Being a meathead during coronavirus, a practical guide

“If you’re a pussy and don’t lift weights, people will kick sand in your face at the beach,” – Charles Atlas

A quick scan of the cesspool that is Twitter, during the current coronavirus lockdown will reveal two distinct groups of people — one group passes the time doing kettlebell swings, eating steak, and reading books, while their slothful counterparts lounge about all day watching New Girl reruns, ordering Seamless, and posting “STAY THE FUCK INSIDE” to all of their social media accounts.

It’s no surprise that the Karens of the world; the soft-bodied, Caucasian, suburban housewives, and their dad-bod addled male partners are the ones who seem to be freaking out the most amid the current pandemic. They’ve committed themselves to a never-ending cycle of zoom work meetings in their pjs, binge watching Netflix, devouring comfort food, and an endless schedule of zoom happy hours. The choice they have made is to hole up for the duration and bombard their systems with short-term pleasures, to numb the pain of this virulent Groundhog Day. But remedying the anxiety and stress caused by the government mandated shutdown of the entire planet, with the dopamine rush that comes from a virtue signaling Facebook post, or the mouthfeel provided by a bowl of Rocky Road probably isn’t a good long term strategy.

Obviously, if you are an essential frontline worker, or you’ve been put in dire financial straights, this is the time for prioritizing survival. You guys do what you gotta do (although you are of course welcome to any of the sage guidance provided herein).

On the other hand, if you’re in a reasonably good financial position and are essentially just sitting around, working from home, and waiting for this thing to pass, then consider this blog post a handy guide to getting through coronavirus without becoming a raging fatass.

DIET

You can still eat incredibly tasty foods without packing on massive amounts of fat. The key is making sure those meals are filled with protein and vegetables. People are constantly test driving new diets in hopes that ‘this will be the one to finally give me abs’, but really it’s about consistency over a long period of time. I don’t have a one-size fits all solution to your dietary needs, but if your grocery cart includes a mixture of the following, you’re in good shape:

Proteins: Steak, chicken, ground beef, ground pork, salmon, tuna, shrimp, eggs, bacon (for fun, but not too much)

Fruits, Vegetables, other things that grow in the earth: Broccoli, peppers, onions, spinach, mushrooms, avocados, apples, berries, nuts, beans, garlic, potatoes, oranges, ginger, lemons, and limes

Etc: White rice (great versatile carb that tastes good with most protein/veggie combos), corn tortillas, olive oil, coconut oil, butter, sea salt, almond milk, various teas (I like mint, chamomile, green, and pomegranate), coffee.

In addition to the above, I keep an absurd amount of hot sauce on hand, but that’s because I really like hot sauce. If you haven’t dabbled I highly recommend it. Sauces like Tapatio and Texas Pete are great for punching up the flavor of most meats if you don’t have the time/skills for serious home cooking, while other, more potent brands can be added in small amounts to sauces and egg scrambles for a nice kick.

As for booze and dessert. I love alcohol and I love donuts. Ice cream and cake fucking rule too, and life wouldn’t be worth living without those indulgences, or the occasional adult beverage (I’ll do another post on how I’m stocking my home bar). I’m also a huge pizza guy. The key, when it comes to keeping fat off of your ass (and other body parts) is moderation. Reserve the dessert for Sunday night, and keep the booze relegated to Fri-Sun. If you’re afraid of looking like a square because you’re drinking water during your BFF’s Thirsty Thursday Cheers To My Besties Zoom Happy Hour, don’t worry, you’re already a fucking square for taking part in a zoom happy hour.

Eating delicious, healthy food and minimizing your alcohol consumption are simple ways to improve your physical and mental well being. Cutting down on booze will result in much better quality sleep (so will reducing screen time, but nobody is gonna follow that advice), and replacing carb bombs with meat and veggies will make you lean and sexy with a healthy digestive system — which is believed to be a huge mood booster.

Now that you’ve primed your body with a good night’s rest and quality calories, it’s time to go out and kick your own ass. There are a lot of different ways you can challenge yourself physically; some people run long distance, some people prefer yoga, rock climbing, whatever. Personally, I’m a fuckin meathead. I have been one since 8th grade, and I don’t anticipate giving that up any time soon. As such, I really enjoy lifting up heavy things, and the current lockdown has put a serious cramp in my style.

When I have gym access, I tend to favor a DeFranco style Westside program. This involves starting a workout with an explosive priming movement like medicine ball slams or plyo pushups if it’s an upper-body day, or some sort of jump if it’s a lower-body workout. This is followed by a main movement — heavy pressing or high-rep pullups for the upper body, and squats or deadlifts for the lower body. After that it’s high-rep bodybuilding work, and a very intense finisher to end the workout. On ‘off days’ I like yoga, foam rolling, and long walks.

