The Right Coast

January 31, 2005
More fitness bather
By Tom Smith

If you're not a fitness obsessed middle aged person of guyness, don't even bother to read this post. There. Is this everybody? Fine. So here's this test from the Post to measure your fitness level. It's the first encouraging thing about fitness I've read in a long time. Given that I am about 50 lbs heavier than I am supposed to be according to the chart in my lovely wife's office, it's nice to have a chart that tells me I am mostly in excellent shape, except for being very inflexible, which I knew already. But can the ability to do 22 push-ups really make you very fit? Sounds pretty pathetic.

Now for a review of Combat Conditioning, a book that seems to be flogged in nearly every right wing blog on the internet. Bottom line, big surprise, I like the book quite a bit. At about $30, it is overpriced, but all these books are. But if you consider an hour with a personal trainer will run you at least $50, it's a bargain. The book is also a blast from the past. It stresses all these old-timey calesthenics that you will remember from gym class, before not humiliating Johnny became a priority. You may have my reaction: "I remember that drill! I hated that!" Yes, because it really kicked your butt, which is good for you. Matt is big on "Hindu pushups" aka judo pushups, etc. etc., which I have been doing in my spare time and have decided I really like. "Hindu squats" just deep knee bends with attention to breathing, really do seem to work you right through, and are very aerobic. It's nice you can do all this stuff while watching TV or trapped in your hotel room. And neck bridges? I would ignore the advice about pushing back till your nose touches the mat. A neck is a terrible thing to break. But with moderation, these really are hard, and tell you you need to use some big back muscles more than you're used to. Most of these exercises seem to grow out of grappling. Matt was a successful if not Olympic quality NCAA wrestler before he became a fitness guru. He seems to have won some international martial arts titles as well, but I never know how to judge those. But I think these exercises are swell for anyone who wants to build overall strength without being tied to the gym. His emphasis on avoiding injury certainly makes sense. Best of all, it's another thing to spend money on, that you can read on your cozy couch.