Gynecomastia, or gyno, is a common problem that destroys the physical attractiveness of a man's…
Being out of shape is not fun, especially when you were fit as a fiddle a few years back.
But if you’re starting to feel like you’re getting out of shape, it’s time to reverse this process. It can become quite problematic if other people are starting to notice, or you can’t keep up with your kids/grandkids like you used to.
In this article, I’ll outline the potential warning signs that this is the case, and then I’ll give you the solutions too. Getting into elite physical shape will leave you feeling freer, happier, and more confident. Let’s get into it…
The Moment I Knew I Was Out Of Shape
A long time ago, I was out of shape.
I wasn’t really fully aware of what I was doing, it was simply a case of bad eating habits that crept up on me and accumulates over time. A few too many beers on the weekends. An addiction to chocolate cereal. Too many bacon sandwiches after all the beers.
It all got a little out of hand.
Once I was well over 17% body fat and had a permanently bloated waistline and puffy face, I KNEW I was out of shape. My blood pressure was “high-normal”, which for my age at the time was not good, and I looked pretty horrendous compared to my previously-handsome self.
The mirror did not lie.
So I said to myself “I will fix this”, and I implemented most of the solutions I’m going to outline to you in this post – so make sure you read until the end.
The 10 Warning Signs That You’re Out Of Shape
Let’s start with one of the biggest signs that you’re out of shape, that I know a lot of fathers suffer from:
1. You Can No Longer Keep Up With Your Kids/Grandkids
I’ve had quite a few guys on my main fat loss Twitter account (foreveralphablog) message me saying something like this:
“My family and I went hiking/rock climbing/playing basketball the other week, and for the first time in years I realised that I couldn’t keep up with them. It was embarrassing. I couldn’t catch my breath, and for the first time ever, I truly felt OLD. What do I do?”
I’ve seen this quite a few times now, and I think it’s one of the most painful signs to fathers/grandfathers that they are out of shape. It’s the feeling of being old, whether or not you are actually old is besides the point.
I’m telling you, there’s many 30-35 year olds out here who feel old due to years of physical neglect, which is completely unnecessary as these are categorically young men.
Make Sure You’re 15% Body Fat Or Less
But to answer the question – the vast majority of the time, you need to get your body fat levels down to a reasonable level, which I define as 15% body fat. At this level, it’s extremely unlikely that excess body fat is going to be causing your respiratory system to be inefficient, or your heart to be weak.
These things can happen for other reasons, but you’re not going to be out of shape due to being overweight, when you’re 15% body fat. This rules out the biggest cause of being out of shape.
At 15%, you’re not going to look like a fitness model or a sprinter. But you will be healthy. You will be more than capable of keeping up with your kids, and the excess fat won’t be creating an estrogenic hormonal environment, or adding stress to vital organs.
If this sounds like a reasonable goal to you and you agree that it’s important, then let me help you get there – my email list is the best resource you’re going to find on the internet (for free) on how to get to 15% body fat or less:
The next big one is this:
Use Your Time Wisely
One of the biggest reasons for this “physical neglect” that occurs so often as men mature, is that life is pretty hard. We have taxing careers, kids, stress etc. It takes it’s toll, and maintaining a taxing fitness regime on top of all this becomes a nightmare.
So my suggestion is as follows:
Pick a dieting system and a training system, that is extremely time efficient.
(This is something I talk a lot about on Twitter and on the email list).
One Meal A Day (OMAD) is the ultimate manifestation of this. It requires no more than 20 minutes per day. It’s ridiculously efficient, and you will get into great shape following this system, guaranteed.
When it comes to your training, you don’t want to be training like an 18 year old kid in college and no responsibilities in life. You can’t be hitting it six days a week and banging up your joints. Three full body workouts (like in the James Bond Program) is all you need – get in, stimulate the muscles/cardiovascular system, get out.
It’ll be a grand total of about four hours per week including driving to/from the gym and showering, and if you have a home gym setup like myself, this will be more like two and a half hours per week.
Why does all this work so well?
It fits into your lifestyle, and thus, is more sustainable over the long-term.
