Welcome to Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday, I’ll be talking a little about my training philosophy, explaining some exercises and giving you a free workout. As I’ve mentioned before, by night I’m a Catholic writer and nerd, but by day I’m a strength coach, personal trainer and strength athlete. I’ve done this as my full-time job since 2016, and part time in some capacity or another since 2006. As always, you should check with a doctor before embarking on any exercise journey. If you have any specific questions, you can ask them directly on either my Facebook fitness page, or my Instagram fitness page.
The why of this Workout Wednesday.
We’ll talk more in the future about my early days. But for now, let’s dwell a moment on how I train people now. Muscle is the key to almost everything. You want healthier bones? You need stronger – and preferably thicker – muscles. Hey there homie, you wanna keep up with them whippersnappers at youth group? I gotchya, fam. Let’s get you some bigger and thicker and stronger muscles. All that kneeling and standing, genuflecting and hugging got you huffing and puffing? Well, cardio will be your best bet. But stronger muscles make each repetition of those less taxing.
Given all of that, I typically look to strengthen my athletes’ and clients’ backs and abs first, then their hips and legs, then their upper bodies, and fit cardio in where we can. And that is exactly what we’ll be doing this week with a full body workout that can be done in or out of a gym.
There is, of course, a deeper why. Our capacity for charity changes in quality, if not quantity, based on our physical fitness. Also, Gnosticism has been rejected as heresy – and it is well that it has been. For our purposes here, the rejection of the Gnostic heresies means that our bodies – and the physical world in general – are not evil. In fact, our bodies are gifts from God. And just like every other gift from God (read: everything), we owe it back to him. Plus, there’s that whole thing about using what we’ve been given well.
The what of this Workout Wednesday.
But first, a few conventions for those that might not know. You’ll need to understand that exercises are given in terms of “sets” and “repetitions” or “reps”. For example, “Goblet Squat 3×12” means to perform a set (or group of repetitions) of goblet squats (which you can see this nice gentleman doing in the video above) 3 times. Each set will consist of 12 repetitions of goblet squats before resting. Unless otherwise noted, you should always warm up with lighter weight, and move up to heavier weight over 2-3 increments before you reach the “working sets” (in this case, the 3×12). Form is crucial. I will go over form for some of the more esoteric exercises I give to you, but a great resource that I often send clients to is www.exrx.net/Lists/Directory. I have yet to fundamentally disagree with any of their information.
Full body workout for a beginner to intermediate lifter who is healthy:
- Walk on a steeply inclined treadmill for 15 minutes. Do not hold onto the railings except as necessary. In fact, if you need to hold on, reduce the incline. If you’re at home without a treadmill, try walking in place with high knees, jumping jacks or vigorous house-cleaning (seriously) for 15 minutes. You obviously can’t do 15 minutes of jumping jacks, so if you choose that, do some, then walk with high knees, then some jumping jacks…
- Goblet squat 3×12 (try to choose a weight that makes the 11th and 12th rep heavy enough that you have to concentrate to complete them)
- Push-ups 5×10 (if you can’t do 10 in a row with good form, try starting with your hands on the counter, a barbell in a rack, the couch, or even just a few of the books that you keep buying, swearing you’ll read them. If you can do 10 without a problem, add a vest, child, stack of weight plates, or the unending pressure from your father-in-law to cut down that old oak tree before it falls on the shed and destroys every single garden tool you own…yeah. Just put something heavy on your back.)
- Rear lunge. Do a total of 30 (not in a row, but in as few sets as possible, and you count 1 rep each time you right leg goes back to the starting position)
- Overhead arm clap. Do a total of 100 (start with your palms up and arms straight out to your sides, parallel to the ground. Clap your hands over your head and then return to the start. That is one rep. Do not let your hands fall lower than your shoulders. Obviously you can if you have to. But the aspirational goal is to not let them fall)
- Superman 5×12 (some people cannot lift their feet and/or hands off the ground the first time they do this. That is OK. Attempting to do so still works the muscles in this case.)
- Dead bug 4x1minute (set a timer for this one)
If you have it available to you, hop on the stationary bike between each exercise and hit a fast mile (for you, whatever that is, don’t you go comparing yourself to others. They could never be you, so why should you try to be them?).