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From an elite Special Operations physical trainer, an ingeniously simple, rapid-results, do-anywhere program for getting into amazing shape
For men and women of all athletic abilities!
As the demand for Special Operations military forces has grown over the last decade, elite trainer Mark Lauren has been at the front lines of preparing nearly one thousand soldiers, getting them lean and strong in record time. Now, for regular Joes and Janes, he shares the secret to his amazingly effective regimen—simple exercises that require nothing more than the resistance of your own bodyweight to help you reach the pinnacle of fitness and look better than ever before.
Armed with Mark Lauren’s motivation techniques, expert training, and nutrition advice, you’ll see rapid results by working out just thirty minutes a day, four times a week—whether in your living room, yard, garage, hotel room, or office. Lauren’s exercises build more metabolism-enhancing muscle than weightlifting, burn more fat than aerobics, and are safer than both, since bodyweight exercises develop balance and stability and therefore help prevent injuries. Choose your workout level—Basic, 1st Class, Master Class,and Chief Class—and get started, following the clear instructions for 125 exercises that work every muscle from your neck to your ankles. Forget about gym memberships, free weights, and infomercial contraptions. They are all poor substitutes for the world’s most advanced fitness machine, the one thing you are never without: your own body.
Under the Cover
An excerpt from You Are Your Own Gym
1. Mission Success: Lean, Strong, and Confident
I WANT YOU TO UNDERSTAND, unlike many other fitness authors, I do not train movie stars, television celebrities, models, or other personalities whose livelihoods hinge on being fit. I train those whose lives do. For a decade I’ve used bodyweight exercises to create the leanest, strongest, most confident people of our civilization.
I honed the programs and myriad exercises in this book while preparing hundreds of trainees for the extreme demands of the most elite levels of the United States Special Operations community. I have spent years developing new training principles, and observing the results. A stellar record led the top command to buy into my system. The military’s most advanced forces–from Navy SEALs to Army Green Berets to Air Force Special Tactics Operators–use these exercises as the backbone to their strength training, and now I bring them to you. Now, for the first time, men and women outside SpecOps have the opportunity to reach the pinnacle of fitness, with an amazingly small sacrifice of your time. Clear, concise, and complete, I bring these exercises into your living room, bedroom, hotel room, garage, yard, office, wherever you like. They are for people of all athletic ability levels, tailored to suit the needs and lifestyles of today’s busy women and men.
No book like this has existed before. Yet for thousands of years–from Ancient Greece’s Olympic athletes to tomorrow’s Special Operations forces–humanity’s greatest physical specimens have not relied on fitness centers in their towns or dumbbells in their homes.
What if I told you that you already have the most advanced fitness machine ever created? Your own body. And what’s so great about this fitness machine is that it’s always there. It is the one and only thing you are never without. And now you’re holding in your hand all the additional exercise equipment you’ll ever need again. It’s no longer necessary to spend hours and hours at a gym. In fact, you won’t have to go to a gym at all. The time spent training, wherever you may be, will be minimal. Two hours per week. That’s it. With these workouts you will not waste a single moment of your valued time using ineffective training methods. And no longer will you be able to use the #1 excuse for not training: “I don’t have the time.”
Whether you’re a part-time fitness enthusiast, Olympic gymnast, bodybuilder, yogi, or someone who hasn’t lifted anything but the groceries in years, my program will get you into the best shape of your life. You’ll find an incomparable selection of the 125 most effective exercises to work any muscle you want, anywhere you want, for the rest of your life. With these clearly demonstrated and explained exercises you’ll be able to construct your own training programs, catering to your needs and desires, that can be changed and modified in a virtually infinite amount of ways. Keeping your muscles guessing is how you keep them growing.
But for those who want the direction, I’ve laid out 10-week programs for all levels of fitness, programs that will lead to success where others have failed you before. You’ll only workout 20 to 30 minutes a day, 4 or 5 times a week. I strongly recommend at least starting out with one of these programs. They combine the secrets to what made ancient warriors so strong, with the world’s most effective and modern training principles.
These programs will increase the strength of important muscle groups needed in everyday living, keep your muscles and joints supple and flexible, improve the efficiency and capacity of the heart, lungs and other body organs, reduce susceptibility to common injuries as well as degenerative heart diseases, and reduce emotional and nervous tension. The benefits are never-ending. And success in your fitness program will inevitably lead to success in the other aspects of your life, both work and play.
