Fitness Bucket List for Guys
There are a few fitness goals that every guy knows he needs to achieve within his lifetime. Some are simply designed to boost a guy's ego and give him something to brag about, while others are essential to helping him live a longer, healthier life. In no particular order, here are five of the top achievements every guy should try to accomplish — even if it's just to say you did it once.
Bucket list item #1: Achieve a waist circumference of .80 or less
Why it's important for men: First, measure the circumference of your waist at its narrowest spot. Next, measure the circumference around your hips and butt at its the widest spot. Finally, divide your waist circumference by your hip circumference. The higher it is over .80, the more belly fat you're packing in your midsection, and, the higher your odds of developing heart disease.
Best ways to reach your goal: The key to losing weight wisely is eating only the amount of calories that your body requires, then doing some form of exercise that forces it to burn off excess body fat.
To start, take your current weight and subtract 10. Then multiply that new number by 12, and then againby 15. The two numbers you're left with is the range of calories your body truly requires each day to maintain that bodyweight. For example, if you're currently 210 pounds, you would subtract 10 from your bodyweight to get 200, then multiply 200 by 12 (to get 2,400) and 15 (to get 3,000). That would mean you should only consume between 2,400 to 3,000 calories each day.
With your diet in place, the next step is to add some form of aerobic activity into your schedule at least three times a week (up to five times a week) for at least 30 minutes each session. Afterwards, you'll stick with this formula, but adjust it weekly by reweighing yourself, then take your 'new' current weight (which should be one or two pounds lighter), subtract it by ten and multiply it by 12 and 15 for a new, lower calorie range.
Pitfalls to avoid: Don't drastically decrease the amount of calories you eat in an effort to drop weight faster. Reducing your caloric intake can cause your body to convert more of the calories you're eating as unwanted body fat.
Bucket list item #2: Bench press 1.5 times your bodyweight for one rep
Why it's important for men: It's the granddaddy of all chest exercises, but more importantly, it's the single exercise that every guy uses as the benchmark when it comes to where they rate strength-wise compared to other men.
Best ways to reach your goal: Bad form is the biggest reason most men never reach this fitness goal, but doing it the right way from the start can build a foundation of strength that can allow any guy to quickly add on the pounds.
To begin, lie face up on an exercise bench with knees bent, feet flat on floor. Grab a barbell with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lift the bar off the rack and hold it directly above your chest, arms straight and perpendicular to the floor. Slowly lower the bar down to your chest, then forcefully push the bar back up until your arms are straight, elbows unlocked. Inhale as you lower the bar, then exhale as you press it back up into the start position.
Pitfalls to avoid: Keep your head, back, and butt touching the bench at all times. Arching your back positions your body to allow other muscles — particularly your triceps — to help lift the weight, which removes effort from your chest, while placing your lower back at less risk of strain.
Bucket list item #3: Do 10 pull-ups
Why it's important for men: Pull-ups aren't just ideal for letting a man demonstrate his overall strength, but they're also one of the best back exercises out there. In addition to being one of the top five back exercises for building size and power, they also target your latissimus dorsi — the muscles that flare out along the sides of your body — helping a man achieve a more V-shaped symmetry that tapers his torso and creates the illusion of a narrower waistline.
Best ways to reach your goal: Just like the bench press, the main reason most men never achieve this goal is because they never do the exercise the right way from the very start. Here's the best form to use: Grab the bar with a supinated grip (palms facing you), hands shoulder-width apart. Hang from the bar with your arms straight, elbows unlocked. Pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar. Lower yourself back down into the start position and repeat.
If you're not strong enough to do this exercise for the required number of repetitions, attach one end of a stretch band to the chin-up bar, let the other end hang down, then put one foot through the end of the band. This trick can help support a partial portion of your weight, so that you're able to perform the exercise for the required number of repetitions without sacrificing your form.
TIP: If you're heavy, the type of resistance bands you'll find in stores may be too thin and not support as much of your weight. The strength bands that the pros swear by to support any sized guy are from Muscle Driver USA.
Pitfalls to avoid: Avoid jerking and twisting yourself up to reach the bar. The movement should always be steady and fluid, or else you could be compromising your neck, wrists and elbows.
Bucket list item #4: Sprint one mile in 6.5 minutes or less
Why it's important for men: Have you ever seen a male sprinter that didn't have a muscular physique? There's a reason sprinters tend to not look as lean and lanky as their long-distance, marathon-racing male counterparts. That's because traditional cardio does very little to elevate your metabolism and build muscle.
Sprinting on the other hand elevates your metabolism for a long amount of time, allowing your body to burn fat while helping it to add muscle fast. It also burns through stored glycogen much faster than sticking with a traditional long-duration, steady-state aerobic workout, causing your body to turn to stored fat as a fuel source a lot sooner.
Best ways to reach your goal: The best approach for building up sprinting speed and endurance is to break up your workouts into shorter distances with rest periods in between. This six-week plan is designed to be performed three times a week with one day rest in between each workout. After walking in place for five minutes to warm up your muscles, try this six-week routine. In between each and every sprint, you'll rest no more than one full minute to keep your heart elevated.
Week 1: Sprint 20 yards x3; 40 yards x3; 60 yards x3
Week 2: Sprint 20 yards x2; 40 yards x2; 60 yards x2; 80 yards x2
Week 3: Sprint 20 yards x3; 40 yards x3; 60 yards x3; 80 yards x3
Week 4: Sprint 30 yards x2; 50 yards x2; 75 yards x2; 100 yards x2
Week 5: Sprint 30 yards x3; 50 yards x3; 75 yards x3; 100 yards x3
Week 6: Sprint 30 yards x2; 50 yards x4; 75 yards x4; 100 yards x3
At the start and end of the six-week program, try sprinting full out for seven minutes to measure how much you've improved your sprint time.
Pitfalls to avoid: Your body should always be in perfect alignment as you sprint. Your eyes should always stay focused ahead of you (never looking down at your feet) with your arms kept bent at a 90-degree angle at all times. With reach stroke, pump your fist towards the height of your chin, then pull your elbow back as far as you comfortably can to help propel you forward.
Bucket list item #5: Reach down and touch your toes
Why it's important for men: Being able to bend over — or sit with your legs extended in front of you — and reach towards your feet and touch them may seem silly to some men. However, it's having that kind of flexibility that can prevent unnecessary back pain caused from tight, stiff lower back muscles and hamstrings.
Best ways to reach your goal: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Concentrate on bending at the waist and reach your fingers towards your toes. As you go, roll your shoulders and back forward. At the bottom of the move, don't bounce or strain to get your fingers to go lower. Instead, let your arms simply hang down, then concentrate on taking a few deep, relaxing breathes.
Pitfalls to avoid: Never stretch before warming up first. Instead, try jogging in place for three to five minutes before you stretch to bring blood into your muscles.
So what's on your bucket list? Let us know if there are any fitness goals that you feel we missed. And maybe, we can show you how to accomplish your goal in a later post.
— Myatt Murphy, Fitness Reporter
Fitness expert Myatt Murphy, CSCS, is the author of the best-selling books Testosterone Transformation (Rodale, 2012), The Body You Want in the Time You Have (Rodale, 2005), The Men's Health Gym Bible (Rodale, 2006) and Men's Health's Ultimate Dumbbell Guide (Rodale, 2007). His work has appeared in innumerable magazines and online.