A Geek in Prison - A Life Series by Charlie Shrem (Part 10 - The Prison Gym)

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This is Part 10 in a series about my life as a Geek in Prison. Click my name to follow me and check out my blog for the Preamble and Parts 1-9. All names are changed to protect inmates privacy. Everything I write is hypothetical and for educational purposes only.

The gym is a scary place.

Sounds dumb, I know. For 2 months I stayed as far away from the gym as possible. I was overweight and had a huge beer belly.

The first week in prison I approached someone who claimed to be a trainer. He said he'd train me for 20 MAKS a month so I tried it out. He said we would train every day and take a 2 day break. I thought this was somewhat excessive but I didn't complain.

We went to the gym that day and it was a terrible experience. He was angry and he didn't explain to me why we were doing any of the excserizes. I felt my form was bad and we weren't getting into the flow so I quit.

It took another few weeks before I would even try again.

A few friends were going walking so I decided to walk with them. It was easy, walk a few miles every day and it would be a good routine. Once I got into that habit I started eating better as well.

This is the key to losing weight: eat less calories than you burn and run a deficit. Thats it.

For example, if you burn 2500 calories a day, try and eat 1500-2000.

Losing weight is 80% what you eat and 20% working out.

So why work out? A few reasons:

  1. Working out will put you in a state of mind of being healthy. You will eat less crap because you spend so much energy and investment into working out.
  2. The more active you become the faster your metabolism is and the more you burn. Its NOT how much you burn during a week, its how much your body burns all day.

I had 2 goals - lose my belly and work on my upper body.

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Losing my belly was about the eating. If I ate well and stayed active I would lose weight. So I joined a Frisbee and Kickball league. In fact, I became MVP of Kickball!

The key is getting into a routine. So I started slow. I played spots twice a week, took walks and ate better. I started working on my own recipes.

The most carbs you eat during the day are either at breakfast or after your workout. I was limited on ingredients so after my workout I would always have chocolate milk. This gave me a liquid carb and protein mix that was really good for muscle building.

I would also make a simple rice and mackerel stew by taking 1/2 cup of rice in a bowl, putting the soybean oil from the mackerel pack in it, water, mackerel, and some jalapeƱos. I would also add some Ms. Dash for flavor.

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After I while I was ready to take on the gym so I can start working on my upper body and turn that fat into muscle.

The gym was actually not that scary and people were generally very cool. There were guys in there who would go play pool and ping pong. Everyone was in all shapes and sizes.

I talked with a lot of people and I settled on the most simple routine that I follow today with deviations. Calisthenics.

I liked the idea of Calisthenics because they require no machines. You can do them in your own home, on the street, grass, anywhere. They are really easy.

So let's start with the simple workout of Pull Ups / Chin Ups / Dips / Pushups / in a cycle of three. Thats it. Do that for 30 minutes a day for 3 days and take a break on the 4th. On day 5 start again.

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Above is my first three days of working out. I could barely do anything!

Over the next few weeks I stuck with it and continued my workout routine. After that I started altering my routines.

I fun thing to do at the end of a workout is a dead stop pushup. Basically you time yourself for 1 minute where instead of doing straight pushups, you do 1 and then stop, picking your hands up. Repeat. Its a lot harder. My record was 35 dead stop pushups in 1 minute.

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Every week or so its fun to change it up, so the following are some good workouts that were developed by some inmates:

Rich's Workout

15 Pushups / 15 Dips / 3 rounds.

Phils Workout

10 Pullups 20 Pushups 30 Situps 40 Body Squats / 5 rounds

Charlies Workout

25 / 21 / 18 / 15 / 12 / 9 / 6 / 3 --> This is how many you do of each workout in each round.

Pullup GHD Chinup Med Ball Sit up Pushup Frankenstein Situp

K2 Workout

30 Burpees 30 Squats 30 Jumping Jacks 30 Lunges 30 Crunches

All of these workouts you can adjust the numbers, however make sure you do it proportionally.

After 1 year, I lost 40 lbs and gained a fantastic muscle/fat ratio.

Feel free to post your questions here!

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$ 275.344 SBD