. . .

I haven't done a fitness-themed post in a while, mostly because people took me more seriously than I expected.

When I posted about the Spartacus and Tabata workouts, people started coming up to me at shows and emailing me to say that they had done these workouts. That's cool - it's great to be taken seriously, and it's great that people are doing things fitness-wise.

But I'm not a certified personal trainer, and I don't want to pass myself off as an authority when all I really know is how to train myself. I don't want people to injure themselves because they tried some workout that I mentioned. The best workout is not one-size-fits-all; it's one tailored to your specific needs.

So I'll mostly hold off on delineating specific workouts. (The one below is a one-off challenge.) But I'll still share resources and talk about things like psychology, because those are universally applicable. Cheesy as it may sound, fitness and metal are very intertwined for me. I view both as methods of self-improvement.

The current way I train stems from reading about "muscle confusion". I don't know if that concept has any scientific basis, but incorporating it into my workouts has made them more fun - and more effective. I'm in the best shape of my life, and I adhere to no routine. Some days I lift heavy, some days I lift light, and some days I'm doing only bodyweight exercises. The point is to avoid physical plateauing and mental boredom.

Bodyweight exercises particularly interest me because they're cheap and portable. I don't want to lose fitness just because I lack access to a gym. (I haven't had a gym membership in years.) So I've gotten pretty serious about "prison-style" workouts, where I just use my body and whatever's around me. In doing so, I've stolen ideas and exercises from many commercial exercise programs - CrossFit, P90X, Insanity Workout, even Jillian Michaels.

. . .

Slayer - "Angel of Death" (live)
Still Reigning DVD

. . .

CrossFit has been a great source of education, since that program (and its affiliates) post its workouts all over the place. So I can do the ones that don't need much equipment without paying the hefty fee. However, if you like your fitness to have a social component, and if you can afford it, CrossFit is a great choice. It works, it occurs in classes, and it's competitive worldwide: people post their workout times and exchange ideas in many forums and blogs.

One CrossFit practitioner compiled a thorough list of bodyweight workouts (.PDF). That's been my bible for the past few months. If I need a new workout in a pinch, I go to this list. This past weekend, I was stuck in a hotel whose only fitness equipment was a treadmill. I don't do treadmills. So all I had was my room. No equipment, just my body. The list had something for that: 150 burpees, for time. I think I'm still sore from them.

CrossFit has some workouts named for people. The ones named for women are hard; the ones named for men are harder. One of my favorites is "Angie". I call it "Angel of Death". You'll understand why when you see what it is:

100 pullups
100 pushups
100 situps
100 squats

You must do these consecutively. That is, you cannot move on to pushups until you finish all 100 pullups. You can break each set of 100 into segments, and you can rest as much as you want - but the clock will be running all the while. Each exercise requires proper form: chin above bar for pullups (CrossFit uses the "kipping" variation; I've been doing strict ones; I don't care what kind you do), chest to ground for pushups, chest above hips for situps, thighs parallel to ground for squats (no weights, just sit down as if in a chair).

I did Angie/Angel of Death last week in 17:12. Can you do better?

(These exercises are simple, so I don't think any injuries would result other than to one's pride.)

Post your times in the comments box below. You have until midnight PST Wednesday, March 16 (a week from today) to do so. Honor system applies for timing yourself. The person with the shortest time gets to pick any metal album, old or new, for us to review. Good luck!

— Cosmo Lee

. . .