Sunday, July 10, 2011

The No Excuses Workout - Day 21 (End of Phase One)

What happened to Day 20?

I took the day off.

My plan this week was to take Saturday evening and Sunday morning off from my workout.  We're in the middle of moving and my wife and I both had things we needed to take care of in the morning around the same time.  So I left (on foot) for Office Depot (about an hour's walk away from our house) and she picked me up there when she was free.  We spent the rest of the day packing, lifting boxes and carrying them to the staging area at the front of our house.  (With four kids we have a lot of stuff.)  By the end of the day I was tired. So....

I took my entire twenty-four hour break on Saturday.

The great thing about the workout is that it's flexible.  What would I do if I took today off as well?  Rather than increasing with an additional workout, I'd do the last workout I had completed over again.  What if I took ANOTHER day off?  I'd do the same workout, but I'd drop all of the exercises by two repetitions.  This process continues down to ten reps, which is the floor of the final workout.

And speaking of final workouts - this is the end of Phase One.

I've lost a chunk of weight.  (I don't use scales, but I'm down a full size.)  I'm much stronger (I've packed on the lean muscle), my endurance is way up, and I can stand up, bend at the waist, and touch my knuckles to the floor - which means I've improved my flexibility as well.

Not bad for three weeks of work.

If I simply continued Phase One, my weight would continue to drop, my fitness level (strength, endurance, and flexibility) would continue to increase, and I'd find myself living a very healthy lifestyle.  It's really just that simple.  If you want to get in shape - and stay there - this is one very effective way of doing so.   To think it all began with a single exercise and a one block walk.

Phase Two (which I won't clutter my blog with but will check in with from time to time) is the journey from "fit" to "athelete."  By the end of Phase Two, I'll be well-prepared to join an amateur sports league, competitively run 10Ks, or any activity that requires a higher level of fitness.  Phase Three is the journey from "athelete" to my body's optimnal fitness level.  The "rules" change slightly in each Phase.  For instance, in Phase Two I'll be taking weekends off completely to allow my body time to recover.  In Phase Three I'll be working on overlapping three and six week cycles - which alternate between pushing my body's limits and allowing it time to breathe.

My ultimate goal?  I'm working on that.  The waist in my jeans reads "34" and those in my closet read "30."  I'm tired of my "closet jeans" feeling lonely.  So that's part of it.  I have a couple of crazy ideas that, if I actually go for them, I'll YouTube them and share them that way.  Shhhhh... they're a secret.

So that's it.  The No Excuses Workout is my way of getting incredibly fit with no equipment, no gym, and no expenditure of money.  The entire Phase Three workout (which I'm doing today) is listed below.  In all honesty, this is all I would have to do to achieve and maintain a very good level of fitness.  And to think, it all started three weeks ago on Day One with a walk around the block and a single exercise.

AM Workout

Table Top - three times (from Day One)
Hug and Release - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Three)
Elevation - three times (from Day Four)
Lift - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Five)
Tic Toc - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Six)
Plank - three times (from Day Eight)
Tiny - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Nine)
Hang - three times (from Day Ten)
Bend - three times (from Day Eleven)
Reach - three times (from Day Thirteen)
Pushup - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Thirteen)
Frog Crunch - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Sixteen)
Alternating Crunch - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Seventeen)
Reverse Crunch - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Eighteen)
Standard Crunch - one time, twenty repetitions  (from Day Nineteen)

New Exercise: Cobra

Cobra is another yoga move and one that I like to use to end a long series of abdominal work.  I roll over on my stomach and keep my knees and feet together.  Moving my hands into the same position they'd be in to do a Push-Up, and keeping my hips firmly planted on the ground, mattress, or mat, I slowly raise my upper body and arch my back in a slow, gentle movement.  When I get to the limit of what is comfortable for me, I hold it.  The entire "move and hold" process take a count of thirty.  I'll do Cobra three times.


Between 20 to 60 minutes of Walking With Purpose.  On days when my schedule is packed or I haven't had the chance to go walking until the end of the day, I'll do twenty.  On days when I'm free (a sunny Saturday, for example, I'll go for up to an hour).

PM Workout

Twist (No Shout) - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Two)
Bobble Head - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Three)
Too Sexy - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Four)
Popeye - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Five)
Kick Back - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Eight)
Flight - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Nine)
Pump - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Ten)
Chair one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Eleven)
Good Morning - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Fourteen)
Lower - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Fifteen)
Side Punch - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Sixteen)
Front Punch - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Sixteen)
Cross Punch - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Seventeen)
Elbow Strike - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Eighteen)
Upper Cut - one time, twenty repetitions (from Day Nineteen)

New Exercise: Dodge

Starting in the same position as the other punches, I imagine a punch is being thrown at my head.  I "dodge" to  the left in a gentle motion, bending quickly at the waist, before straightening and bending to the left.  Bending to the right, then the left, then returning to center is one repetition.  The key to this entire exercise isn't the speed with which it's done, but keeping my navel pulled toward my spine and my abdominal muscles flexed and engaged throughout.  I'll do it one time for twenty repetitions.


  1. Right, that's it, I HAVE to do this. I've gained 12lbs this year, lost lots of energy, and need to get my butt into gear (and into shape!) Thank you SO much Jeffrey for posting these, it's a priviledge to read them (and be inspired by them!)

  2. @Kitchen: The workout is effective enough that the people I see regularly in my world (including my older kids) have all started doing it. I've been continuing it in the midst of packing and moving to a new family home and I'm about ready to drop another half-size.