So what’s a goon to do when the gym is closed? Improvise. Gather up any home gym equipment at your disposal and use it to give yourself a beating. I have a foam roller, jump rope, yoga mat, and 25 lbs kettlebell. It’s not great, but that’s where we’re at. You can order gear online, but everyone seems to be doing that, so deliveries are taking forever. If you have absolutely nothing you can always use your own bodyweight, or head to Home Depot (there’s a lot you can do with sandbags, pvc pipe, and sledgehammers). I do a lot of pullups and the fascists who run Union City closed the park the day they installed a new pullup bar, and have yet to reopen despite getting permission from the state, so I’ve been using construction scaffolding until they come to their senses and realize that it’s easier for people to socially distance in a massive park, than it is on a narrow sidewalk.

Lengthy preamble out of the way, here’s what I’ve been up to workoutwise since March 29 (I didn’t record the first couple weeks, because I foolishly thought we’d be allowed to go back to the gym much sooner). I’ll update this each week, and will be happy to answer questions in the comments, or via my contact page.

If your situation allows, you should definitely do these workouts outside. Vitamin D is an immune system booster, and if you’re a male of the heterosexual persuasion there are a lot of really hot chicks going out for runs (you don’t need to leer at them like a creep, but let’s be honest, everyone loves hot chicks…am I right? Yeahhhh, pound it!)

Workouts:

Wk 1

Day 1

Pull/Chin-up workout (I’ll spell it out here, and you can apply the set/rep scheme wherever you see the words Pull/Chin-up workout), I also took a nice long walk.

Max wide grip pullups, rest 15 seconds, max shoulder width pull up, rest 15 seconds, max reps chin ups, rest 15 seconds, max reps narrow grip chins, rest three minutes, and repeat. After a few weeks you can add another ‘repeat’ at the end if you need more reps.

Day 2

Jump rope x 100

Followed by a ‘5 round workout’: Round 1: 10 burpees. Round 2: 10 burpees, 25 shoulder tap planks. Round 3: 10 burpees, 25 shoulder taps, 50 cossack squats. Round 4: 10 burpees, 25 shoulder taps, 50 cossack squats, 100 choose your own ab movement. Round 5: 10 burpees, 25 shoulder taps, 50 cossack squats, 100 abs, 150 prisoner squats.

Jump rope x 100

Day 3

Pull/chin-up workout, long stroll, 50 weighted pushups (backpack with 25-lbs kettlebell)

Day 4

Jump rope x 100

This will be known as the ‘Arnold Workout’ because I stole it from the Governator’s reddit page: 50 pushups, 50 bottom-up overhead kettlebell press, 50 1-arm kettlebell row, 150 ab reps (you pick em), 50 alternating toe touches, 70 prisoner squats, 50 calf raises, 30 chins.

Jump rope x 100

Day 5

Long walk

Day 6

Jump rope x 100

Bodyweight workout: Round 1: 10 pushups, 10 jump squats, repeat as many times as possible in 3 minutes. Round 2: Same as round one but 12 pushups and 12 jump squats. Round 3: Same as previous two rounds but with 14 pushups and 14 jump squats.

Jump rope x 100

Day 7

Pull/chin-up workout, long stroll, 50 weighted pushups

Week 2

Day 1

Jump rope x 100

5 rounds, 3 minutes each, of the following circuit: American KB swing x 10, Russian twist x 20, jump over my backpack x 20, mountain climbers to fill the remaining time.

Jump rope x 100

Day 2

Jump rope x 200

As many times through the following circuit as possible in 16 minutes:

Jump rope x 100, jumping jacks x 80, Russian Twist x 60, reverse lunge x 40, seal pushup x 20

Rest 3 minutes

As many times through the following circuit as possible in 8 minutes:

20 alternating toe touches, 15 heel kicks, 10 speed skater squats

Jump rope x 200

Day 3

Long walk

Day 4

Pull\chin-up workout, long walk, weighted pushups x 50, mechanical drop set pushups (15 feet up, 12 flat, 10 incline).

Day 5

Jump rope x 200

Arnold workout

Jump rope x 200

Day 6

Long walk, pull\chin-up workout, 50 x weighted pushups, 1 round of mechanical drop-set pushups

Day 7

Jump rope x 200

As many times through this cycle as possible in 20 minutes: KB squat clean x 10, jump rope x 70, 1-arm kb thruster x 10, flutter kick x 35, 1-arm KB thruster x 10, jump rope x 70.

