Matthew J. Harmon: Minneapolis, Minnesota, États-Unis, Earth

Action and Adventure on the High Seas of Information Security

Discovering Fitness

Jul 27, 2015

T-Rex Hate Burpees - Source Fitspire Apparel

EDIT: 1548/329
Finally tracking performance metrics, up to 7 different routine exercises across different muscle groups. Need to add more cardio.

EDIT: 1538/260

Daily Jumping Jacks, Burpee's and walking are continuing to improve. Yesterday added a multiplier and keeping up with it well, morning and afternoon (2x) and looking to add the goal of an early evening set (3x) as well before the end of the month. Got the routine, now to build on it.


I was never a fitness guy. Not obese, but I sit behind a keyboard most of my life so I developed a bit of 30-something pudge around the middle. Then the sciatica, a couple ER resulting back spasms, my dad dying of a heart attack, and then I saw some (very) unflattering conference presentation photos. These events culminated in the motivation that I needed to get in shape to be better accompaniment for my wife and get me into a daily exercise routine. I hope this post encourages at least one person to decide to be harder to kill, not just by zombies but by father time himself.

As a quick motivational TL;DR - after only a month of daily routine I've dropped one shirt size and now wake up thinking about doing my 50 Jumping Jacks and Bastardo's!

I'm still a complete fitness n00b and my problem was a sedentary lifestyle with no daily full body exercise. Processed junk food and fast food are a rare treat for me and I'll drink a large glass of water with some fruit juice in it over a soda. Keep yourself below 1500 kcals while slowly increasing exercise and you'll drop the fat.

When I say I've slowly increased my exercise, I mean it as routine is everything. I had several false starts using beginner workout videos such as DDP Yoga / YRG Fitness System and Krav Maga. All of which were too much for me starting from zero. So how did I get started? A daily routine of practically nothing that built into something.

Before we get started with the steps I went through, a quick reminder to get a medical exam before you start exerting yourself to learn of any medical limitations, drink a ton of water and if you feel faint stop and rest.

Step 1: Flexibility and learning muscle groups

To keep away the back spasms and sciatica I had to build up my flexibility, stretch out my spine and learn the various muscle groups. Each stretch is started by flexing all muscles tight and the pose is held for 10 seconds. I started doing these about about a year ago and still do them several times a day forcing myself to take a break from sitting at a keyboard.

Superman Pose: on knees, extend and push a leg back while extending and pushing the opposite arm, hold for 10 seconds. Alternate legs and arms and repeat.

Cat Stretch: on knees, arch back while pushing back with your arms. Reverse to pushing out your stomach while pushing up on your shoulders.

Up dog / Cobra: Laying flat chest on the ground, push your shoulders up, curving your back and stretching your neck back.

Down dog: Start by trying to touch your toes with the goal of your palms flat on the floor with your feet at shoulder width. Then walk your hands forward until you're supporting yourself and your back is stretched with your bum in the air. Push and hold.

Dropped Stretches: Starting with fingers/palms to the ground, walk your hands to the right ankle/knee and grasping with your opposite hand gently pull and stretch your back, repeat for the opposite side. After, walk your hands up your legs to a bent knee and push your back as with the cat stretch.

Sky Touch: Reach for the ceiling with one arm while holding your knee with the other. Pivoting in the middle with arms extended, rotate to grab the other knee while reaching for the ceiling. Then balance yourself on your tip-toes reaching for the ceiling with neck fully extended. Finally, slowly bend backwards to look at the ceiling.

Step 2: Core strength

After developing flexibility and learning my muscle groups, I had to build up my core strength through simple exercises.

Leg lifts: Laying flat on your back, lift both legs. See how many reps you can do before the burn. Eventually raise your legs over your head and pull your back off the floor.

Push ups: Laying flat on your chest, place your palms at shoulder width, fingers extended, and push yourself up. You can start by bending at the knees or go full plank position extending your legs and pushing yourself up onto your toes.

Squats: Start with arms fully extended towards the ceiling, bring the arms to the side and push out while lowering yourself into a sitting position.

Step 3: Build basic stamina

Once I had developed flexibility and some basic core strength, I needed to build up my stamina and get myself charged every morning. I started with jumping jacks and the goal of 50 every morning to get rapid cardio to decrease my waking brain fog. While successful, I started getting ankle and calf pain and needed to do something a bit more interesting.

Burpees: Developed in the 1930's by Royal H. Burpee as a fitness test for the US Military, the Squat - Thrust - Jump combination has many variations. My preferred set is the "bastardo" a semi-traditional one that starts with a squat, a thrust extension of the legs backwards into a plank position, followed by a single pushup and then pulling the legs back into a squat and then a jump. Another variation of this is the "Shitee" where you go Squat - Thrust - Pushup - Squat - Thrust - Pushup in rapid succession and don't do the jump.

Step 4: Lose weight, build muscle and real stamina

Now that I've got the fundamentals down, my next step is to add more daily reps to the Bastardo's and build real stamina through bike riding and eventually jogging.

Biking and jogging are a bit rough for me right now as my weight is detrimental to my knees. Once I drop another two stones (~30 lbs) I'll move into the harder cardio like Jane Fonda videos!

Step 5: ??????

This is an evolving process for my mind and body. My goal is to get back into martial arts, especially Krav Maga as there is a Dojo down the street from me.

"T-Rex Hates Burpees Image" credit to Fitspire Apparel. It was that or "BUCK FURPEES"

Matthew J. Harmon
Matthew J. Harmon -

Passionate security researcher, entrepreneur, consultant. Owner, founder, maker, mentor, teacher.

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