The Connection Runners + workout

Your body's like a piece of dynamite

Read this piece about Jason Statham (actor, MMA fiend) in Men's Health and it hit the nail on the head:

Statham's workout begins before he walks through a gym's front door. "I'm a firm believer in attitude," he says. "Some people just don't have that desire, and they need a good kick in the ass. Look, you've come to train here, let's f--king train! Your body's like a piece of dynamite. You can tap it with a pencil all day, but you'll never make it explode. You hit it once with a hammer, bang! Get serious, do 40 hard minutes, not an hour and a half of nonsense. It's so much more rewarding."

He's built his physique through brutal intensity and ever-changing workouts designed to improve a skill—whether it be platform diving for the British National Diving Team back in the '90s or wushu staff fighting for last year's Transporter 2. But weight lifting just for the sake of heaving iron? Pointless, says Statham. "Muscle-men grow on trees. They can tense their muscles and look good in a mirror. So what? I'm more interested in practical strength that's going to help me run, jump, twist, punch."
Here are Statham’s secrets to build a body that works.

Statham's buddy once dared him to do a marathon. He completed it in 3:51 (with virtually no distance training beforehand), and as a return dare, he challenged his pal to do the same abs workout Statham did back in his diving days. "We used to do 500 situp variations every day. Pike up with straight leg lifts and you'll strengthen your hip flexors, as well as your upper and lower abs." He notes with a grin that this workout made his friend "spew up."
Statham is a monster fan of mixed martial arts -- the grappling and striking you see in an Ultimate Fighting tournament. This training defines his "learn a skill" workout philosophy. A typical workout: "Shadow-boxing to warm up the back and shoulders," he says. Lunging and stretching for the legs. Next, five 3-minute rounds punching and kicking pads, then hitting the heavy bag for three rounds, and doing a session on the speed bag. He finishes with a circuit like the one described below.
For explosiveness and reflexes, Statham has always used plyometrics. A fast, hard circuit requires no equipment. "I'll jump rope, then do squat thrusts, burpees [squat thrusts in which you leap instead of standing up], star jumps [from a crouch, jump up and spread your arms and legs into a star, and come back down into a crouch], pushups, tuck jumps [jump, lift legs, tuck], stepups." The key is explosive execution: "If I'm doing a pushup, I go down slowly and, bang, push up."
HAVE A PORTABLE WORKOUTEven if Statham has only 20 minutes, he pulls no-gear, no-cost workouts from the manual in his head. One favorite came from his friend Bas Rutten, the mixed-martial-arts champion. "He uses punching combinations," Statham says. "He'll call out ‘one' -- a left. Then ‘one, two' -- a left, a right. Or ‘three' -- a left, a right, and a left hook. You can do that in a hotel room, anywhere." All you need is to bludgeon your excuses into a senseless heap. Just like Statham would.
Statham credits intelligent eating for his rapid weight loss. And he's not starving: He downs 2,000 calories a day. For Statham the eating plan depends on the following execution, which he's religious about (ahem, except for one night of beers a few weeks in).

No Refined Sugar or Flour at All, Ever
Bread and pasta are out, as are sweets of any kind. No fruit juices. No booze. "That's the hardest part right there," he says. His dessert every night is plain yogurt with fresh fruit.

If It Goes Down Your Throat, Record It on Paper
"This is the bible," Statham says, holding up a black hardbound journal. He writes down everything he swallows, including water (he tries to drink 1 1/2 gallons a day -- that'll keep you feeling full). "Writing everything down makes it impossible for you to muck it up," he says.

Spread Out the CaloriesStatham has six small meals daily. The foods aren't surprising -- egg whites, vegetables, lean meats, fish, nuts, and protein shakes. But the 2,000-calorie limit is gospel.
Statham works out every day but Sunday with Logan Hood, a former Navy SEAL that runs Epoch Training ( Saturdays are reserved for hour long sustained trail runs in the Hollywood Hills while the other 5 days are spent at 87Eleven, a full service action film company and stunt studio located in a converted warehouse near the Los Angeles airport. Hollywood stuntmen own and train at the unique facility. There are trampolines, climbing ropes, heavy bags, barbells, kettlebells, crash pads, and a complex apparatus of pullup bars. And if you start modeling your workouts after his, you should know that he often refers to them as horrible, nauseating, bastard, murder, nightmare, and priceless, preceding each description with the word “f—king.”

There are only two real rules:

1) No Repeats "I haven't had one single day in 6 weeks that has been a repeat," he says. "Every single day has had a different combination of exercises. Obviously, you repeat exercises over the course of 6 weeks, but you'll never do that workout you did on Thursday the 23rd of August again. It always changes, and that's what keeps it so interesting."

2) Record Everything Some workouts are timed, but all work is tracked so that intensity can be maximized. Heavy lifts are recorded so that percentages can be calculated and used in other workouts. "All of this is important," Statham says. "If you want to get faster, stronger, and healthier you have to record and track progress. Making progress is the primary goal of the training I've been doing."

STAGE 1: 10-Minute Warmup
Statham uses a Concept2 Rowing Machine ( because it's low-impact and works the cardiovascular system as well as all primary muscle groups. This is the easy part.

STAGE 2: 10 Minutes at Medium Intensity
This works the body and preps it for stage 3. There's always variety. This portion of the workout consists of either:

1. Heavy lifting using compound movements like the front squat, deadlift, or power clean. Never more than five reps at a time.
2. Short circuits of various exercises with light weights (see below).
3. Various carrying exercises with kettlebells or sandbags.
4. A progression of about 15 kettlebell exercises.
5. Various throws with medicine balls.

STAGE 3: Interval TrainingThis is the brutal final stage that "blows every gasket," says Statham. "You're crying for air. It redlines the heart into oblivion." Again, variety is key -- either different exercises, or one exercise done according to an interval structure. Here is a list of some of Statham's exercises. Pick six to make a circuit.
Note: You may not have access to the equipment needed to do some of these. The point is to find a balance of total- body work, so you can pick six basic exercises you can do at home and go full-out. Statham does one six-exercise circuit five times. Rest for as long as you need between exercises. And know your limits.

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Your body's like a piece of dynamite + workout