By Adam Signoretta
People take the word man too lightly nowadays. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “Man” I think of a someone strong, of honor, and shredded to the bone. A “Man” is capable of withstanding hours, even days of battle, definitely not what is displayed in magazines today: a man in short shorts, Nike Shocks, and a big smile. A man in my opinion should be rugged, solid, barefoot and bare chested, with a look that would strike fear into any opponent. In order to get the look of the man I am talking about, we need to get away of this fluff that is published in so called men’s Fitness magazines. We need to dig deep in the dungeons and pull out the forgotten movements that will make a man.
A man should not only be strong, but be able to survive in any situation. I feel a man should be able to be able to run 5 miles, do 10 pull ups, squat their body weight on their back for 10 reps, dead-lift their body weight for 10 reps, and bench and military press their body weight. How can we create this man, if you are not already there? Simple, read the following.
We must work on the 3 main areas of fitness, strength, conditioning, and nutrition. There are a ton of different exercises that are worthy of making a man, but that would take a while to write and read. Here are a few examples of movements you should do and how to put them together throughout the week. Here is a cliff’s notes version to becoming a man.
The program is set up for 2 different workouts. Workout A will hit all of your push muscles such as chest, shoulders, quads, etc. Workout B will hit all the pull muscles such as hamstrings, back, biceps, etc. This way you can get a full body workout in 2 times a week, but give one side of the body some rest time. (You can never fully isolate the back and the front of the body.)
The exercises should be compound or multi-joint, you can move more weight with these movements, and generally mimic the movements you do through the day. Without going into too much useless detail, the more weight you move, the stronger you will be, and the more hard muscle you will build.
Week 1 you will do Workout A on Monday and Friday, and Workout B only on Wednesday. Then the following week, switch to Workout B on Monday and Friday, and Workout A only on Wednesday.
On Week 1 your are to do the 1st, 3rd, and 5th exercise for 3 sets of 8-10 reps and the 2nd and 4th exercise for 4-5 sets of 5-8 reps each. The 2nd week flip flop the exercises and reps and do so each week.
Rest is very important for muscle and strength gains. This is why the program is designed for 3 days of weight and 2 days of conditioning (will go into detail in the next section), and 2 full days of rest. Your body needs time to regain energy and also your muscles need time to heal. After 4 – 6 weeks, depending on how your body feels, you should unload your weights. Meaning, cut what you normally do to 50% and use the entire week to recover and focus on technique. Do not take your unload week as joke it will determine what your next training cycle will look like.
Here is the workout:
Workout A (Push)
2. Split Squat
4. Overhead Press
Workout B (Pull)
2. Good Mornings
Monday and Friday Workout A
Wednesday Workout B
Monday and Friday Workout B
Wednesday Workout A
Week 3,4,5,6 ….After 6 weeks either repeat or change implement. If you used barbell, use dumbbell or kettlebell. A machine can also be effective for certain exercises (if goal is muscle gain or weight loss, for strength try to stick to free weights).
When it comes to working out, this is an area that is either all or nothing with men. You either do cardio too much, or don’t do it at all. The reasoning for this most guys think that cardio is for the girls or the people looking to lose weight. That is far from the truth, a real man should do real cardio. So lets get away from calling it cardio and call it conditioning. I will talk about 2 form of conditioning, low intensity and high intensity. High intensity is actually the hardcore training and low intensity is for recovery. If you do your conditioning 100% every time you are setting yourself up for some major problems with injury and over training down the road.
I recommend unloading your conditioning the same week you unload your weights. When you unload your cardio simply switch the intensity from high to low. A good way to do this is to do steady state cardio for 20-30 min. By steady state I mean walking or biking or whatever activity you choose, do it at a steady, comfortable pace.
You have 2 different options as to what days to do your cardio. Conditioning can be done after your workout on Monday and Friday, which will give you 4 full days of rest. This is ideal for someone looking to get bigger and stronger. Or you can do cardio on 2 of the days you have off, I would prefer Tuesday and Saturday, this way you have 3 days of work and 1 day of which will help with recovery. This way would be ideal for someone who is looking to cut body fat and maintain strength. Some example of High Intensity Cardio will be:
Sprints – 100 meters or less
Sled Drags – Sprint all out for 10-50 yards with whatever weight you can handle on the sled. No more than 45 sec to complete sprint
Uphill Sprints – all out 10-15 sec is all that’s needed
Weighted Stairs – Use weight vest, sandbags, chains, kettlebells, or whatever you can afford or find. Be creative, the more stairs the better. However, it should not take more than a minute to complete one time up and down the stairs.
Farmers Walks or Waiter Walks – You can use dumbbells or kettlebells if you do not have farmers walk handles. Simply hold the dumbbells at your side and walk as far as you can with them. No more than 60 sec is needed. Waiters walk would be with the weight pressed overhead in a locked out position as you walk. Same thing, no more than 60 sec needed.
You should do 8-15 intervals of either exercise. Depending on whether the exercise is weighted or bodyweight or even how taxing it is on your body will determine rest time. No less than 30 sec and no more than 90 sec should be ideal.
This is the key to any type of performance or appearance goal anyone has. What you put into your body is just as important as what you do in the gym. My recommendations for your daily intake is as followed:
Protein – 1.5 times bodyweight
Carbs – 1.25 times bodyweight
Fat – .25 times bodyweight
Example for a man 160lbs –
Protein = 1.5 x 160 = 240g
Carbs = 1.25 x 160 = 200g
Fat = .25 x 160 = 40g
Calories = 2120
This is an estimate for the amount of food a man at 160lbs should take in. Everyone is different and everyone has different goals. Follow the diet for a week, and see what happens to your weight. If you want to gain weight and you didn’t gain weight slowly increase the calories by 50 to 100 cal each week. If you want to lose weight, do the opposite, lower your calories by 50 to 100 if there is no weight lose. You do not want to gain or lose more than 1-2 lbs a week.
You should try to eat every 2-4 hours, try to equally distribute proteins and carbs throughout the day between 4-7 meals, small portioned meals have worked well for me and many of my clients. To maximize muscle growth, eat more of your carbs before and after you workout.
Follow this simple approach to being a Man at the gym and you will become a better Man outside of the gym as well. Remember that nothing is ever set in stone, a program does not make you a man, the man makes a program. Give it all you have, you always want to leave the gym better than when you went in. If something isn’t working fix it, progression is key in all aspects of life. Next time you hear the word man, I hope you can think of yourself!
Adam Signoretta is a certified personal trainer by the National Academy of Sports Medicine with an extensive knowledge of corrective exercise, performance enhancement and Russian kettleball technique. He is als oan NPC bodybuilder and author of “Be As Strong As You Look – a Handbook for Bodybuilders.” For questions or comments, please contact Adam at Asignoretta@aol.com