Bigger Smaller Bigger

by with John Berardi & Martin Rooney

Lean, Muscular, and Out of Shape


“Can I get three pounds of the chicken, please?”

I’m standing at the deli because I’ve determined that cooking every single one of my meals at home is a laborious task and I’ve got too much shit to do. I mean, I already spend two hours just eating my lunch.

So while I’ll continue to make my breakfast and dinner at home, lunches will now be up to the fine chefs at Whole Foods.

1.5 pounds of poultry. It makes me sick just looking at it.

The lady behind the deli counter is perplexed. You want all of them? she asks, eying the 9 already-cooked Mediterranean chicken breasts.

I tell her I’m not sure. Just that I need however many equals three pounds.

People generally order one or two pieces for lunch, she says. Not by the pound.

I tell her that I understand, but I need a pound and a half of meat for my lunch every day.

This really confuses her.

I’m planning on buying two to three days’ worth of lunches at a time. That way I don’t have to come to the grocery store 7 times a week.

I’m only four days into my experiment and it’s already evident that planning my meals — what I’m eating, when I’m eating, etc. — is something I need to get better at. It sucks going to the grocery store at lunchtime just to order an extra pound of meat.

For the rest of the experiment, I’ll have all the food at my house ready to go. (This is a good strategy, by the way, for anyone trying to change their diet. Prep and planning is key. Make life as easy as possible for yourself, so your brain can do more important things, like figure out how to poop less painfully.)

After the grocery store, I head to the gym for my second Hurricane day. Luckily, today’s workout doesn’t involve sprints. (Thank god.) Instead, I’m doing the Training For Warriors Energy Circuit, five hardcore exercises put together in one giant circuit.

I read through the exercises. Now this is more like it.

Rope slams, kettlebell swings, medicine ball slams, sledge hammer swings, and foot drills on the ladder.

I love these kinds of workouts. Or so I think.

Because after the first round, I’m gasping for breath and trying to mentally add more time to the clock that’s ticking down my rest period.

The ugly truth has been revealed: I’m definitely out of shape.

You wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at me, of course. I’m lean and muscular. I’m strong and can lift heavy weights. I look healthy.

And in most respects, I am. More than most people at least. But I’m definitely not in shape aerobically.

My body may look 27, but my lungs are like a five-year old’s. That’s because aside from hitting the weights a few times per week, I rarely do any kind of strenuous activity.

You’d be surprised at how many guys are like this, how many of them “look” in shape but are actually relatively weak. Guys who gas out after a couple of minutes of running. It’s kind of pathetic, really.

The whole point of working out is to look and feel better. And to me, it’s also a personal challenge. How can I push myself to become better?

Up to this point, though, I’ve been slacking.

I don’t want to be a marathoner or a triathlete or a Crossfit guy. But I do want to get in awesome shape, enough to be able to finish a circuit like Martin’s and not want to kill myself directly after.

So that’s what I’m shooting for. That’s my goal.

Which is funny because at the same time I’m trying to gain 20 pounds, I’m gonna try to improve my athleticism and endurance, too.

Most people seem to think they’re mutually exclusive — that if you’re big and muscular you can’t possibly be in great shape.

But that’s bullshit.

Ever see an NFL running back? Or a sprinter? Or a stacked MMA fighter?

That’s what I’m talking about.

Other highlights of Day 4

  • Eating 8 chicken breasts for lunch. (Yes, 8. They were so damn small! Together they weighed just over 1.5 pounds.)
  • Doing medicine ball slams and freaking out the older guy in the gym.
  • Buying Preparation H medicated formula and actually looking forward to using it.

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