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Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown Jr. Workouts

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General Charles Q. Brown Jr., 58, holds his dumbbells tight and does not take his eyes off the timer next to him. It beeps once and he fights his way through 40 seconds of squats. After a 20-second pause, another beep forces him to reverse lunges, and now he’s gasping hard. That doesn’t stop him from grabbing the dumbbells again, just pulling them lightly against his thighs and then curling the weights and pushing them over his head on the third beep.

Sure, he’s gassed, but today’s workout requires tight intervals of 40 seconds on and 20 off. And the chief of staff of the Air Force never deviates from his plan. “For me it is cheating if I rest more,” he says during a break. “I try to stay as close as possible to what’s on my timer.

The General loves these morning workouts at the Pentagon Athletic Center because they are his only chance each day to be in full control before the chaos begins. He takes his controls seriously and saves his favorite workouts in a table that can be sorted by equipment and time limit. “I have a whole repertoire of workouts,” he says, “and me [choose them] based on the layout of the gym I go to. “

Jared Soares

He does all of this before the madness of meetings and intelligence reports and trips that have become his work day. Brown took over as Chief of Staff of the Air Force last August, becoming the first black chief of US military service. The former F-16 pilot, who has completed 130 hours of combat, is responsible for the organization, training and equipment of the 689,000 members of the Air Force. He puts a new focus on fitness and improves the Air Force fitness test to be more functional.

Brown builds his own training on the same principles no matter where he is. He visits bases across the country several times a month. And when he’s not on the road, he makes the rounds on Capitol Hill, advising the Secretary of Defense – and many others – on foreign and domestic affairs. “I spend a lot of time talking to members of Congress and their staff,” he says. “If they say they want to talk to you, your calendar will explode to adjust.”

His workday starts at 7:40 a.m., about an hour after he finished his sweat break. He tries to be home at 6 a.m., but often reads reports until he finally goes to bed at 11 a.m. Every day, says Brown, is “just a little different,” but that doesn’t bother him. “Personally, I like the pressure to get things done.”

air force chief of staff, general charles q brown jr

Jared Soares

Training six days a week reinforces this and serves as an ultra-scheduled dose of kinetic activity. He started building his spreadsheet seven years ago when he was posted to Qatar. Before that, he’d spent most of his Air Force service away from squats and burpees. “At the beginning of my career,” he says, “I knew where the Burger King was – but not the gym.”

In Qatar, however, he was a long way from his wife and two sons, so he filled the void with exercise classes. But it wasn’t about muscle pumps. He loved the challenge of HIIT, wanted the “pressure to actually do it”. He started studying the CrossFit website and regularly did the day’s workout. He also borrowed workouts from a small magazine called Men’s Health. He saved his favorite songs in a table so that he could repeat them. Ten months later, he returned to the US with £ 15.

“It’s one of those things that became part of my routine,” he says. Even when Brown travels overseas, he still starts the day with a 5:30 p.m. session – and that’s one of his secrets to beating jet lag. “It also helps with my internal clock,” he says.

It doesn’t feel like it right now, however, as he finishes off that 30-minute workout with his archenemy at the gym, the burpee. He rips out the Devil’s Press, a variety of burpee that replaces an overhead swing with dumbbells at the end of each rep, and by the end of that 40-second interval the general is exhausted. But he’ll be back tomorrow for another workout – and he plans to pick a session from his spreadsheet in the years to come. “Maybe I need to add some other exercises because I may not be able to move that fast,” he says, “but I’ll keep the chart and keep training.”

air force chief general charles q brown jr enjoys circuit training and often relies on moves like spiderman dropouts

Jared Soares

9 minute HIIT

Brown does exercises that bring results, even if he hates them. Try this bodyweight circuit which is 3 moves he hates. Rest 15 seconds between rounds. Do 3 rounds.

    12 repetitions

      15 repetitions

        12 repetitions

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Men’s Health

5 Track Workouts That Will Get You Out of the Gym

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Sprinters have the best physique in the world: Their bodies are made up of long, sinewy muscles that they can propel over the course at breathtaking speed. Why do so few people do track workouts? The facilities are easily accessible (many high and middle schools keep their lanes open to the public in the evenings and on weekends), and they’re not just for running, either. Most lanes have grassy infields, if not lined soccer fields, that can be used for shuttle runs and exercises that could otherwise be done in the gym.

Training on the track in the spring and autumn months or on summer evenings is often more comfortable than another overcrowded gym workout. And unlike your typical long, stationary jog on a treadmill, running on a distance is much more likely to improve strength and speed. Last but not least, it offers a welcome change from the gym and the opportunity to train outside.

