My son and I started this a year ago when he was 17 and I was 47. He convinced me to do this one year challenge with him and while he only made it half way, I'm very thankful he did. I never imagined that at 48 years old, I would be stronger than I ever was in my life. My Jiu Jiutsu improved significantly from BWF and I won a medal right after getting my purple belt. That was definitely a highlight from the year.
My son also insisted on the 1-year video. Hope you enjoy it!
For all my avid followers, this may sound like sad news. But in fact, it's a time to celebrate!
What I've learned:
One year challenges are hard. No, really. Staying dedicated to something for a year and sticking with it is more difficult than I thought it would be. I'm not sure why this surprised me - I've learned that almost everything in life that is valuable takes work - often hard work. As you may have noticed, my partner in this challenge (my son) who started this journey with me, didn't quite make it. I think that's a testimony to how difficult it was. (By the way, ALL OF THIS was his idea.) Not to make an excuse for him, but I don't think fathers are as motivating as sons. Part of the reason I stuck with it was I made a commitment to him.
My thoughts on RR:
I've been pretty clear that I'm a huge fan. As you can see, I gained a little mass - not much. I put on about 3 pounds (started at 165 and now I'm 168 - not all that weight is muscle). Part of this is because my body type. Part of it is because I didn't go super hard for the entire year (3x+ per week, 1 hour + per workout). And part of it is because I'm 48 - I just don't build muscle like I used to.
The biggest upside is that Body Weight Fitness makes sense for your body. I'm not stressing muscles and connective tissue by lifting huge amounts of weight. I got much stronger and was able to work out even when I had minor injuries from BJJ (this was never true for lifting weights - at least for me). I NEVER injured myself from RR. This is huge. My core strength has significantly increased and my agility is better. I felt and saw the results most noticeably in grappling (BJJ). It's real. It's definitely one of the reasons I got my purple belt so quickly (probably shaved a year off that process) and it's why I did so well at the tournament (that and the grace of God :-) ).
BODY LINE DRILLS
All the positional holds become easier and my form improved considerably. I can hold them all with good form for 60 seconds easily at this point.
Pull-ups (the L sit and pull up was the most challenging part of this workout consistently for me)
Another great month on RR. I battled the flu this month so I missed a couple work-outs. I'm still making slow progress. I've made a little progress since I moved to 2x per week back in August.
For the core workout, I'm doing the following:
Pull-ups 10,9,8 Dips 10,9,8 (I'm also more stable)
L-sit 40 sec one-leg x 2 Squats 2 x 10 (35 lbs)
Push-ups 3 x 10 rings Low-rows 10,9,8
(for the push-ups I've moved to ring-out and holding them close)
I moved to two times a week back in the summer and now have the workout down to 45 minutes. This is much easier in my schedule and allows me to do BJJ several times a week (I have not been running as much as I would like). I continue to make slow progress but have started to plateau. This is probably due to the twice a week and slightly shorter workout. One of the most notable things (besides the strength and agility in Jiu Jitsu) is my ability to work out with minor injuries. BJJ can be rough on your body. I've had rotor cuff issues which I did a couple months of PT for, a very sore sternum, sore knees and elbows and wrists at various times, and I have been able to work through all of those with RR. I actually believe it helps me recover quicker from minor injuries. I'm a huge fan!
September has been an amazing month. I continue to get stronger - not by a lot, but RR is working. The place I've noticed the most growth in my Jiu Jitsu. I mentioned this in a previous post - it's not only the strength but also the balance and mobility. My core continues to get stronger too which is great for grappling.
My first surprise this month was receiving my purple belt. I'm a little less than three years in and in many ways felt like it was pre-mature (I still have a TON to learn). My instructor assured me it was not.
The second surprise came at a BJJ tournament. Several people at my gym signed up to compete at the Tap Cancer Out Tournament so I decided to join them. I competed last year as a blue-belt and felt like I was ready this year. I wasn't expecting to get my purple belt a week before the tournament and so I considered dropping out. However I decided just to go and have fun and do my best. Tournaments are fantastic learning experiences and I'm not getting younger.