Jump rope x 200

Week 3

Day 1

Jump rope x 200

25 rounds of: Prisoner squat x 5, lunge x 6, pushup x 7

Jump rope x 200

Day 2

Hill Run

*I decided to add hill runs to the routine because it was getting warmer out, and I noticed my legs looking a little atrophied. It’s tough build or maintain muscle on bodyweight squats alone, but hill sprints are a killer leg workout. If you see ‘hill run’ on here, it means I went for a walk and ran really fast up any big hills I could find. Been a while since I’ve done these, and I was quickly reminded that doing hill sprints will make you feel like a fucking animal, especially if you chase them with a nice juicy steak. If you live in the Hoboken area, the 14th Street viaduct is a beast, go get it!

Day 3

Jump rope x 250

Arnold workout

Jump rope x 250

Day 4

Pull/chin-up workout

Hill run

3x Single-leg squat variation mechanical drop sets: Bulgarian split x 10, lunge x 8, reverse lunge x 6.

Relaxing stroll home

Day 5

Hill run

Week 4

Day 1

Long walk, stretch/yoga

Day 2

Long walk, stretch/yoga

Day 3

Long walk, pull/chin-up workout, weighted pushups

Day 4

Jump rope x 300

Arnold workout

Jump rope x 300

Day 5

500 KB swings (as many sets as you need to hit 500 total reps)

In between sets of KB swings perform exercises of your choosing for sets of 10. This will be known as the 500 kb swing workout.

Day 6

Hill run, pull\chin-up workout, weighted pushups

Day 7

Hill run

Week 5

Day 1

Long walk, yoga/stretch

Day 2

Long walk, yoga/stretch

Day 3

Long walk, pull/chin-up workout, weighted pushups

Day 4

Jump rope x 350

Arnold workout

Jump rope x 350

Day 5

Hill run

Day 6

Hill run followed by pull/chin-up workout

Day 7

Hill run

Week 6

Day 1

Long walk, yoga, stretch

Day 2

Long walk, yoga, stretch

Day 3

500 KB swing workout

Day 4

Arnold workout

Day 5

Jump rope x 350

Chin-ups x 70 (as many sets as you need to get there)

Pushups x 150 (as many sets as you need to get there)

Jump rope x 350

Day 6

Hill run

Day 7

Hill run

Week 7

Day 1

Long walk, yoga, stretch

Day 2

Long walk, yoga, stretch

Day 3

KB swing x 100, push ups x 100, lunge x 100/leg, KB OH press x 100/side, KB row x 100/side, KB curl x 100/side

Day 4

Chins/pull-up ladder: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Hill run

Day 5

Jump rope x 400

Prisoner squat x 300 (as many sets as needed)

Pushups x 200 (as many sets as needed)

Jump rope x 400

Day 6

Hill Run

Day 7

Jump Rope x 1000

Week 8

Day 1/Day 2 Rest

Day 3

KB swing x 100

Pushups x 100

Single leg lunge or squat variation x 100

OH Press x 200 (100/arm)

Row x 200 (100/arm)

Curl x 200 (100/arm)

Day 4

As fast as possible, 5 rounds of:

1 arm overhead KB lunge x 5/side

10x alternating bear row

OH KB press x 5/side

Goblet squat

Day 5

Jump Rope x 300

DB incline bench 35 x 20, 45 x 20, 45 x 20

3 Point DB Row 45 x 20, 20, 20, 20

DB Military Press 35 x 20, 15, 12, 25 x 12

Goblet Squat 65 x 20, 45 x 17, 17, 15

DB RDL 65 x 15, 14, 13, 12

DB Curl 20 x 20, 20, 15, 15

Jump Rope x 300

Week 8

Day 1\2\3 – Off (It was MDW, so I was down the shore doing a fair amount of drinking, thus I took an extra day off)

Day 4

Pullups x 35

Big ass hill run

Day 5

Jump rope x 1000

Hollow Rock x 30

Day 6

Jump rope x 500

500 total kb swings throughout the following workout:

DB Incline Press 45 x 20, 20, 20

3 Point DB Row 45 x 20, 20, 20, 20

Mil Press 35kb x 20, 20, 18, 16

Goblet Squat 35kb x 25, 25, 25, 25

KB Swing 35kb x 15, 15, 15, 15 (this is included in 500 rep total)

Curl 35 x 15, 25 x 20, 20, 20

Carry – Brief Case 80lbs/arm 60 yds total

Day 7

KB swings x 250 total w/35 lb kb

Jump rope x 500

Week 9

Day 1\2\3 – Off (I’ve been increasing the intensity of my hill runs, so I’m adding a little extra recovery. A little more drinking and more time spent in the sun because it’s beach season also mean I’m more dehydrated than usual, so an additional day to chill out each week has been a nice change)

Day 4 – Pullup/chinup workout, hill runs

Day 5 – This was a good old fashioned ass beating courtesy of Crossfit Hoboken.

