Archive for category push ups

How Doug Pruden Sets Push Ups Records

Doug Pruden sets another push up record

Doug Pruden sets another push up record

I heard from Doug Pruden again. He holds many records for push ups, and I wrote about him over five years ago. Here is his latest email about a new record he set and how he does it. Amazing and inspirational. I’ve bold-faced some of his words that apply to anything, not just push ups.

Recently did 81 knuckles (fist) pushups in 1 minute of record time. Golden book of world records and record holders republic. many ask me how can a person do so many push ups in record time. Doing one very well, just one. Fist, back of the hand, one arm, or regular push ups. You have to first start. Then add a bit more each day and pretty soon you can do many.

I started at a younger age in high school and then moved on to do it in the gym and then challenged world records. Its work and deeper breathing for sure. You get your own body accustomed and used to it each day. 50 at a time , non stop or 75m, 100 etc. Training and practice. At ever increasing inclines from a wall or chair until you reach the horizontal position. Eventually accustoming your body angle to the floor, over weeks, months and years. Doing it every day like some play Video games or watch tv shows. Routine and habit but a good one at least for 30 minutes each day. At graduated angles till you reach complete horizontal from “vertical wall” position. Stand near a wall or grab type of gym bar that is stable and start practicing eventually bringing the body further out till your able to do it on the floor and then over months add speed. A Customizing the body to a new routine.

No one is born being able to do anything. But we all can learn to do everything if there is a will. Pushing against and out before you can push “up”. Its first for exercise and then for strength and stamina and health and very last for records! 999 out of 1000 of us will never reach world record speed but some can come close and try their best to improve their own levels. Only about 20 people have world records in push ups and only 3 or 4 last for over a decade. Its hard to do. But possible to do if you commit to it. Enjoy it FIRST for fitness and have fun. I never thought of any records when it was just an exercise. Find something you are good at and make the world a better place. That thing can be anything that benefits society.

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Paula Broadwell Does Push Ups

Paula and Jon before their on-camera push up contest—1/25/12

Prior to the Patraeus/Broadwell scandal breaking, Paula came on the Daily Show for a 15-minute interview to plug her book about the CIA chief. Little did we know what else was going on. And Jon Stewart made comments more recently about how naive he was during his January interview. All very funny.

Paula and Jon

Paula had attended West Point, was supposedly ranked No. 1 over all in fitness in her class. She benefited from a different ranking scale for women, she told a reporter this year. But “I was still in the top 5 percent if I’d been ranked as a male,” she said. But is she lying? A spokesman at the military academy said November 15th that Broadwell did NOT win the fitness award, which went to another female cadet in her graduating class.

Jon Stewart (on floor), Paula, and her husband Scott compete for charity

On that same show, she challenged Stewart to a push-up contest to raise money for wounded warriors. She claimed she could do 100. She slipped off her high heels, dropped to the floor and pounded out 60 push-ups, besting his 38. He donated $20,000 to a veterans’ organization Broadwell supports. I wanted to post the video of that contest, but it is now no longer available. Amusing.

As a substitute, I have some stills of Paula, so you can see how she often dressed to display her toned arms. And below is the first half of her interview with Stewart…no contest, no push ups, but you can hear the interview and enjoy all the secret meanings.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Paula Broadwell
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

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How Some Seniors Stay Fit

My friend Russ sent me some video links to older guys in action. Here is one of a 60-year-old man who does 700 push ups and 10 sets of pull ups and dips five days a week. Now that’s what I call discipline! My doing 100 a day twice a week just doesn’t cut it. I’m inspired…but I thought you should rest muscle groups a day to help them bulk out?

Here is another video of a 90-year-old who is still pole vaulting. Dr. William Bell holds the world record in his age group and jumps three times a week.

This Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Jujitsu master throws his student around with such ease. I think in some of the martial arts, the older practitioners seem very fit and effective.

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225 Consecutive Days Of Exercise

The other day a friend said I was a very disciplined guy. I couldn’t relate to the compliment, because until I challenged myself to do SOME exercise—even just 5-10 minutes—EVERY day, I couldn’t do anything regularly, except maybe brush my teeth. But I have exercised 225 days in a row! I have struggled to keep this streak going, remembering after I was in bed and rising to the task, not doing the drills until 1 or 2 am, when I arrived home from a night out, gutting push ups or crunches on a full stomach that I thought wouldn’t hold the food down. I am finally tired of this late night pressure, often after a few hours of tennis.

I feel like a student actor who just wants a bit part as an extra in a movie. Then he gets that and wants a speaking role…next a credit…then a starring role. Finally he wants to direct, produce, form a production company.

Now that I have done something for more than seven months, I am announcing a new challenge, which I know won’t impress you, but seems very difficult to me: I have to do my exercises AFTER breakfast and before lunch. Or after lunch and BEFORE dinner. Somehow. And I often eat breakfast around noon or lunch around 4:00, because I am busy with work or other commitments and chores.