You don’t want to start a routine that you’ll be quitting in three weeks time as you had no hope of sticking to it.
2. You’re Breathless After A Flight Of Stairs
This one is common, and I won’t delve into great detail in it. But it’s true. If you take a flight of stairs at work, or wherever because there’s either no elevator available or you’re trying to get fitter, and you’re out of breath…
That is not good news.
The human body wasn’t designed to function like this. Think back to your ancestors. If they were panting and puffing their last breath while chasing large game, they wouldn’t have survived. They would have starved to death, and we wouldn’t be here typing on laptops and reading blog posts on smart phones.
Think more like they did, and you’ll be a fitter man.
It’s hard to be out of shape when you genuinely place lifting weights and cardio as high priorities in your life.
3. You LOOK Out Of Shape
This is one of the biggest ones that affected me the most when I was chubby.
I knew that my cheeks looked hamster-like, I knew that my waistline was as big as my Dad’s (and he’s 37 years older than me)….all bad news, and it was clear that I was out of shape.
Here’s the reality check:
The mirror doesn’t lie.
If there’s sagging body parts (gyno) where there shouldn’t be any, or you’ve not seen your Johnson in years, then these are glaringly obvious signs that someone is out of shape.
A really good piece of advice I would give you that is both motivating and useful for progress-tracking, would be to start taking pictures of your physique every single week, in the mirror. Same lighting. Same stance.
You’ll soon start to see the visual changes over time if you follow the OMAD diet I mentioned above, and full body training protocol and stick to these things.
The mirror doesn’t lie.
4. You’ve Got A High Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
If the mirror isn’t giving you enough obvious signals that things need to change, then this one will give you “proof”.
This is actually something I’m using right now to determine whether or not I’m recovered from my training sessions. This is how it works. You put your finger on your wrist to check your heart beats per minute (set a timer), every morning, before you get out of bed.
If you’re not currently doing super-intense training, then you don’t have to worry about a temporary fluctuation – you know that your resting heart rate is your real resting heart rate. And if it’s too high, it’s because you’re out of shape.
How high is too high?
The ideal for a man would be somewhere between 40-70. Yes, the “normal range” is 60-90, but “normal” is not the same as healthy. Same thing with body fat levels, same thing with testosterone levels.
But any Resting Heart Rate over 90 means that you’re 100% out of shape, and something needs to change. Specifically, it means that your heart is struggling to pump the required oxygen around your body and your organs are under stress. You may be out of shape with a RHR of less than 90.
5. You’re Getting Injured Without Any Exertion
It’s one thing getting injured from heavy deadlifts or getting in the cage with another guy.
It’s another thing thing getting injured from tying your shoelaces.
This one is more of a sign that you need to simply get more active throughout the day, not necessarily do hardcore exercise. The problem is that you’re likely sitting all day, hunched over a screen, with very little movement where your posture gets the chance to ‘reset’.
Other things you may want to look at are strengthening your core, and starting each day with getting your blood flowing and body moving. Your core is at the….core….of everything you do. When it’s weak, back problems are 10x more likely to materialise because there’s no support. Exercises like planks are great for this. Yoga is another big one for all-round protection against injury.
6. You’ve Got Gyno (Man Boobs)
Boobs are great, when they’re on women.
But when you’re seeing the hairier, saggier versions staring back at you in the mirror (a.k.a man boobs), you know you’re out of shape. I personally never had them when I was out of shape – all the weight seems to go to my belly and face.
But I completely empathise if this is the case for you, especially if you’re in your 50’s/60’s where these things become harder to fight. But only as long as you’re willing to do something about it.
The one thing that destroys this immediately, is massive fat loss. It’s impossible to have man boobs when you’re 10% body fat – trust me it’s impossible (unless you’re on steroids). Another huge factor is your testosterone levels, but you’re not going to have high testosterone if you’ve got 37% body fat.
7. You Feel Fatigued Constantly
Feeling fatigued because you just ran a marathon is normal. Fatigue from a 2 hour boxing session is normal, especially when you’re not used to it.