For folks who have not wrestled, it's hard to explain how physically exhausting grappling is. Last year at the tournament I've never felt so exhausted (and I've done a lot of athletic things that have pressed me to my limit). When someone is trying to choke you for six minutes, it's cause for motivation. The problem is that you're also trying to choke your opponent who is equally motivated and is using every bit of skill and strength he has to keep that from happening. After six minutes of this, usually you're both spent. If you're lucky enough to win the match, you get to do it again :-)
I was shocked when I ended up winning the first match by submission. I was exhausted by the end of it. I then ended up winning the second match which was crazy. Half way through the match my opponent just ran out of energy. I felt his body give up and so I sunk a quick submission before he recovered. I couldn't believe I made it to the final to compete for first place. And even though I didn't win the final match, I actually did good. My opponent beat me on points. I ended up with a silver medal. The other highlight was he was so exhausted (and 15 years younger than me) that he couldn't take the photo on the podium immediately after the match. He was sitting over the trashcan thinking he might vomit.
So why post this here? I've put a ton of hard work into Jiu Jitsu. I love it. RR has made my game better. It's also made me stronger and I think healthier. I'm a believer :-)
I settled into my two times per week routine. For the core workout, I'm doing the following:
Pull-ups 10,9,8 Dips 3x8
L-sit 40 sec one-leg x 2 Squats 2 x 8 (35 lbs)
Push-ups 3 x 10 rings Low-rows 3 x 9
I'm still doing the warm-up, stretches, core work and position holds (handstands, etc) although I've shortened it a bit. The overall workout takes less than 45 minutes usually.
Twice a week has been great for me. It allows me to run at least once a week and do BJJ three times a week. It's been a great balance and I feel stronger than I've been in the last 25 years. I'm also working out almost as much as I was when I was trying do RR three times per week. Sometimes less is more :-)
The summer is flying by. We spent a week at the shore and a week in Canada. I was able to workout while traveling. RR is definitely easy to do most anywhere.
For July I made the switch to doing RR twice a week. I've moved to a Tuesday/Thursday schedule. I'm running 3-4 miles on Mondays and Fridays. BJJ is Wednesdays and Saturdays and then open-mat on Sundays. At my age, I think I need to figure out how to get one day of rest in there but I really enjoy all of these activities. So far, this schedule is working well. I'm also hoping to compete at a BJJ tournament in late September so I don't want to cut anything out until after the tournament. Why compete at 47? I have no idea. I guess it's something to work towards.
The most noticeable difference RR has made is that I'm clearly stronger. I see and feel this mostly at Jiu Jitsu. I also have better balance in BJJ - I move and anticipate opponents movements better. RR is a great compliment for something like grappling.
The elephant in the room - where's Micah?
June was a tough month for us. I had a BJJ injury. I thought I broke my forearm but fortunately it was just a deep bruise. I missed four workouts while my arm healed. It seems like Micah is losing interest. He's made some noise about joining a gym - he thinks he does better in that environment. I also think having your dad as your training partner while you're a teenager is not actually a motivator.
I'm still making progress but it's slow. I'm doing 3x10 on the ring push-ups without a problem. Everything else has been marginal progress. The think I've noticed the most is that my Jiu Jitsu is improving. The strength and balance has made a difference. I think for July I'm going to go to 2 RR workouts a week so I can do more BJJ and add running back into my routine. I can't seem to find a good balance when I do 3 RR workouts per week. I hit my physical limit on working out sooner that I wish I did. My plan is to do Tuesday Thursday RR, Wed Sat Sun BJJ and then run Monday and Friday. I'll let you know how that goes!
Another good month with BWF. Micah made a minor change to the routine which got him to do it a bit more. I've stuck with it. It's slow growth. This month I've seen improvement with the L-sit and push-ups. I can do 3 x 8 ring push ups without a problem. I'm going to move to 3 x 10 this month. I can hold 40 seconds on one leg L-sits without a problem and have added the bar assisted full L-sit for the last rep. I'm making slow progress on the pull-ups, low rows, and the hand-stand. I'm not quite ready for ring-dips - I think I'll move to 3 x 10 on normal dips this month and maybe try ring dips in August.
Almost half way there. I hope to be able to do a floor L-sit for a few seconds by the half way point and 3 x 8 "clean" pull-ups.
April was a tough month. I'm trying to workout three times a week. Micah has been less committed. This month I missed three workouts (I might have forgot to mark one). One of the challenges is the Regular Routine is a tough work-out. I felt the mental aspect of it four months in. I'm hoping to re-dedicate myself to it during May.
Now on the good side. I'm still making progress. Pull-ups and L-sits are the most challenging parts of the work out. I'm up to three sets of 8 pull-ups but the last few of the last set are not clean. For L-sits, I do one leg assist on each side for 40 seconds and for the third set I use dumb bells as elevation handles and do a knee tuck L-sit. I'm making progress with the hand stand. And I've made the most progress with push-ups. I've moved to ring push ups and can do 3 sets of 7. I've tried the rings with the support hold - it's SUPER difficult. Gymnasts make this look SO easy.