This limited exercise program, in addition to the sports activity, is not leading to giant muscles or increased numbers of push ups. But I do have some cut lines on my abs and arms. So it’s something. Now let’s see if I can exercise at more convenient times…

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Hardest Push Up In The World

Jason Doornick sent me this link. I will have to try it and see if I can raise myself even one inch!

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Inspirational Workout Montage From Great Training Movies

This is a workout training montage Chris Ivey sent me of all the great movies that have inspired people to do any kind of working out. It includes some of the greats from the Rocky movies, to Kickboxer, to Pumping Iron.

I love that Arnold says you have to do the last 3-4 lifts to feel the pain and build the muscle. Otherwise you can never be a champion. Unfortunately, I always hesitate to overdo it and hurt myself.

Just listening to Burgess Meredith tell Rocky how he has to stay with it and get up is an inspiration in itself. And then…when Rocky races to the top of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art—that is positively splendiferous!!!

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150 Straight Days Of Exercise

Forgive my bragging, but this is really a terrific achievement for me. I challenged myself to do some kind of exercise every day—even if just 5-10 minutes—no matter where I was, time of day, or what I did. I completed this much of the goal—150 continuous days—with five sets of push ups: 21, 25, 21, 21, 32 with 90 seconds rest between sets, except for 120 seconds before the last set. Exhausting.

This has changed my life completely, because I do them in the evenings, and I won’t eat usually until I have done the task. And many of the days, like today, I played squash for an hour after working during the day. So I came home at 8 pm and couldn’t get up the energy to do the exercise until 9:15. This is mostly an effort to stay disciplined, and I have not been a disciplined person ever before, when it comes to regular exercise.

Many of the early days, I ate and then read or watched TV until I felt able to exercise without nausea or indigestion. Often I was exercising after midnight or after having fallen asleep on the couch.

Doing push ups three times a week is another sub goal I have also taken on to see if I can ever reach more than 57 non-stop push ups. The program I am following is supposed to enable me to do 100, but I’d be happy for now just to break my previous record…which I set in 1987, when I was in the Soviet Union for a month and could exercise every day. I was also a lot younger. We’ll see what I achieve.

Tomorrow I will practice a new tennis serve that I saw on TV. So much to do. So many challenges to take on…How are you doing?

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Push Ups As Punishment?

Maybe more parents, teachers or bosses should make their kids/students/employees do physical exercise every time they make a mistake or get a poor grade. That would be a big disincentive, but it would also result in a fitter society. Too severe? I guess so. So read this news report:

Abercrombie & Fitch may have another scandal on its hands. Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has obtained internal emails from the preppy retailer’s Milan outpost that expose some rather draconian store policies—namely, punishing employees with push-ups and squats.

The Daily Telegraph has translated portions of the original article, which highlights an email sent last April in which the head of the store’s Loss Prevention department wrote:

“Now every time we make a mistake […] we will do ten push-ups. Squats for women. This will bring about a great result: we will learn more from our mistakes.”

A former employee, who preferred to speak anonymously, confirmed to Corriere della Sera that he did do plenty of push-ups in his time at the Abercrombie in Milan. “That’s how it works there—you take it or leave it,” he said.

Abercrombie & Fitch has responded to this report with the following statement:

“We have conducted an internal investigation into this matter, and it appears that the reference to push-ups and squats was a clearly misguided attempt at team-building by an isolated Loss Prevention manager in one of our Flagship stores. Nevertheless, shortly after the Loss Prevention manager’s supervisor learned of this incident, it was stopped. Upon investigation, we believe that the claims were greatly exaggerated and manufactured by a disgruntled employee. Needless to say, using push-ups or any physical activity for discipline is not A&F policy. It never has been, and it never will be.”

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Anne Zimmerman’s Unbelievably Inspiring Cycling, Training, Mothering And Her Family’s Fundraising

Anne Zimmerman (ctr) pedals magnificently in the last hour of her all-day spinning marathon—2/12/12



To my left at Sunday’s Cycle for Survival was a woman who had been spinning for almost eight hours and inspired me to pedal faster than I wanted to and keep rising out of the saddle, rather than be seated like a wuss. Anne Zimmerman was the only woman in the group of just four EXTREMELY extreme cyclists this year who rode for both morning and afternoon sessions. And there were just 32 others who rode for four hours out of 10,000 people participating in this year’s event. She was magnificent.

I asked about her training to get ready and if she wanted to write about it. Little did I imagine that she spins 10 times a week, does 100 push ups, and road bikes 350 miles a week in the summer. I was also awed to learn that her team raised more money for the event than any of the other 2000 teams. Here is her amazing and powerful story.

Sunday I sat on a medium comfortable, ok, not so comfortable, spin bike for 8 hours sweating and panting but having the time of my life. Cycle for Survival raised almost 8 million dollars this year and our team, Team Perry, just crossed the $300,000 mark the other day. All of us riding for Team Perry draw our inspiration from one brave little girl, my daughter Perry Zimmerman.

