Building muscle takes time. But the physique can be transformed through sweat and consistency. Of course, it also requires real dedication (and often a team of people) to obtain model-like aesthetics or the level of fitness achieved by professional athletes.

When faced with impossible standards, it’s important to remember that perfection isn’t necessarily the goal. Exercise can be performed with the desired outcome of increasing health and vitality. How that end is pursued is up to the individual, but I prefer weights over cardiovascular exercises like running or biking. I also believe regular lifting is superior to a cardio-only routine.

Resistance training has shifted weight from my midsection to my arms, my back, and my chest. It’s also led to less back pain when I roll out of bed in the morning, which was a chronic problem before starting my training. Furthermore, strengthening my legs and core has made the little bit of running that I do that much easier.

As far as specific exercises are concerned, dumbells are a part of my routine, but the majority of my workout involves bodyweight. I do several sets of each of the following:

  • Pull-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Dips
  • Planks
  • Sit-ups

Whereas these aren’t the kind of exercises that lead to incredible gains in muscle size or bulk, it does provide tone and shape, and that’s what I value. I’m not interested in bulking up so much that muscle weight pounds my knee joints while I jog.

There’s an endless number of exercise tutorials available online, and my workout is composed of parts of many of them. As I stated, I supplement the bodyweight work with various dumbbell sets. My goal is to target areas that require more strength (e.g., shoulders and legs).

I also change the order of my exercises every six weeks or so to prevent adaptation–and/ or boredom.

photo: Cyril Saulnier