Taking The First Step

Not this kind of push-up ^ . . . . . . . . . . this kind ^ 


You’ve made the decision to improve your fitness and own your body. Now where to start? Let me offer this suggestion:


Get on the ground, hands shoulder width apart and legs straight. Now do a push-up. Done? If you are not strong enough to do a push-up then go ahead and keep your knees on the ground to do a girl push-up. Has everyone completed their push-up? Congratulations! You’ve just started along your path to fitness.


Now, I hope I don’t sound condescending, but it really is that simple. Too many people waste countless hours shopping for flattering workout clothes, checking out gyms online, and conspiring with faceless internet forum trolls, in an effort to kick things off just right. All this before they ever do a single push-up or even go for a walk.


But that’s not you because you just did your push-up, right?


Seriously, if you do just one push-up right now you have already gone so much farther than the always-planning-but-never-doing crowd. Now imagine if you do two.


You see where I’m going with this. The best way (I would say the only way) to get started working out is to work out . . . whatever that means to you. Go jog a lap around the block, do 20 jumping jacks, pump some wicked bicep curls while standing in front of the mirror bro. Just do something . . . TAKE ACTION!


Can starting with a single push-up really lead to meaningful change?


Let me tell you a story about this guy I know (ok, he’s actually me, but you would have figured that out). So this guy who had once been fairly active had fallen into the same rutt as everyone else. Out of pure convenience he ate nothing but processed microwave “food”, drank too much beer, and sat until his ass was soft and flappy. Despite looking 5 months pregnant and feeling like crap he was content to carry out his meager days eating frozen burritos and bon-bons.


Then one day something odd happened. Whilst reminiscing about his glory days with a young fit coworker of his, his coworker challenged him to a pull-up contest. Having nothing better to do while at work (he sure as hell wasn’t going to work, after all) he accepted the challenge and off they skipped, hand in hand, in search of a suitable beam to hang from. Once said beam was found the contest began and, of course, the guy got his ass handed to him by his younger fitter buddy. No surprise there.


The next day he was so sore he could barely move his arms. His back felt like he’d been beaten over with oars by an Ivy League rowing team. Yet he kinda liked it. Exactly one week later he challenged his friend to another pull-up duel. Still sore from last week’s hurrah, he nevertheless managed to pump out several more pull-ups than the week before (though still getting his ass handed to him).


The next week this guy decided to add a few sets of push-ups following the pull-up contest (which he still lost). Knuckle push-ups on the asphalt, no less. If you’re going to be punishing yourself then you might as well do it right, he figured. And once again he was so sore he couldn’t wipe his own ass for days. But the following week he was back at it and stronger than ever.


And a remarkable thing began to happen. After each contest he would grow stronger and recover quicker. He decided to add anther day of pull-ups and push-ups to the mix . . . this time at home, with no one but himself to challenge.


He progressed faster.


It wasn’t long before he added another day of pull-ups and push-ups, bringing in a grand total of 3 workouts per week. Soon thereafter he surpassed his buddy for the first time during the pull-up contest (and never lost again) and decided he needed to do more. He started with some bicep curls (wicked ones, in front of the mirror bro) and then added shoulder raises and eventually bodyweight squats.


And another strange thing was happening. He had stopped eating his chimichangas and Lunchables and instead was eating hefty portions of steak and veggies in the hope that some of that protein and goodness would find its way into his muscles. Surprisingly, it did. His t-shirts were getting tighter while his jeans were getting looser. And people were noticing. It was fucking awesom-o!


And that’s the true story of how this guy (yeah, me) began his own path to fitness.  He came to a fork in the trail and chose the road that led elsewhere.


I emphasized elsewhere because no one can see where their path leads, but we can see from where it led. With that first pull-up my path forever strayed from one heading towards middle-aged obesity and a dead-end job. Where it leads I have yet to discover, but it’s a far brighter trail I follow.


So I ask you again, can one single push-up make a difference in your life?


Go find out . . .



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