But I think this story is supposed to be about me, not as easy a subject as my family and friends or the food that I write about on my blog, nutrimommy.com . Ok, me as an exerciser. I admit to being a fanatic, and I go to about 10 spin classes during a typical week here in New York City. I add to that one long treadmill run anywhere from 7 to 13 miles always before my Monday morning Darryl Gaines spin class, which is a rockin’ good time, plus one or two short runs, and a Thursday insane short run with Robert Pennino that often involves killer sprints up extremely steep inclines. I occasionally dabble in a duathlon, half iron length and am always prepared for that, so have never officially trained. Other than that, I do 100 push-ups of questionable form twice a week and occasionally pull-ups as I see fit. I do not seem to have achieved Ira’s abs quite yet.

The excessive spin classes are just a warm up for long summer and vacation bike rides. Last summer I had myself going about 350 miles a week with at least one 80 to 100 mile ride in there. Our marriage counselor, Gregg Cook,(hah, he is really a spin instructor) thinks I need to rest. Yet I assure you I do this all purely for fun. I know some people have questioned my wasting my precious babysitter (free) time this way, but I cannot think of a better way to explore my community and broaden my world beyond the gates some of my friends rarely pass through. By riding to farmers markets and grocery stores, I save myself from sitting in a car, something we city women cannot get our head around.

Outside our Maryland summer community, I have found amazing Chesapeake views, crazy hills, a swath of fishermen communities and farmers as income diverse as you can imagine. I’ve met people through my own flat tires, through my blabbering on about unhealthy sports drinks with artificial colors and through my poking around little farm stands like the one that always gives me a glass of water or the one where the woman cannot believe I am over 40:) I love that woman!

In Florida, I have discovered every health food store from Ft. Pierce to well north of Melbourne, and inland have found organic farms and bootlegged raw milk and illegal organic groceries. I even was carded buying Kombucha at Jungle in Melbourne…boy is Florida odd.

Every year in August, in spite of some whining and complaining by my husband, we take a hiking trip in eastern Canada. Last year, I let him talk me out of it, and we headed to Florida where we discovered an enormous lump in my daughter’s leg. Since she had had retinoblastoma as a baby, and a huge brain tumor as a two year old, I immediately suspected cancer, had it confirmed and came home to Sloan Kettering.

Since then, I gave up most of my career-related activity, I do not advise on nutrition, nor take law school classes toward that LLM in environmental law. I no longer research and write about unreasonably ridiculous FDA laws, nor do I visit the NYC public schools to check on the vegetarian lunch program. I rarely get the chance to take my younger three kids to an after-school activity, but I do still exercise.

I think the sacrifices are small, and the time at the hospital with my recovering daughter who has three more months of chemotherapy is worth every sacrifice. But the exercise keeps my mind and body strong for her.

And believe me there has been heavy lifting involved. After her 15-hour surgery I squatted for a half hour holding her leg up…OMG that hurt. Hauling a few backpacks of her school work and her IV fluids a block to hail a cab, or pushing a wheelchair sometimes for more than an hour or two, is not physically easy either.

If I look back on this cancer experience since August, the incredible support of friends and family, my husband and my other three nutty kids, the crazy rockin’ fun heavy exercise of Darryl’s spins, and the seriously tough exercise of Avery Washington and Robert get me through my long, sedentary, often stressful hospital days. So, I am already looking forward to next year’s 8 hours, when I am again a regular mom with four healthy kids.

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That’s My Record For Now—202 Push Ups

Still doing some kind of gym-type exercise every day in addition to sports activities like tennis, squash and skiing. Yesterday was my 80th day in a row (and 82 out of 83 days) that I was disciplined enough to spend 5-18 minutes lifting weights, doing push ups or abs crunches. I had gone in 28 days from 129 push ups to 135, 150, 157, 177, and then 202 yesterday. It took 18 minutes yesterday and 27 sets (of 5-8), excluding the first one of 48. Unlike gym rats, I do not like to exercise. Lately I have been resisting these push ups and going from three times a week to now just once a week as the numbers got larger, and the time to do them took longer.

I’ve also dreaded doing them. It’s taken a huge psychological push to do push ups. And then today after just two hours of tennis, my right wrist area was hurting slightly. So I may have overdone it and strained myself a bit. I did find that by taking 10 breaths between each set, I could keep going relatively easily. I remember when 100 seemed like a big deal. Maybe I could build up to 300 or 500.

At the same time, the number I do first without stopping is generally 45-50. That number has plateaued. My goal is to equal my age, so I will now work harder and more frequently to improve the number I can do without stopping.

So often in my life, I have resolved to do exercises and either given up or injured myself to force me to give up. And then it is too big an obstacle to start over. This time I will slow down BEFORE I injure myself, change my goal, and see if I can be satisfied with the new direction. Stay in touch.

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Best Tennis Ever, 75 Days Of Continuous Exercise And 177 Push Ups!