2 rounds of the following, for weight I used a 35 lbs kettlebell

400 m run, 20 object pickups, 20 burpees, 20 pushups, 800 m run, 20 object pickups, 20 burpees, 20 pushups

Day 6

Jump rope x 1000

Day 7

Biceps blast after recording my podcast

Db Curl 4x 4-6 w/45 lbs

Incline Curl 4 x 4-6 w/30 lbs

Preacher DB Curl 4×8 w/30 lbs

Concentration Curl 2×20 w/20 lbs

Week 10

Day 1\2\3 – Recover

Day 4

Pull up/chin up workout, hill run

Day 5

Big Hill Run

Day 6

Db Curl 4x 4-6 w/45 lbs

Incline Curl 4 x 4-6 w/30 lbs

Preacher DB Curl 4×8 w/30 lbs

Concentration Curl 2×20 w/20 lbs

Day 7

KB workout with 35lbs kb

3 rounds of

Goblet squat x 10, 1 arm row x 8/side, 1 arm press x 5/side, swing x 15, shoulder halo x 8/direction, hip halo x 8/direction, around the leg pass x 5/direction, swing x 15, squat press x 8/side, swing x 15

Week 11

***My sleep schedule has been a nightmare this week, so I’m backing off on workouts for a few days, but still staying active

Day 1

Walk/cold ocean swim

Day 2\3 – off

Day 4

Long walk

Day 5

Long walk

Day 6

Long walk

Day 7

Long Walk

Week 12

Day 1\2\3 – off

Day 4

Pull ups x 5 x max, hill run

Day 5

Beach sprints x 20 minutes (sprint, walk back, sprint, repeat)

Day 6 – off

Day 7

KB Swings x 500

Week 13

Day 1\2\3 – off

Day 4

5 rounds of: 10 goblet single leg squats, 10 kb swings

As many rounds as possible in 16 of: 10 x kb power clean lunge, 20 dead bugs, 10 x kb rev lunge, 20 hollow rocks

Day 5

5 rounds of: 15 shoulder press, 10 plank rotations

As many rounds as possible in 16 min: 100m farmers carry, 20 push jerks, 100m front rack carry, 10 burpees

Day 6

3 rounds of: 10 x chest press, 10 band pull apart

3 rounds for time: 20 American swings, 20 burpees, 300m run, 3 min rest

Day 7

Every Minute On The Minute – 8 min: Band Pull x 9, Goblet Squat x 12

Every Minute On The Minute – 8 min: Rev Lunge x 12, Plank x 45 sec

Ascending Ladder, 8 min: KB Snatch left, KB Push Press left, KB Snatch right, KB Push Press right

Week 14

Day 1 – Bike ride, ocean swim

Day 2/3 – Off

***UPDATE: HOLY SHIT! WE CAN FINALLY USE THE PULL UP BARS/FITNESS EQUIPMENT THAT THE FASCISTS RUNNING UNION CITY DECIDED TO KEEP WRAPPED IN CAUTION TAPE FOR 3 MONTHS***

Day 4 – 5 rounds of: 10 x goblet split squat, 10 x kb swing

16 min AMRAP: 10 x KB clean/lunge, 20 x dead bug, 10 x 1 arm rev lunge, 20 x situps

Jungle gym: Heavy band pushup 3 x 1-3, mechanical drop set pushups 3 x 10/10/10, fat man pull up 4 x 6-8, weighted chin (25 lbs) 3 x 3-5, dip 3 x 6-8, OH KB press 3 x 10

Day 5

5 rounds of: 10 x rear foot elevated split squat, 10 x hip thrust

3 rounds for time: 100 x jump rope, 15 pike pushups, 20 Russian swings, 15 pike pushups, 100 x jump rope

Pull ups: 5 x max

Day 6

Band pull/shoulder dislocate: 5 x 10

Horizontal band row: 3 x 10

Band upright row: 3 x 10

Band curl: 3 x 10

Band triceps ext: 3 x 10

Scap pull up: 3 x 10

Hanging leg raise: 3 x 5

Day 7

DB Goblet Squat 5×5

Burpee 3×15

Week 15

Day 1\2\3 – Off

Day 4 – 5×5 Pullups, Long walk around JC\Hoboken

Day 5 – Weighted Chins 5×5, Walking lunge, various holds, 6×5, Yoga for text neck, tight hamstrings

Day 6 – Yoga for text neck (I did this yesterday as well, and will do more going forward. My neck has been super cranky lately, probably from looking at too much porn on my phone because this lockdown is getting very boring)

Day 7 – Yoga for neck and hamstrings

I included some links along the way for those who want to dig deeper on this stuff, but for the most part these workouts come from Crossfit Hoboken’s instagram page (which has been a great resource during this thing), Testosterone Nation — one of my favorite websites of all time, and my own background as an athlete, U.S. Marine, and high school strength coach.

Now put the Krispy Kream down until Sunday, get outside and run up a fuckin hill!

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