When I started Clutch Bodyshop, I knew exactly the kind of clients I wanted to train: people who are super ambitious about their fitness, but also realistic about getting there.
Sure, I work with lots of professional athletes, actors, and actresses, but the majority of my clients are just people. They have day jobs, young families, and lots of commitments. But those things aren't their excuses for not working out; they're the rewards of a well-lived life, and the reasons they know they simply must keep training hard.
When I made the decision recently to assemble a select team of Clutch athletes to represent our brand, I had no intention of making the decision based on appearance alone. I wanted people who burned like I burn, and who knew how to earn results in the face of challenges that leave others stopped in their tracks.
I wanted someone like Michael Gasperson.
Athlete, Fireman, Father, Gentleman
Look Michael up online, and the first thing you'll see is that he's a former NFL wide receiver who played for a year with the Philadelphia Eagles. But don't let that fool you into thinking he's ever been on the fast track to success.
He was told he'd never break the starting lineup in high school football, and was even asked why he wasted his time playing. By his senior year, though, not only was he a starting wide receiver, he had been voted outstanding senior athlete by his fellow students. So the scholarship offers poured in, right? Not quite.
Michael attended a small school and was told he'd never make the NFL. But he did—as an undrafted free agent. His pro career lasted a single season, and today, he's a firefighter and new father.
Hear that? It's a lot of "no" from the world, and one loud "yes" responding from inside this strong man. He has had to consistently work his ass off to achieve his fitness and life goals.
Today, Mike is a busy dad with a young daughter, a demanding job, and not a lot of spare time. You could never tell this by looking at him, though. His body, strength, and overall athleticism are all absolutely ridiculous.
Amazingly, Mike has maintained the same muscle density as a firefighter and family man that he had when he was training six hours a day in the NFL. That's pretty impressive given that he rarely works out for longer than 30 minutes a day, and he's limited to the very basic equipment that's stored at the firehouse.
How does he do it? Here are five things this ripped manimal does that you should be doing, too.
Make it fit!
Don't try to make the rest of your life work around your epic workouts. Your fitness program simply has to fit into your life. Otherwise, it's going to stall out before you even get started. In Mike's case, his crazy schedule demands a hybrid approach to fitness that packs maximum work into the minimum amount of time.
He works out at the firehouse first thing every morning, and keeps his routines short and intense. Why? Postponing a workout or letting it run long would inevitably mean it would get disturbed or cancelled altogether by an emergency.
Set slow-burning, long-term goals
When Mike was busting his ass to make the NFL, he knew he needed to put on 25 pounds. Instead of trying to gain all the weight in his first year, he set incremental goals, like putting on five pounds at a time. Five pounds—whether you are looking to gain or lose it—is a much more achievable result than 25.
Set yourself a series of small, incremental goals that you can achieve in the immediate future; huge, unrealistic, goals ("I need to bench 300") will kill your motivation.
Don't work out randomly
When you're building your workout regimen, follow Mike's strategy and pick a few moves that mimic the actions you use during your regular day. When Mike is at a fire, his first job is to pull the charged (filled with water) hose off of the truck. So, a few times a week, he pulls a semi tire attached to a hose from one end of the fire station to the other.
He needs upper-body and arm strength to pull down ceilings at a fire, so overhead presses and squats with a medicine ball are also go-to moves for him. Think strategically and aim for functional, purposeful power that is tailored to your life.
What's the benefit of looking huge and super ripped if you can't run up a flight of stairs? Your lungs and heart are your life—so train them. Same for your legs. They do a lot more than just help you stabilize for the bench press, so don't insult them by limiting your lower-body work to a few sets of leg extensions.
Build a body that will show up for you in those clutch moments where you need to use it—be it in a team sport, on the job, or when your 5-year-old wants to be picked up and tossed in the air yet again.
Don't rely on fake energy
Maintaining your adrenal health is key for anyone who wants to feel and look like an athlete. So-called "energy drinks" or workout supplements that are packed with stimulants may give you a short-term boost in the gym, but they drain and exhaust your adrenals in the long term. Michael needs to rely on his body to show up for him in dangerous and unpredictable situations.
Adrenal fatigue—where your body is too stressed and tapped out to produce adrenaline—could be fatal for him. This is why he maximizes results and prevents adrenal burnout with a stim-free pre-workout powder.
THE "MAN ON FIRE" UPPER-BODY WORKOUT
We're all busy people, so set realistic goals for yourself. Get up early and take 30 minutes to power through an upper- or lower-body workout. Focus on fast reps and don't rest between movements. Keep it simple!
- Overhead Press
- "Gasperson" Push-Up
- Incline Dumbbell Press
- Weighted Pull Ups
- Feet-Elevated Bodyweight Row
- One-Arm Dumbbell Row
- EZ-Bar Skullcrusher
- Reverse Barbell Curl
- Barbell Ab Rollout
Work up to 3 sets of 10 reps