Two days ago, I played my best tennis ever, and my team won both sets over very tough competitors…the same duo who had beaten us two out of three sets last time. I know that watching top players on TV at the Australian Open helped a lot. But more importantly was being taught the proper way to hit a squash backhand at a clinic I went to on the 8th of this month. I applied the same principles to tennis, and it worked beautifully. My net game was sensational, my serving improved, and I was able to lob well over and over. Funny but most of the time I play as the weakest player, my stronger partners always choose the forehand side of the court. This leaves me having to be the backhand guy, and it is my poorest stroke…as it is for most of the people in my club. Tuesday it was working great. Thanks to squash lessons.

And just for the record, I have now done some exercise at home 75 days in a row. This is in addition to all the tennis, squash, skiing, etc. I am proud of this major achievement in my life, because I am a guy who can’t do anything regularly. I have been undisciplined about exercise my entire life…except for these last 10+ weeks. I also set a new record for push ups: 177. Of course this is just 45 non-stop and then 20 sets of 6-8 with no more than 10 breaths in between each set. At least I am doing something, rather than months of nothing.

More typical is that I joined a gym again and haven’t gone at all in the three months or so since I paid. Fortunately they have a plan that only charges me for each time I go. I bought eight visits. Let’s see how many I use up in a year.

Also happy to report that another friend told me today he looks on this site for inspiration to keep himself exercising and living healthfully by reading the stories of others. Do you have a story to add? Let me hear about it…

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61 Continuous Exercise Days And 150 Push Ups!

after 150 push ups—1/11/12

Time for an update photo, so here I am after doing 150 push ups. Now don’t be too impressed…there were 49 in the first continuous set, and then another 18 sets (yes, 18) of 5-7 each. Still quite exhausting. Having given up on any regular gym visits of 45 minutes to an hour, and unable to make it more than 2-3 times a week, when I was going, I stopped basic exercising for months. Occasionally I’d do a few ab crunches or bent over rows or push ups.

But then I challenged myself to do something—anything—every day. And I have done just that for 61 straight days (and 63/64 days). Today’s push ups took 12 minutes. The two previous days I spent 8-10 minutes doing crunches. At least I look toned. Although whatever I am doing is only resulting in a 2-pack or a 3-pack (depending on the light).

These daily mini-workouts are in addition to sports activities. For example starting January 1st, I have played squash three times (three different days for 2 3/4 hours) and tennis six times (five days and a total of 14 1/4 hours).

I am very proud of my sticking to the exercises. This was impossible in my entire previous life. Who am I now? A guy who is packing it in, while I am still able. Happily, my tennis level is much higher as well.

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Still Exercising Daily…Almost In My Sleep!

Did I just say how easy it is to do these daily exercises? Ha! Drove to Brooklyn early yesterday to celebrate my grandson’s first birthday, partied for hours and came home. Ate and crashed in front of the TV, until I fell asleep. Woke up at 12:30 am and headed for bed…until I remembered that I hadn’t done my daily mini-workout. Was too tired to do anything UNTIL 1:30 am, at which time I strained to do bicycle crunches…just 130 or so real ones, and then another 120 (250) total, where I can’t reach my elbow to the opposite knee, but at least squeeze the abs a tad.

Only the desire to keep this continuous-days-in-a-row record going (57 as of yesterday the 8th) enabled me to do the exercise. Plus my writing about it on this site. Much easier later—today—was playing squash at a local clinic for 1 1/2 hours. And I learned some terrific techniques for powering my backhand: face the left wall—not the front wall—and turn your shoulder even more to unleash the corkscrew with torque. Wow did that work well. Only executing it in play is the challenge. Easy to understand it.

The assistant coach, Trevor, had some very impressive advice, when I told him I had trouble in squash and tennis watching the ball. He said he looks for the two yellow dots on the squash ball! Can you imagine how difficult that is? They are about this large: o Well, maybe a tiny bit bigger. I have been attempting to look for the brand name on the tennis balls, having had no success watching the ball or finding the seams. I CAN do it sometimes, when I serve. Just have to keep practicing and build up the muscle memory is what Trevor promised.

By the way, earlier in the week I did 135 push ups total, although it took 16 sets of 5-10 after a measly 40 first set. That’s a long way from my result a few days ago of 50 at first and then just 12 sets of 6-8 to reach 129. Keep practicing. Now for today’s workout at a reasonable hour, 6:30 pm…new record: 51 + 15 sets of 5-9 to total 140 push ups.

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50 Straight Days Of Exercise

I am still doing some kind of exercise every day. I finished out the year with 125 push ups in eight minutes of straining: 47 non stop and then multiple sets of 5-8 at a time to add up to 125. Being this disciplined isn’t proving so difficult. Just inconvenient some nights as I delay eating dinner or going out. I generally alternate with bicycle crunches and am up to 300 non stop, although I am touching my elbow to my opposite knee no more than 199 times (196 yesterday).

This week I arm-wrestled a 23-year old who claims he can do 50 push ups upside down with legs against the wall. This means he is pushing up his entire body weight each time. He has very strong wrists, and I was NOT victorious, although I did make him work hard one time for his inevitable win. I also played tennis and did a two-minute plank after bent over rows.