Ready to start? Here’s a warm-up and five workouts you can do on the track and in the infield:

5 track workouts that will get you out of the gym

Warm up

  1. Cobra: Lie on your stomach (face down) on the infield grass. Squeeze your buttocks together and bring your shoulder blades back and down. With your thumbs up, arms turned out, and chin tucked in, lift and hold your chest for 2 seconds. Slowly lower to the floor and repeat 10 repetitions.
  2. Pelvic slope: This opens the hips and pelvis, which can become blocked from sitting too much. From a standing position with your hands on your hips and knees slightly bent, move your hips back and forth and tilt your pelvis. You should feel a stretch in your lower back. Be sure to move from your hips; don’t get out of step. This can also be done with your hands on the cross for more stretch. Tilt back and forth 10 times.
  3. Knee hug: Raise your right knee to your chest and reach under that knee with your hands. Pull the knee as close to your chest as possible while contracting your left gluteus muscle. Repeat on the other side. Do 10 on each side.
  4. Side lunge: Step right while keeping your toes straight and feet flat. Squat down by sitting back and on your right leg; Keep your left leg straight and your weight on your right metatarsus to your heel. Keeping your left leg straight, crouch down as low as you can and hold this position for 2 seconds. You can return to the starting position or slip to the next lunge by gradually moving to the right. Do 10 on each side.
  5. Ass kicks: From an athletic posture, crouch slightly as if you were sitting in a chair. Jump and bring your heels to the glutes. Do not arch your lower back. Land gently in an athletic position and repeat 10 reps.

Training session # 1

Directions: Repeat the following exercises four times for a total of 5 sets or 30 minutes.

  1. Warm-up run: Two laps around the track with 60 percent effort.
  2. Plank: Hold for 1 minute, rest for 30 seconds.
  3. Dips: Repeat for 1 minute, rest for 30 seconds (use a bench or bleachers).
  4. Lateral limits: Stand on your right leg with your left foot off the floor in balance. Squat slightly with your right leg, jump sideways to the left. Extend your ankles, knees, and hips and land on your left leg while maintaining your balance. Hold for a three count, then jump back to the other side. The idea is to explode from your hips for maximum height and distance. Do 10 repetitions per side.
  5. Burpees: Repeat 1 minute, rest 30 seconds.

Training session # 2

  1. ½ mile warm-up run: Complete two laps of the track with 60 percent effort.
  2. Pushups x 20
  3. ¼ mile run: Finish a round with 80 to 90 percent effort.
  4. ¼ mile brisk walk
  5. Pushups x 20
  6. ¼ mile run: Finish a round with 80 to 90 percent effort.
  7. ¼ mile brisk walk
  8. Pushups x 20
  9. ½ mile cooldown: Complete two laps of the track with 60 percent effort.

Training session # 3

  1. ½ mile warm-up run: Complete two laps of the track with 60 percent effort.
  2. 5-10-5 drills: A staple of the NFL Scouting Combine. Place three cones or other objects in a row on the grass, 5 meters apart. (If the soccer field has yard markers, use those instead.) Start at the middle cone or yard marker. Walk 5 meters to the right and touch the ground on the cone. Then run 10 meters to the left and touch the ground. Then sprint back to the starting point. Repeat twice with a 30-second break between sets.
  3. Park bench routine: A park bench – or one that’s likely to be found on the track – is a versatile piece of equipment that you can use to do a combination of dips and pushups. If you struggle with push-ups on the floor, the greater angle between you and the floor will make them easier to do on a bench. Do 12 pushups; Then turn around and do 12 dips. For the dips, look away from the bench and grasp the edge of the bench with your hands. Lower your body to the floor and push up with your triceps. Do 10 pushups and 10 dips, followed by 8, 6, 4, and 2 of each. Note: Whenever possible, use the lower edge of the bench for dips and push-ups. Use the higher edge of the bench for pushups if the lower one is too demanding.
  4. Bleacher run: Walk up and down the grandstand for 5 minutes. No grandstands? Run the track at 60 percent speed for 5 minutes.
  5. Pushups x 20
  6. Squat Jumps x 10
  7. Bleacher run
  8. 5-10-5 drill bits
  9. Park bench routine
  10. ½ mile cooldown: Complete two laps of the track with 60 percent effort.

Training session # 4

Directions: Repeat the following exercises until you have reached a total of 30 minutes for the workout.

  1. ¼ mile run: Finish a lap on the track with 60 percent effort. After the first lap, increase the effort to 80 to 90 percent.
  2. Burpees x 15
  3. Climber x 50
  4. ¼ mile run: Complete a lap on the track with 80 to 90 percent effort.
  5. Pushups x 20

Training session # 5

  1. 1 mile warm-up run: Complete four laps on the track.
  2. Run: Run for 4 minutes with 80 to 90 percent effort.
  3. Quick walk: Walk for 2 minutes.
  4. Run: Let it run for 4 minutes.
  5. Quick walk: Walk for 2 minutes.
  6. Run: Let it run for 4 minutes.
  7. Quick walk: Walk for 2 minutes.
  8. 1 mile cooldown: Finish four laps of the track with 60 percent effort.

