Raising the Bar: The Truth Hurts (Book Excerpt)
The following in an excerpt from Al Kavadlo's book "Raising the Bar":
The Truth Hurts
When I tell people they don’t need weights or a gym membership to get in the best shape of their lives, you would think they’d be relieved. They don’t have to spend their hard earned money or even leave their home to get fit - this should come as good news! Usually the opposite happens, though. People are often disappointed by my advice, even skeptical. It seems too simple to be true. After all, if you could get fit with no gym membership, no machines and even no weights, then how come it hasn’t happened yet?
Well that’s the thing, fitness doesn’t just happen - you have to make it happen! A gym membership can’t make it happen and neither can buying a treadmill or purchasing a shiny new set of weights. Accepting that none of those things really matter means accepting that it is all up to you, which can be a very difficult thing to do. Accepting responsibility means that if you are out of shape, it’s your own damn fault. But that’s the beauty of it, too - you don’t need anything outside of yourself to get fit - you have all the power. Once you are truly committed to health and fitness, the only limitations are the ones you impose on yourself. On the path toward greatness, the only thing that matters is that you consistently dedicate yourself to improving. You have to be willing to do the work. Muster up some gumption and don’t give up when the going gets rough. Once you start doing that, the rest will take care of itself.
The truth is that while getting fit is simple, it’s not easy - and it’s never going to be. There are going to be moments where it hurts. There will be times when you want to stop - you might even want to cry. But if you push through those moments, you will wind up not only with a body that is physically stronger, but a mind with strength beyond what you ever knew before.
Nothin’ But the Bar
You honestly don’t need any equipment to get fit, but if you are looking for a workout apparatus that can do it all, you need look no further than the basic pull-up bar. It’s far and away the simplest and most versatile piece of equipment in the world of fitness.
Though the possibilities are limitless in the world of bar training, there are basically just three types of exercises that you can do: pull-ups, dips and hanging leg raises. Everything else is more or less just a variation (or a combination) of those fundamental moves. That’s right, just three basic moves, but endless variations to keep you challenged for a lifetime.
What About Legs?
It’s a bit of a cliché that guys who train pull-ups have chicken legs. Check out any of the amazing videos of bar athletes on YouTube and you’re bound to see comments criticizing them for not having well developed legs. While you can’t take the average YouTube comment too seriously, it’s true that any athlete (or regular person for that matter) will benefit greatly from training their lower body. Believe me, I’m all about working your legs. I can deadlift twice my body weight, do twenty pistol squats on each leg and I’ve run a Marathon - but this book is about the bar, and the bar is for training your upper body.
One more thing, even though push-ups are one of my favorite exercises, I’m not going to get into them in this book. (They are, however, included in the four weeks of progressions I'll be posting here on Breaking Muscle) Push-ups deserve a whole other book of their own! Though I will discuss a couple of non-bar exercises here, the program in this book is designed around bar training. Feel free to work push-ups into your routine, but you can honestly do fine without them if you do everything in this book.
I’m glad we got all of that out of the way early on.
I’m about to give you all you’ll need to know to build a strong, powerful upper body and a chiseled set of washboard abs. If you follow my plan, you are guaranteed to feel better, perform better and of course, look better. Of course, YOU still have to do the work.
So the only question that remains is, “Are you ready to take things to the next level?”
Train with Al Kavadlo - Click here for four free weeks of bodyweight progressions.
Curious about the rest of the book? Read our book review.
"Raising the Bar" is available for $39.95 at DragonDoor.com.