The funny thing is that I met a man who is in the gym 3-4 times a week. A friend informed me tonight that he is exercising 45 minutes a day five days a week. I know there are people who exercise every single day of the year. I will never grasp how these people do it, fit it in, make it happen. But at least I am making my own kind of progress. You have to stop comparing all the time and just do the best you can with whatever skills, talents and abilities you have.

Let’s hope 2012 brings a happier world to people everywhere. These are terrible times, and the best of times. Some are fighting for freedom and opportunity. Some are protesting injustice and exploitation. Many are frustrated with their situation, finances, politicians. At the same time, I am doing a few push ups and crunches, because they feel good, help me look better, fitter, better toned. In a couple of weeks I may be skiing in Idaho, so I have to really get in shape for that. All so meaningless…inconsequential…and the ball will drop in Times Square in 12 minutes, and the wheel will start it’s annual turn once again. Happy New Year everyone…

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I Do 93 Push Ups, While Someone Else Does 1500

Herschel Walker does 1500 push ups a day

It’s now 42 days in a row (and 44/45) that I have done some exercise, whether bent over rows, push ups or bicycle crunches. A great achievement for me. It’s in addition to the sports I am doing. Especially on a day like today, when I played 3 3/4 hours of tennis continuously, am tired and still made myself do push ups before dinner. I am now up to 93, but this is comprised of many sets, so I did 40, then 9, then 7 then 6 sets of 6. I have to laugh, and you will too, when I tell you that the athlete pictured does quite a bit more each day: 1500. How does a human do so many??? My goal, which I have never achieved, is to equal my age in push ups without stopping. I couldn’t do it when I was 57, although I eventually reached that record number, and now I have to reach 70. This week my high was 50. A long way to go…

Here are some facts about Herschel Walker’s obsession: You can’t argue that 49-year-old Walker looks better then most men half his age. Unfortunately, it takes a very special kind of person to live Walker’s ultra-motivated, super dedicated, mega-healthy life.

Walker is a strict vegetarian and wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and does approximately 1,500 push-ups and 2,000 sit-ups, and has even used ballet training as strength training.

He is a former American college and professional football player. He played college football for the University of Georgia, was a three-time All-American, and won the 1982 Heisman Trophy. Walker began his professional football career with the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League (USFL), before joining the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League (NFL). In the NFL, he also played for the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Since retiring from professional football, Walker has also been known as a mixed martial artist.

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How Did I Become “Obsessive” About Exercise?

Somehow, unbelievably, magically for the first time in my whole life, I am exercising every day. For 33 continuous days (and 35/36), I have done either push ups or bicycle crunches. It’s for three minutes or less. Not a big deal in time. But huge in terms of discipline. At least I am doing something. Even on the 16 days of the 33, when I spent as many as four hours on the tennis courts, in the woods hunting or hiking, and ice skating.

One day I played 2 1/4 of doubles tennis with one group, then another two hours with a second group. Next I drove 1 1/2 hours to America’s only jai alai fronton outside of Florida, practiced jai alai to near exhaustion for 45 minutes, watched a tournament, then drove home for another hour. It was close to 12 am when I dropped down to do 75 push ups (45 non-stop and then five sets of six each). That’s when I heard that I was obsessive.

Sometimes I didn’t even remember to do them until midnight or 1 am. But no matter how tired I was, I did them. This is an unprecedented accomplishment for me, and I am both proud and astonished to have achieved this challenge.

It all began when I wrote that I “could” do exercise every day if I had to. But I was too lazy. I guess it was so easy to say that I could do something that I had never done. But then I had to see if I was all talk and no action. So I began this routine. IT IS VERY HARD SOME DAYS. Especially when I am tired from other activity, forget about it, fall asleep watching TV and then wake up and remember that I HAVE to keep the record going.

It’s the continuity that I am most proud about. A few push ups or crunches over 2-3 minutes isn’t going to build much muscle. Especially compared to the guys in the gym 3-4 days a week for an hour or two each time. But I am showing myself that I can be disciplined if I want to. And my numbers are going up: I am now at 78 push ups total (after an initial 45 or so non-stop) and 250 bicycle crunches (although only a max of 176 in which both elbows touch both knees). At least I am improving. Pretty terrific.

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Sports/Exercise Report for March Through August

I am finally catching up on a summary of my physical activity…but for the last six months. As usual travel and various responsibilities ate into the time available. I was too lazy to write it up each month. So here are the facts.

I feel very fit, my weight has stayed between 173 and 175 (low was 167, high was 178), and I am grateful that I can play tennis like I did three of the last four days…for 4.25, 4.5, and 2.5 hours. I know that many people my age can’t play at all, like the college classmate who received the invite to play tennis at our reunion next month and wrote sadly to me that “In my day, I could have whipped anyone’s butt. Now I’m lucky if I can even walk. So wish I could join you.”