Pete Williams is a NASM certified personal trainer and the author or co-author of a number of books on performance and training.

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Men’s Health

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Explained Why He Doesn’t Have Six-Pack Abs

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Before we start, let’s agree on something: For someone who is nearly 50 years old, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is in incredible shape. As someone with a background in professional American football, wrestling and performing hardcore action scenes – with decades of strength training under the (weight) belt – DJ is a fitness icon for men half his age and has made a name for himself made by Hollywood’s strongest leading actors.

These physical skills are what power tens of thousands of frantic Google searches as those desperately looking for Johnson’s workouts try to find the plan that got him into such gigantic shape. But the internet has defied one mystery: Where are Johnson’s six pack abs? He’s got the core strength and low body fat required to make them pop, after all.

That was the question Johnson asked during a recent WIRED “Autocomplete” interview in which DJ answered some of the internet community’s most burning questions. The question read by his Jungle Cruise co-star, Emily Blunt, was, “What’s wrong with The Rock’s abs?”

“That sucks!” replied Johnson to the question that struck his body. “There’s nothing wrong with them, no. Here’s the thing. I think because on Instagram all these Instagram fitness models have these incredible six, eight, 12, 24 packs.”

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“I have a five and a half pack, sometimes a four and a half pack,” he continued. “But the problem was – which a lot of people don’t know – I ripped the upper part of my thigh off my pelvis in a wrestling match and it popped, in a wrestling match.

“And then it started a chain reaction and tore my abdominal wall, so I had to do emergency surgery with a triple hernia, one tear, one tear, and one tear.” [pointing to each tear].

Sounds like a tough ride – one that will definitely ruin any unwarranted keyboard comment. “Those bastards who google what’s wrong with the abs on The Rock? ‘ Well, it’s called a 45 minute wrestling match and the top of my quad popped out of my pelvis and my adductor popped out of my pelvis, “said Johnson.

“And the pain I’ve been through … I have to fix this shit. I’ll google what got over The Rock?”

Very good reason, you will agree with me.


Ed Cooper is Assistant Digital Editor at Men’s Health UK, writing and editing on anything you want to know – from tech to fitness, mental health to style, food and more.

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Men’s Health

Why Winter is The Best Season for Bulking

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With the lack of beach days forcing you to put up with it all and minimal impromptu parties popping up on the calendar, there’s relatively no need to wear a chiseled six-pack year round. Therefore, winter is the best time of year to build as much lean muscle mass as possible. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it should be made clear that bulking doesn’t translate directly to bodybuilding (aka You Won’t Walk Away Like the Michelin Man).

How do i start?

The most important thing is that to build muscle you need to eat a lot more. The reverse formula for what it takes to lose weight, bulking, requires you to expend more energy than the body needs while at the same time giving some of that energy, e.g. Through regular and strenuous physical activity to build muscle mass.

The amount of food you need to eat varies from person to person and takes into account your current physique and fitness goals, which is why I recommend that you always seek advice from your doctor. For some, it might mean adding an extra can of yogurt to your morning cereal, others need to include a different meal each day, but you want your wellness journey to be tailored just for you.

Wait … am I not getting fat?

While it may be a cause for concern for some, fat gain is part of the mass building process. However, you don’t want to fall into the pattern of simply eating more for profit, it’s all about quality and informed food choices.

Start increasing your calories in small increments, prioritizing more full fat dairy, whole grains, and lean meats to underpin each meal. Other high-calorie foods that should appear on your radar include avocado, sweet potato, and nuts.

Hot Tip: Swapping Vegemite for Peanut Butter on Toast will increase your energy and protein intake without increasing the bread amount, making you less likely to feel too full.

So am I doubling the protein requirement?

Contrary to popular belief, bulking requires more than just protein (so stop knocking down those shakes). The best sources of protein to include in your diet today should be: eggs, nuts and seeds, beans, legumes, lean meats, and seafood. Again, so many factors play a role in how much you need, including your gender, height, and exercise program.

If you are feeling fit and ready to reshape your body but are lacking inspiration in the kitchen department, I recommend investing in one of the many food delivery programs available across Austria that will support your fitness goals. Company like MACROS For example, provide plans called Sculpt, Perform, and Gain, all of which have been pre-portioned and dietitian-approved to suit your lifestyle. The best part? It ships right to your door, which means more time training and less effort preparing meals.

Forget everything you’ve heard about gobbling up whole pizzas, gallons of milk, and tons of cheeseburgers, bulking is far less scary than it sounds and can indeed be a welcome change from your usual fitness regimen.

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