Browse the web to look up workout routines or flip open a men’s health mag for tips on how to get lean and ripped. A fitness guru may tout the benefits of the Gazelle on one website, while another may advocate the use of resistance bands.
Sure, these gurus may be experts in the field, devoted to preaching the benefits of, roughly, 500 chin-ups a day. But, what are some tips from your average Joe?
Well, Airman 1st Class Angelo Beato can answer by providing some tried and true methods worthy of the average Joe -- and maybe even a guru or two, as well.
As an airman, Beato must stay healthy and in shape for Air Force-related missions, so that he can rely on his mental and physical strength to carry out tasks in even dire conditions. “Working out promotes mental and physical health. It cuts fat off of the body and makes you stronger, letting you perform better at physical and mental activities,” he says. "Failure is not an option and being out of shape is never an excuse.”
So what are his tips? Beato is an advocate of high-intensity workouts, including sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups, combined with sprints and running. He designed his own personal workout from the variations of exercises he learned when stationed from base to base.
Here’s his day to day workout routine, which he repeats every fourth day:
- Day 1: 1/4 mile sprint intervals with push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups in between. Sprint 1/4 mile and push up for 50; sprint 1/4 mile and do 50 sit-ups; sprint 1/4 mile and push up for 50; and sprint 1/4 mile and do 50 sit-ups. Finish it all off with three sets, 15 reps each, of alternating pull-ups, leg lifts and dips.
- Day 2: Run for 2 to 3 miles.
- Day 3: Rest.
When Beato was stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas for basic military training, he earned the title of Physical Training Monitor and trained the airmen who failed their last physical training (PT). He created and implemented exercises to burn off the airmen’s fat and excess weight, as well as exercises to promote strength training.
For the first half of remedial PT, Beato made the airmen do body weight exercises at high rate intervals to keep their heart rate up. For instance, he instructed the airmen to do squats, push-ups and sit-ups for three sets, 20 reps each.
For the second half, Beato focused on strength training with one-leg squats, push-ups and sit-ups on his count (full extension to half and then all the way down), planks and side-planks, as well as flutter kicks.
Beato saw the results firsthand as the airmen got into better and better shape. “As the weeks would go by I would add five more reps, sometimes 10, depending on if I saw improvement to the group as a whole," he says. "As more and more airmen got into better shape, I let them lead the exercises while I focused more on other individuals that had a harder time adjusting, and I corrected their form or their breathing."
Additionally, diet is key in keeping fit. When Beato’s on base, he eats as healthy as possible and sticks with lean meats, whole grains, fruits and veggies, and he snacks on foods like yogurt in between meals.
Even though his diet is healthy when on base five days a week, he admits that he eats freely on the weekends. “When I go back home, it's hard to stay healthy when my mother cooks delicious Filipino foods, which -- let's face it -- is not the healthiest of diets.”
Even Achilles had a weakness, right?
Everyone’s motivation for creating fitness routines is different. For Beato, he sets personal goals for himself to work toward. “I'm motivated now because I have a PT test coming up the next month and I want to score a 100 on it. That's my current motivation. Others are, for instance, that summer is coming up and I want to look good when I take my shirt off.”
Beato admits, though, that sometimes the motivating factor for working out is simply because he needs to compensate for a week or two’s diet of junk food. “Sometimes, I eat way too much junk, and I see excess baggage on my body. Then I know it’s time to tone up.”
So what results has he personally seen? “Abs,” he states, “and also better physical and mental performances, as well as less headaches.”
When all's said and done, creating a fitness routine doesn’t always have to be pulled from the pages of a magazine. Tailor a workout routine according to personal needs and fitness goals with the help of a buff friend or two. And if you ever catch Beato doing one-legged squats at the gym, don’t be afraid to ask for his advice, either.