Shaping Up

So I have been a keen runner, swimmer and cyclist all my adult life. But never really felt the need to try any scary looking equipment at the gym besides the treadmill, the X-trainer, the spinning thingy, the rowing machine and the swimming pool.

Lately, I am starting to feel the need to shape up a bit. While my workout routine above (4 times a week, 45 mins each session) helps me maintain a decent size, it doesn’t seem to be doing much for my shape.

What other exercises do you guys recommend I should consider? I am not looking to turn into a protein-devouring weighlifting beefhead but a flatter tummy and chest will be kinda nice.

A litle about me… I am 6 feet tall, weigh 81 kgs (178 lbs) and turned 40 this year.


My man, i am everything you don’t want to be but i can provide some advice because what you are looking for is quite common. Contrary to public opinion, long distance exercises doesn’t reduce the fat storage, in fact it may promote it. I would suggest using freeweights and weight training. The bulk you see is a determinant of what someone consumes and less about the actual weight training program. Try to incorporate a 2 day split to start and work up to a 3 day split. Furthermore, although you want a chizzled chest / abs, dont only concentrate on this or you will overtrain and actually act against your improvement.

You’re on the wrong forum.

Here, everybody’s ripped and able to run back-to-back marathons whith a 750 bench and 850 C&J. Any less and you get the hacksaw.

I would do some light weight training and ab/core work outs, alternate it with your cardio. That’s what I do to get muscle tone. Best thing to do though is to watch diet, if you do, then you already know how big a difference that makes.

I have some experience training people and for solo training I think it makes sense to keep it simple. If you are just looking to tone up, simple body weight excercises (not gymnastics) are really all you need. They have the added benefit of of being relatively harder to injure yourself, even without instruction.

Before you do your normal run, go through a circuit of:

3 rounds:

Pull ups, max reps

Push ups, max reps

Sit ups, 50 reps\

Should only take about 15 minutes. Then, with your remaining 30 minutes instead of your normal 45 min running pace, speed it up. Do a five minute warm up and then try to maintain pace for two or three miles at a rate a minute or so above your fastest mile time. That is your goal. If you can’t do it then build up to it. Then stretch. Record your results.

That’s it, you’re done. No additional time needed, just more efficiency in the gym.

BTW, if you’re a runner and have a smart phone MapMyRun is a great, free app. Running outside is way less boring and it tells you what your splits are in real time so you can track results. You really don’t need a treadmill if you prefer running outside.

You don’t even need weights. Push ups, crunches, pull ups, and dips will get you the result you’re looking for.

Edit: brain and I were posting at the sametime.

On a related subject i did c&j 285 two nights ago after pulling 545 for a tripple using a sumo stance.

Why going sumo stance? Legit #'s. What’s your front squat relative to your c&j?

I’m nowhere near those numbers now…but I’m 5’9" ~ 170, so those nubmers would probably be about the peak of my genetic potential.

My form breaks down to much regular stance (i.e my back becomes to rounded and starts to become a stifflegged dl). I’ve never maxed fs but 315 for 3-5 on a good day. I’m 5’11 210ish. FTR, my bench is shit compared to my other lifts partially bc i have long arms, partially bc i have a weak chest.


Add in some cardio as well.

this. i did a 5 five week body weight only program and transformed myself from a flabby ball of dough into a chissled greek god in no time.

google “8 weeks to sealfit pdf” and use that as a guide. it’s difficult but the results are tremendous and the 5 week program builds up gradually so that each workout is not impossible.

I am not a gym body, but the person I knew in life that was in the best shape never used any machines or free weights. He could a ton of pull ups, dips, push ups (diamond, incline, wide stance, decline, vertical, etc) and a ton of sit ups/crunches (incline/regular).

Eating right combined with some resistance/weight training is the key to a good physique. You can do 5,000 situps a day and run for 45 minutes, but if you eat poorly your abs will never show. You will have skinny legs and a fat stomach.

This guy, Frank Medrano is kind of amazing. He does a little bit of bodyweight work in the vid…maybe start somewhat slower.


And this guys is just funny. I want somebody yelling this sh!t at me at the gym.




Thanks for sharing the vid Brian. I’m honestly amazed. The kid I knew did something similar to that, but obviously to a way toned down extent. He could do vertical pushups, but against a wall. It’s all about those stabilizing muscles. Look at those obliques?

The move where he was “walking” was great.

Wouldn’t you end up with toothpick legs?

Since everything is basic body weight (no one-armed push ups and other harder stuff) and you’re running pretty fast, you’re just going to end up with low body fat and pretty tight and sinewy. Skinny guys are actually usually really good at bodyweight movements and running, and when you do those things your body tends to adapt to that physique.

Toothpick look comes from guys that hit the bench every time they go to the gym and never squat, run fast or do anything else for their lower body. If you are lifting heavy weights then you need to get the big three (or four ) in: press (bench or overhead), squat, deadlift. But, just for basic bodyweight movements it is not as important if you are running fast too. Could always throw in some unweighted squats too if he wants to do something other than running for his lower body.

Nice thing about push up, pull up, sit up is that it works, is functional movement and is pretty hard to screw up. I would not just send some guy on the internet off to start deadlifting and squating without any instruction.

The thing that works for me: 5 sets of 5. If you can do that, add weight on the next day. Make sure you hit the big exercises - bench press, military press, squats, deadlifts, dips, and a few curls (DB or BB) and deltoid raises (DB). I built my routines around those, and then just fill in various exercies until I’ve killed the target muscle group or ran out of time. But I’m going for building size, your goals may be different.

Edit: and if you’re running you probably already have decent legs, but that adductor walk thing is another mainstay (you know, when people walk around the gym taking verrrrryyyyyyyy long steps)