The real challenge for me is after playing tennis for 2+ hours to have the strength—both physical AND mental—to then be more active, whether push ups, crunches or other exercise. I feel too tired, though I know my physical life is very respectable, even impressive, to some friends who live on their couches. And at least I am doing something physical, whether hours of tennis or five minutes of push ups, from 15 to 21 days each month.

My record for doing major physical activity in a month was 25 days in November 2009. Beginning this past March, I was active the following number of days per month (and I AM counting just push ups or some crunches): 17, 21, 15, 20, 16, 19.

My record number of tennis-playing days is 18 in June 2010. So my recent summaries are: 6, 17, 9, 17, 13, 12.

My record for playing tennis in a month is 42.75 hours. I recently did: 14.75, 35.25, 12.5, 37.5, 36.75, 26.

I only played squash in March: twice for 2.5 hours.

I only went skiing in March; twice for 6.5 hours. And one day of snowmobiling.

My crunch activity per month has waned: 2, 3, 0, 3, 3, 7.

I rarely go to the gym or do exercises (with weights) at home: 1, 1, 5, 0, 0, 1.

I have done a few push ups over the months: 4 (55 was the most), 2, 0, 3, 3, 5 (51 was the most). Maybe 11 times in January 2011 was my record.

I did wall sits prior to the ski trip in March. Six minutes was my best time.

In May I went hunting twice for nine hours. Never close enough to draw the bow.

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Secrets Of An A-List Body: How To Get Daniel Craig’s Torso

Daniel Craig

I love the teasing headline and first sentence of this British newspaper article…which never delivers much. But the man does have abs…

We reveal how to get the enviable physiques of the stars. This week, Daniel Craig’s torso…

Daniel Craig follows a regimen of weights, running and interval training.

To maintain his legendary abs, 007 is said to work out five days a week and follows a tailored diet to aid muscle growth and repair.

Craig has worked with personal trainer Simon Waterson, who prescribes a remorseless regimen of weights, running and interval training.

Exercises include press-ups (push ups) as well as jumping and bounding to produce power.

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Benefits Of Birthdays, Fitness And Posting On this Site

This week celebrates two years of posting on this site. I didn’t know anything about the gym, machines, really good diets, how to make muscles, how many different sports activities there are, what it takes to lose weight, protein shakes, how passionate people are about their physical pursuits. Now I am much better informed. Hopefully some of you are too.

I took a picture of my abs yesterday. Still something showing, even with the extra weight I gained. I swear I am going to make bigger muscles. I promise…

The benefits of fitness and how to become toned really seem so obvious now, even if many of us can’t stick to the diets or gym visits. I read there is a gene, a congenital chemical reason why some like to exercise. I will post the story’s highlights another day. I may have one half of that gene, but after being deprived while traveling for 11 days, I am desperate to stretch and strain. I am not addicted to muscle-building…that is an effort. But it’s easy for me to hit tennis balls 10-plus hours a week. Maybe I have a tennis gene?

I also reached my 70th birthday on April 5th. Given my major goal of keeping fit and able to play sports, be very mobile, nimble and retain my memory…as long as I breathe, I am quite pleased. I know a good bit of this achievement is my genetic makeup. But I also watch my diet, avoid excessive alcohol, no drugs, and lead a pretty clean life. If it sounds boring, then listen on the phone with me as I talk to people in their 50’s who are having cat scans, MRI’s, tests in hospitals, are overweight and tired, hurt when they play sports. I want to avoid that scenario as long as possible.

Today at tennis, a fellow I have been playing with for over a year said he thought I was his age, just 56. I liked stunning him with the facts. After being a bit sad to leave my ’60s and listening to all the well-meant advice about how 70 is “only a number,” I overcame my upset with the sincere rationalization and belief that at least I have lived this long. It is really a blessing. Just listen to people in war and starvation zones all over the world. Just think of those who are sick and seeing doctors, although they are under 50 or 30 or even yesterday a friend under 20, and there is absolutely no justification for any complaint about getting older. OK a tiny regret that we can’t do what we used to do, but then we can at least do now whatever we can do now.

Yesterday a friend in her 40’s said that when she was 30 pounds lighter in high school, she could stand on her hands, even walk on her heavily-calloused hands “around the neighborhood.” She could stay upside down for 20 to 30 minutes at a time. No support. Feet not touching the ground. I am enormously impressed with this revelation. My record in my late 40’s was just 47 seconds. I never reached my goal of one minute. Of course I told my friend she could become fitter now, even though she is a working mom, with a zillion responsibilities more than in high school. She doesn’t have homework these days…

Groggy from a trip to England and Scotland, still jet lagging, another five pounds heavier from fatty foods that were unavoidable there—I have now gained 12 pounds in the last 90 days—I still started exercising again this week. Push ups, crunches, tennis (8 1/4 hours in 4 days and 2-3 scheduled for tomorrow) are all being done easily. Athough my tennis is very poor: I lost three sets of singles today, 2-6, 0-6, 0-6 to someone who usually wins, but after I take 3-4 games. I will get better again. That is the challenge. That is the fun for me. What is your passion?