This book can replace all other fitness programs in a person’s life, or be used as a supplement to your regular program, as a way to change things up from the same ol’ borrrrrrrring routine in your fitness center, or even just to take on the road when you can’t find a gym. Variety is the spice of life. Forget about doing the same sets and exercises day in and day out, maybe hitting the same treadmill every day, like a gerbil trapped in a wheel. And there’s no need to change clothes, pack a gym bag, drive, park, find a locker, find an open machine … then, after a long, boring workout, do the whole process in reverse. You just start, whether at home, in your office, or a hotel room, and 20 – 30 minutes later you’re finished.
You’ll find no rhetorical filler in this book. No “before” photos of people pale and frowning with their glasses on, next to “after” photos of them tanned, smiling, flexing, and sucking their shaved and oiled tummies in. The proof has been before our eyes since man became man. In fact, even before that–why do you think monkeys are pound for pound stronger than humans? (Hint: It’s not because they have Gold’s Gym memberships.)
Do you really think that we evolved or were created to require machines in order to stay fit? It’s lack of knowledge about your own body’s potential that drives modern mankind’s endless demand for useless fitness gimmicks. When in fact the solution to ultimate fitness is surprisingly simple. Though it’s up to you to apply it. Free yourself from the dependency on gadgets, trainers, and common misconceptions. They are all crutches, keeping you from getting into the best shape possible. It’s a call back to nature.
Your fitness should be dependent on nothing other than yourself.
2. How I Got Here
MY TEAMMATES WERE SPREAD throughout the length of the pool, ready to pull me up, because I was eventually going to pass out underwater. But for now, I stood in the water breathing and relaxing, getting ready to try to break the military’s long-standing underwater record. I would need to swim underwater, on a single breath, for more than 116 meters. That’s a good deal more than a football field, with the end zones included. Four months before, I could barely make 25 meters.
Everyone in the pool and on the deck was quiet, patiently waiting and watching me as I stood chest deep in the water. I knew this was going to suck, but I was committed. For the first time, I was alone in this, just me, without my team. It was surreal. I was calm, relaxed, aware. I was ready. My anxiety had evaporated. Without a thought, I took my last deep breath, went subsurface, and pushed off the pool wall.
You had to graduate one of the military’s toughest selection courses to get on the record board, and with an 85% attrition rate, weekly evaluations, and an instructor staff dedicated to exploiting your weaknesses, graduation was far from a sure thing. In fact, it had already eluded me once.
My first time around, for 9 grueling weeks I fought tooth and nail to stay in the course. I’d be lying if I said quitting never tempted me. It tempted me every day, especially at the pool and in the mornings when a full night’s rest felt like a 5-minute nap. Every weekend, my precious time off was spent learning to swim with fins and performing the various underwater exercises. At last, my final evaluation consisted of a 6-mile run in 42.5 minutes, 14 Pull Ups, 65 Push Ups, 12 Chin Ups, 70 Sit Ups, a 4000-meter fin swim in 80 minutes, and 7 torturous underwater confidence or “water-con” events. The fin swim was done with big thick rubber fins and booties that could push a large man with uniform and equipment through the water. You could not use your arms since it wouldn’t be tactical for a team to swim ashore with arms flailing and splashing above the water. All calisthenics had to be done with perfect form. Each student’s repetitions were counted and scrutinized by an instructor, and improperly executed reps weren’t counted. Instructors shouted, “Didn’t count, didn’t count … Those didn’t count … Your back is slouching … Not all the way up … Not all the way down!”
Staff Sergeant Pope counted my Sit Ups during the final evaluation, and of all the cadre, he was the most feared for his unreasonable treatment of trainees. “Those didn’t count, Lauren. Your hands are too high up on your head,” he said, shortly before failing me by 2 Sit Ups because of the position of my hands. That was all it took. On the last day of training, I got sent back to the junior class that was in week 1. My original class graduated 4 out of an initial 86. I walked back to the dorm as my team ran by in formation singing a jody about their last day. I seriously considered quitting.
But the last nine weeks had taught me something I would use for the rest of my life. A successful team was one that was made up of individuals that were able to set themselves aside. We were trained to set aside personal comfort for the common goal of the team. And that training applied as much to a team as it did an individual. Success is about you– and no one but you–letting go of everything that conflicts with your goal.
Mark Lauren spent fifteen years as a military physical-training specialist for the Special Operations community. Now a sought-after personal trainer to civilian men and women of all fitness levels, a triathlete, and a champion Thai boxer, he is the author of the internationally popular body-weight bibles You Are Your Own Gym, Body by You, and Body Fuel. He lives in Tampa, Florida, and Phuket, Thailand.