This month I plan to continue to make slow progress on the pull-ups. I hope to have 3 clean sets by the end of May. I will work towards 30 seconds on the ring support holds. And I hope to have a full 30 seconds on the knee tuck L sit. I'm working toward a full L-sit by the end of June (month 6 - the half way point).
Last observation - I'm only doing Jiu Jitsu twice a week and I'm convinced that the RR has had a huge impact of my BJJ. I'm stronger than I've ever been.
Three months in and we're still at it. I'm working out three days a week - Micah is doing it less often. I continue to hop that he picks up the pace. Working out with dad is not as cool as he thought it might be :-)
This month I only missed two days and I'm still seeing progress. Most notable is the progress for push-ups and dips. I'm up to 3 sets of 10 diamond push-ups and don't feel super challenged by them. I just purchased rings so I moving to ring push-ups this coming week. Between my shoulder and sternum issues, I struggled with dips the first two months. I finally got those sorted and 3 sets of 8 dips are relatively easy at this point. Mid April I hope to move to ring dips. I continue to progress on the L-sit. I can hold a full L-sit for a few seconds with hand bars. I've continued to see slow progress on the hand-stand. The place I'm making the least progress is pull-ups. My first set is cleaner than it was last month - I can do 8 very solid pull ups (more if I push myself). But I still can't do 3 sets of 8 legit pull-ups (I do them but the get ugly at the end).
The one place I've struggled is to find balance between the physical activities I love. Three one-hour work-outs is a real time commitment for me (as well as a physical commitment). I'm only going to Jiu Jitsu twice a week at this point. And I'm struggling to find time to run. I might try to cut the RR to twice a week, JJ twice a week and run twice a week. I've been thinking about that a lot -I guess we will see.
February has been a bit of a tough month. I injured my shoulder at Jiu Jitsu. Both Micah and I were sick (Micah was sick longer than I was). The good news is that I only missed two work outs and I'm still seeing progress. Micah missed a bit more. This has lead to some interesting conversations about hard work, discipline and motivation. If you can master those three, you have half of life figured out. The other half has to do with grace, kindness, love and justice :-)
The biggest area of improvement this month has been my L Sit. I'm doing one leg support for 40 seconds. I'm also doing three sets of 10 reps of diamond push-ups. My pull-ups are getting cleaner - 3 sets of 8 reps. And my balance is slowly improving in the handstand. All good stuff! Still loving the workout!!
We began the second month this week. On Wednesday we made our first progression. We moved from regular BWF push-ups to diamond push-ups. We're still working on the form for diamond push-ups. On Friday we made our second progression. We moved from double foot assisted L-sits to single foot assisted L-sits. We had worked to three sets of 40 seconds on the double foot assisted. We started at 30 seconds with the single foot. A great video on the L-sit progression is here!
Are you eating enough? Exercising enough? Sleeping enough?
During staff planning this summer at our school, one teacher shared a story about how his father would always ask the same set of questions when his father thought he needed help, “Are you eating enough? Exercising enough? Sleeping enough?” After sharing this story, the teacher said something that stuck with me. “This takes care of 60% of our problems. We have each other for the other 40%.” So much of what we do in life depends on our overall well being. I have lots more to say on that topic but THIS blog about our 1-year challenge, so I'll stop there.
One month in, and it's going well. Micah is recovering from his knee surgery. Micah has missed two weeks of working out (six total) due to the surgery. I've missed one day so far. The chart we're keeping has been a motivator for me. Knowing it's posted publicly and all our followers (Aiden) see it, also helps keep me honest. But I think the biggest motivator so far is that I'm able to do this with my son. And at his age, 75% of his workout builds muscle and 25% maintains it. It's the opposite for me. So if I want to get close to sticking with him, I've got to put the work in :-)
Micah did his first workout this week since the surgery. He did great! No dips and no leg work, but he was able to do everything else (even the handstand).
Three weeks in and I've noticed a few things. I'm getting calluses on my hands. It's kind-of cool. My form continues to improve. We've been doing wall assisted hand stands for 45 - 60 seconds. Today I was able to pull off the wall for a few seconds during the handstand. It's a baby step AND it's progress. And finally, I've gotten the workout down to one-hour which is great. I'm still loving it!
The other highlight from today was Micah and I helped move the BJJ gym. They got a new spot and we worked five hours moving, laying mats and building stuff. We had a great time and got a good workout in :-)
The second week is done. Fifty more to go :-) We're working out three times a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Micah had surgery at the end of the first week. He missed four workouts and he plans to be back starting Monday.