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Sports/Exercise Report For February

A very physical month. I did something athletic 21 days, up one from last month, though below my record 25 days in November 2009. I am not counting four days, when I just did some push ups or wall sits for a few minutes, as compared to 2-5 hours of tennis. And there were only 28 days in the month. So I was active almost every day.

I played tennis 14 days, for only 32 1/4 hours, almost identical to last month’s 15 days and 32 1/4 hours and below my record of 18 days set in June, and below my all-time record of 42 3/4 hours. My tennis game is still improving, though I was crushed yesterday (only 6 games for me in three sets) by a player I have never beaten. I am hitting the sweet spot much more often on my forehand, thanks to a slight rotation in my grip…when I can do it quickly enough against a super fast ball coming at me.

I played squash once for for just one hour, went cross country skiing once for 1/2 hour, went downhill skiing once for 1 1/4 hours, did spinning three times for 2 1/4 hours, shoveled snow off the roof twice for three hours.

A third month of almost no ab crunches, just one 20 minute session. I went to a hotel gym once and really worked my lats and quads. I am now doing wall sits, where my back is against the wall, my knees are bent 90 degrees, and I just count the seconds of agony. This is all to improve my ability to bend lower in squash and ski on a planned trip to Utah in March.

Slight progress toward my goal of reaching 100 push ups, which I did on 10 different days…its been 11 days in each of the last three months. I had days of 51, 51 1/2, 53, and 54 all up from 50, which was my best in three previous months. The training program that supposedly takes six weeks is still impossible for me. I am stuck at the goal for the first day of the fourth week, which is five sets: 21, 25, 21, 21 and 32, each followed by a 60-second break. I remain unable to complete the fifth set, but did achieve 23 1/2 one time, up from last month’s record of 22. So this is a very slow climb up the path to my goal.

The real challenge for me is after playing tennis for 2+ hours to have the strength—both physical AND mental—to then be more active, whether skiing, push ups or other exercise. I feel like I get lazy, though I know my physical life is very respectable, even impressive to some friends who live on their couches.

Push Up Up Date

Over three months ago, I stopped doing abs exercises and started working on push ups. I wanted to do 100 of them without breaking the push up position. I allowed myself pauses. When I began I could do 46. By the third month I was up to 50. On February 13th, I hit 54. Who’d of ever imagined that so much effort would lead to so little improvement.

But at least there is some progress. The most I ever did in my life without lifting my hands was 57. That was in Moscow in 1984, when I was on a business trip and had the time in the evenings. I was 43 years old. I know I will surpass that record. I am practicing around three times a week, in spite of extreme tiredness from other sports.

But I am determined to get there. No matter how slowly and how long it takes. Pretty silly for a guy my age. But as long as I can, as long as I have the ability to play sports and challenge myself physically, I am game…

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Sports/Exercise Report For January

A respectable month, with some improvement. I did something physically demanding 20 days, same as last month, though below my record 25 days in November 2009. I am not counting three days, when I just did some push ups for a few minutes, as compared to 2-5 hours of tennis.

I played tennis 15 days, for only 32 1/4 hours, down from last month’s 16 days and 36 1/2 hours and below my record of 18 days set in June, and below my all-time record of 42 3/4 hours. Happily my tennis is at my best level ever, though my backhand is still poor. I have learned how to lob—a great weapon—serve more powerfully and accurately, and hit the sweet spot much more often on my forehand, thanks to a slight rotation in my grip.

I played squash twice for 3 1/4 hours, down from four times for 6 1/4 hours last month. My physical activity included two days of cross country skiing (only 1 1/2 hours), an hour of tiring snow shoveling, and a half hour of spinning to try it out for my upcoming charity ride in two weeks.

A second month of not one ab crunch, and as you can see in a recent picture, my abs are less visible. I did gain almost 7-8 pounds this last two months due to holiday food and major efforts to keep eating and not miss meals.

My challenge of reaching 100 push ups made some progress. For the third month in a row, I did some push ups on 11 different days. My maximum without stopping increased to 50, up from 46, which was my best in three previous months. The training program that supposedly takes six weeks is still impossible for me. I am stuck at the goal for the first day of the fourth week, which is five sets: 21, 25, 21, 21 and 32, each followed by a 60-second break. I remain unable to complete the fifth set, but did achieve 22 one time, up from last month’s record of 17.

Nevertheless all of this effort is strengthening my upper body muscles. I read about Jack LaLanne’s strategy of straining the muscle until it is exhausted. I am doing this, and it is very tiring. I also see that my triceps are growing substantially. No surprise. I just hope that my other chest muscles will enlarge as well.

Fitness Pioneer Jack LaLanne Introduced TV Workouts To Millions

Young Jack LaLanne

I remember this guy on TV, but never took his advice back then. Now I finally appreciate some of what he was preaching. He died yesterday at 96, after decades of eating healthy, exercising daily and maintaining a youthful physique. In 2006 he joked that “I can’t afford to die. It would wreck my image.”

