turned into a workout of sorts simply by adding weight to it. For example, grab a kitchen chair (no, not your comfy recliner out of the living room, it has to be a fixed, non-reclining, non-soft and squishy chair), set it somewhere you have a little room. Grasping your dumbbells in each hand and letting your arms hang naturally at your sides, simply sit down. Immediately stand back up again and repeat. I say after fifty of those your arms, shoulders and legs (for a beginner) should begin to burn quite nicely.

Now, take a seat in the chair. Use the dumbbells you have in your hands and slowly curl them up with your palms facing inward. This is called a hammer curl. Lower the dumbbells back to your sides and then lift your arms straight out to the sides until they are parallel with the floor so that you resemble, for lack of a better description, a large letter “T”. Lower the dumbbells and repeat. Twenty-five of those should get your biceps, shoulders and traps working more than a little.

Now stand and grab your barbell. With the milk jugs on the ground, grasp the bar with the widest grip possible, palms facing toward you. Slowly stand pulling the weight from the floor (be sure to keep the knees flexed slightly). Once in the upright position, pull the weight upward toward the chin as high as possible and then slowly lower the weight back down to a hanging position and from there, lower to the floor again. 25 of those should have your lower back, hamstrings, glutes and shoulders on fire.

Add to this some simple pushups, jumping jacks and some crunches and the answer to the initial question is: “Quite easily”.

Workout equipment doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. In fact, it can be very basic and nearly free as long as you can be creative about it. Ultimately, however, regardless of equipment, the greatest tools for reaching your fitness goals are consistency and determination. The most expensive equipment in the world won’t make you a smidgeon more fit by just sitting in your living room, nor will it help you if you only use it twice a month. For long term success fitness endeavors need to be easy enough to do on a regular basis and simple enough not to become yet another chore we dread doing. With some small modifications to the number of reps or the introduction of sets, the workout I described can be done nearly every day in roughly thirty minutes if you move from one exercise to another without long rest periods. I recommend doing a set of 50 jumping jacks in between each of the exercises I described to keep your heart rate elevated and get your body burning off those calories. Finish out with a set of pushups to failure and a set of crunches and you’re done for the day. It doesn’t get easier.

If budgetary concerns were keeping you from starting a workout plan, we’ve just seen how those can become almost non-existent. The only thing stopping you now is… well… you.

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Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:02 am
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Post Re: Home fitness made simple...
Thank you! :)

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Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:37 am
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Post Re: Home fitness made simple...
F-Bomb wrote:
Thank you! :)




You, my dear, are welcome!

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Listen here sonny, there aint no disaster.
There aint no shame in bein' beaten by a master!
~ Johnny Lang - Rack 'em up


Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul.


Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:41 am
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Post Re: Home fitness made simple...
How often should I whack around my tallywhacker before I have forearms like Mikey?

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Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:34 am
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Post Re: Home fitness made simple...
Mikey great read brother. You are so old school like me its a riot. Man when we were in the service we used to use water cans whole we were inthe field. That was of course until I bought a weight set for my conex lol


Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:40 pm
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