After just six workouts, I have become much more aware of my form. I'm sure if there was a professional coach working with me, he would point out all the things that I'm doing wrong. But since YouTube doesn't have that feature, I think I'm doing pretty good. My form has improved.
We decided to take a picture of the tallies and a picture of us at the end of each week. I'll post them here. Micah plans to make a video at the end of the 1 year challenge that captures our progress. Hopefully the photos are helpful for that too.
My dad worked out alone today :( He said he could already feel a difference by the third workout!
I had surgery on my knee yesterday from an older BJJ injury. I should be out of BJJ for a couple months but a big old brace on my leg isn't going to stop me from the RR! I'll be back at it next week hopefully.
The picture below shows the chart that my dad added to our workout station - each tally is a day of the RR completed. We should have somewhere around 150 tallies by the end of year, along with a sick motivation 1 year transformation video!!!
Also here's a picture of my braced up leg.
Our second workout was a success! It's actually a great workout. It starts off slow but by the end you can feel it! We spent some time watching Antranik's videos between workouts (and before our first workout) to understand the routine and form. Micah has been very helpful in figuring out the form and navigating through the videos.
We decided to workout Monday, Wednesday, Fridays. This allows us to do BJJ on the weekends. I hope to squeeze a run or two in during the week.
Our starting progression is below:
Bodyweight Fitness - Recommended Routine
Shoulder Rolls Set 1, Reps: 10, Scapular Shrugs Set 1, Reps: 10, Camel Bends Set 1, Reps: 10, Straight Arm Overhead Pull Downs Set 1, Reps: 10, Straight Arm Chest Flies Set 1, Reps: 10, Band Dislocates Set 1, Reps: 10, Front Leg Swings Set 1, Reps: 10, Side Leg Swings Set 1, Reps: 10, Wrist Mobility Exercises Set 1, Reps: 10 EACH
Body Line Drills
Plank Set 1, Minutes: 1, Side Plank (Both Sides) Set 1, Minutes: 1, Reverse Plank Set 1, Minutes: 1, Hollow Hold Set 1, Minutes: 1, Arch Hold Set 1, Minutes: 1
Stomach-to-Wall Handstand Set 1, Minutes: 1, Set 2, Minutes: 1, Set 3, Minutes: 1,
Parallel Bar Support Set 1, Seconds: 45 Set 2, Seconds: 45 Set 3, Seconds: 45
Pull Ups Parallel Bar Dips
Set 1, Reps: 7 Set 1, Reps: 8
Set 2, Reps: 7 Set 2, Reps: 8
Set 3, Reps: 6 Set 3, Reps: 8
Squat (with 35 lbs) Foot-supported L-Sit
Set 1, Reps: 10 Set 1, Seconds: 30
Set 2, Reps: 10 Set 2, Seconds: 30
Set 3, Reps: 10 Set 3, Seconds: 30
(See the video - these pushups are much different than the basic one you learned in gym class years ago)
Pushup Horizontal Row
Set 1, Reps: 10 Set 1, Reps: 8
Set 2, Reps: 10 Set 2, Reps: 8
Set 3, Reps: 8 Set 3, Reps: 8
Our first workout was a success! The REDDIT site is a must in following this workout.
Before we got started, we took our weight (Dad = 165, Son = 160) and took our day 1 photos (flexed and unflexed - shown below).
I found the foot supported L-sit very difficult. I felt like my arms were too short to get my rear-end off the ground. It was quite frustrating. I also struggled with the wall supported hand-stand. Then I checked out this video. I was able to do the foot supported L-Sit. The hand stand is also challenging. I kept trying it and eventually got it.
FORM IS EVERYTHING in this workout. And Antranik's videos are AWESOME!
We had an exciting first day!
My son convinced me to do a 1-year challenge. After some research, he found Bodywork Fitness (BWF formerly known as the Regular Routine) on REDDIT. The support materials and videos are impressive. One of the great things about BWF is that it does not require weights. However, it does require a place to do a few exercises. I was surprised that I could not find a simple plan to build a gym for these exercises. So we decided to make one!
My goals in building this gym were:
- Inexpensive (I went through several designs and kept simplifying them.
Eight 2x4s and two 3 foot 1" cast iron pipes along with fasteners are all you need)
- Compact (my wife permitted me to put in our bedroom.
We don't have a lot of space)
- Easy to build and easy to use!
Check out the Instructable on how to build it (we got over 6K views
in the first 24 hours!)
Check out the REDDIT post here.
You can download the directions at the link below.