But constant fatigue without training?
You’re out of shape.
This is when you’re struggling to get up in the morning, everything seems like hard work, you want to fall asleep in the afternoon etc.
My recommendation would be to do some cardio every morning to pump up your energy levels. You don’t need to kill yourself, but just ramping up your heart rate for 20 minutes or so – it works wonders. I talked about the mental benefits and the clarity of thought in a recent blog post on Monk Mode.
And in addition to this, time management is a big key as well. Get efficient with time at work, and with fitness as well (re-read point #1).
8. You Can’t Do A Single Pull Up
Most men actually cannot do any pull ups, so if this is you, don’t worry you’re in the same boat as everyone else.
But this is a problem.
People talk about push ups, and push ups are important. But pull ups are the real test to see whether or not you’re in shape.
Anyone can train for push ups for a month, and bang out 5-10, yet still be overweight and categorically unhealthy. Nobody can train to do pull ups and bang out 5+, while still being obese or having a f**ked up heart. It’s just physically impossible. Pull ups are more difficult than push ups, and they require you to have a greater level of relative strength.
Pull Ups are the ultimate symbol of physical competency and physical fitness. You need to be capable of doing them.
If you would like to get to the point where you can do 20+ pull ups without using momentum, and without cheating, and lose a bunch of weight in the process, check out my Pull Up Domination program.
9. If You Can’t See Your Johnson, You’re Out Of Shape
This is another big one.
If you’re going to the bathroom and you can’t see your you-know-what, you’re definitely out of shape. When you look down, you should be able to see what you’re working with.
A belly is eliminated just the same way as man boobs, and any other areas of body fat – a calorie deficit. Again, you want to be able to create and maintain this deficit in as effortless a way as possible, and this is where Intermittent Fasting and OMAD comes in. But a calorie deficit always solves the problem over time.
But you also want to boost your activity level in addition to the dietary component. Not only will it help with the fat loss, it will also give you more energy and make you feel better. The visual changes in the mirror speed up. Everything is more exciting.
But definitely get rid of that beer belly if you have one. Diet is the key.
10. Others Hint That You’re Out Of Shape
My experience back when I was out of shape, was that most people wouldn’t say anything.
Most people are very polite, and are kinda lying/not revealing the truth about what they think about your looks. This is completely understandable, as they don’t want to upset anyone or lose friends etc.
But some people, will drop very subtle (or not so subtle) hints. You should pay attention to these. This is not the same as someone disagreeing with you for having certain relationship decisions, or certain lifestyle decisions that they don’t agree with, and have nothing to do with them.
For example, you may have a very hot girlfriend or wife that your family doesn’t agree with, or you like to travel all the time and your friends don’t like it. These things make YOU happy, so it’s tough shit for them.
This is not like that. This is different. Being out of shape makes NOBODY happy. There are a grand total of ZERO benefits to being overweight and not liking your physical appearance. There’s no upside at all. So listening to people’s hints about how you used to be, and how you don’t look the same or whatever, is actually really valuable.
This feedback is useful – encourage them to be honest with you.
From Out Of Shape, To Elite Physical Condition
I personally made this transformation, because the above points angered me, and then fuelled my motivation to make drastic changes, all the way up to becoming a fitness model and coach.
Number 10 was probably the biggest one at first (ex girlfriends etc.). But over time, I developed more long-term motivations and got addicted to the progress, and this is the point where the journey itself – the process itself – becomes sustainable, because you genuinely enjoy it.
I want you to experience the same thing as I have done.
It’s not an easy road, nothing worthwhile is. I’m not going to be a snake oil salesman and try and say it’s easy. It’s HARD.
But it’s well worth it.
I encourage you to check out the links in this article, but most of all, get on the email list. It’s where I share my most valuable information, stories and anecdotes, so make sure you enter your email below:
I also encourage you to ask away any questions you want by replying to the “Welcome Email”, as I personally answer all of them. Also follow me on Twitter.
And that’s it. I hope I’ve inspired you to make some positive changes.
Good luck, and I’ll see you inside the email group!