LaLanne (pronounced lah-LAYN’) credited a sudden interest in fitness with transforming his life as a teen, and he worked tirelessly over the next eight decades to transform others’ lives, too.

“The only way you can hurt the body is not use it,” LaLanne said. “Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.”

His workout show was a television staple from the 1950s to the ’70s.

He also founded a chain of fitness studios that bore his name and in recent years touted the value of raw fruit and vegetables as he helped market a machine called Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer.

When he turned 43 in 1957, he performed more than 1,000 push-ups in 23 minutes on the “You Asked For It” television show. At 60, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco – handcuffed, shackled and towing a boat. Ten years later, he performed a similar feat in Long Beach harbor. See some of his other achievements at the end of this post.

“I never think of my age, never,” LaLanne said in 1990. “I could be 20 or 100. I never think about it, I’m just me.”

Fellow bodybuilder and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger credited LaLanne with taking exercise out of the gymnasium and into living rooms.

the famous LaLanne fingertip push ups

“He laid the groundwork for others to have exercise programs,” Schwarzenegger said in 1990.

In 1936 in his native Oakland, LaLanne opened a health studio that included weight-training for women and athletes. Those were revolutionary notions at the time, because of the theory that weight training made an athlete slow and “muscle bound” and made a woman look masculine.

“You have to understand that it was absolutely forbidden in those days for athletes to use weights,” he once said. “It just wasn’t done. We had athletes who used to sneak into the studio to work out. “It was the same with women. Back then, women weren’t supposed to use weights.”

Jack at 71

“People thought I was a charlatan and a nut,” he remembered. “The doctors were against me — they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive.” But Mr. LaLanne persevered, and he found a national pulpit in the age of television.

“The Jack LaLanne Show” made its debut in 1951 as a local program in the San Francisco area, then went nationwide on daytime television in 1959. His short-sleeved jumpsuit showing off his impressive biceps, his props often limited to a broomstick, a chair and a rubber cord, Mr. LaLanne pranced through his exercise routines, most notably his fingertip push-ups. Read the rest of this entry »

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Getting Fatter As I Get Fitter

Unlike many people concerned with their weight and fitness, I have been working hard at GAINING weight. When I was playing tennis 15-18 days a month in the summer, sometimes 4-5 hours a day, I lost weight and was down below 170 pounds, even at 167 one brief period. So my friends complained that I was looking too thin, gaunt, unhealthy.

Like making pate out of goose liver, I began forcing myself to eat more food—even when I wasn’t hungry—to add pounds, bulk, puffy cheeks. This week, after all the desserts around for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I topped the scale at 178-plus one evening. I HAVE GAINED OVER 10 POUNDS. Does my face look “healthier?” I am told it does. Are my abs disappearing? I think so. It’s not a fair test, because I haven’t been doing crunches.

But I have been doing push ups for over eight weeks now, and working on a prescribed program for four weeks that claims I can get to 100 push ups nonstop in just six weeks! Impossible for me to do it that fast, however. I am still stuck on the first day of the fourth week, which sounds more impressive than it is—I was in good enough shape at the start that the program says to jump right to the third week. Now I can’t get past the fourth day (there are three days scheduled each week). I am a long way from completing the fifth of five sets for the day: 32 push ups. I have made it to 13 and then 14 in two tries…it took me three attempts to reach the 21 repetitions for the fourth set. Seems to me it takes huge triceps, because mine blow up like downspouts.

Anyway I may have to supplement my exercise to build up more muscle and strength. At this rate it is going to take me months to reach the promised goal of 100 push ups in six weeks…assuming I can make it to the finish at all.

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Sports/Exercise Report For November

November was respectably active. I did something physically demanding 19 days, down from last month’s 22 days and below my record 25 days in November 2009. I am not counting seven days, when I just did some push ups or a plank. Maybe I should count those days.

I played tennis just seven days, for only 23 1/2 hours, way below my record of 18 days set in June, and my all-time record of 42 3/4 hours. But I did play squash six times for 7 3/4 hours, and went hunting and walking in the woods four times for 6 1/2 hours. So I was moving around: it adds up to 37 3/4 hours.

I also did crunches three times, down from four last month and still a long way from my record of nine sessions in May and in December last year. However I again broke my all-time record for numbers…my best session of 1600 (500+500+600) set a new record over my previous record of 1505 (400+455+650) set last month. Having reached this high level, I pretty much stopped for about five weeks now, taking on the challenge of reaching 100 push ups.

I did some push-ups…10 different days, up from four times last month and setting a record over the eight days in September. My maximum without stopping was 46, no better than my number in September. But I am working on it. I only did a plank once for 210 seconds. Very boring and very strenuous. My record set last month was 270 seconds.

I made it to the Boston gym once and did some lat pull downs.

I am discovering that achieving 10 push ups in six weeks seems impossible for me. But I am sticking with it and will report back later.