Follow the Circuit.  Follow the Personal Trainer.  Follow the Program.  Follow the Leader.  Follow the Yellow Brick Road. 

I started out exercising all those many years ago at a Nautilus Gym.  The plan was simple – just follow the Nautilus Circuit by moving from machine to machine.  Do one set and go to the next machine.  A set was between 8 and 12 reps.  If you could not do 8 – reduce the weight stack; if you could do 12 – increase the weight by 5% below 100 pounds and 10% above 100 pounds.  I did that and with the advice of some of the regulars expanded to a couple of other exercises to augment the program.  There were only 6 bikes and no treadmills.  I had no muscle – so I gained muscle. 

Then of course after several years, I stopped.  Over the years, I started and stopped numerous times. 

This time when I decided to join a gym, I chose the NYSC for two reasons – a friend worked out there and it was a mid ground between fields of cardio machines and free weight hell.  Naturally I gravitated to the XpressLine.  Twenty-two minutes.  But of course – there was never a trainer there to show you what to do.  But – it was close enough to the old Nautilus Circuit, so I could figure it out.  After a bit of time, I added a couple of other machines. 

Finally, I had lost enough weight and gained enough muscle to hire a Personal Trainer.  He was young and not fully certified – I was too naive to even ask.  Nice guy, but not really with it.  He had me do a mix of machines and some bicep curls.  When he got fired, I switched to the GUY – the King of the Gym.  He was good but treated my just like the old man I was.  Some things of value, such as balance exercises – some not.  He could not come to terms with Low Carbing and the TNT Plan A protein shake.

It was the TNT and 52DC Forum members that got me focused on alternatives.  I bought the NROL – took me forever to actually read it and start doing the program.  But I followed the program – and it was pretty good.  From there I went to HIAH and followed that program – and it was pretty good.  Then – the various programs in the BBOE – and they were pretty good.  And – then – I started to re-cycle some of the workouts – and that was pretty boring. 

From time to time, I would check in on the other Forums on the MH site.  A recurring theme:  Do the workout as designed – don’t start messing with what the professional created.  At least that is the song sung by those who liked the program.  There are many programs out there and strong opinions pro and con about all of them and their authors.

It took me awhile to get the guts up to even think about creating my own workout program.  I started playing around with the Template in the BBOE and the various “suggested” workouts in each chapter.  Adam Campbell had put together a compendium of information.  Just needed to go beyond looking at the pictures.  The Template gave me a starting point.  The information in the book took it to the next level.

The big question was – could I synthesize all of the information gathered from  all the reading that I’ve been doing and come up with a workout that actually worked for me?  That is what lead me to the Design It Yourself – DIY workouts that I am presently doing.   This is still a learning process.  I read and re-read sections of the book.  Sometimes it takes awhile for all the concepts to hang together in an integrated manner.  I keep on “sharpening the pencil.”  That is what I am doing now as I re-jigger my workout and put together what will become Phase 5.

I do not have any formal training or initials after my name – but then again – neither does Tony Horton.  I do have a brain – and sometimes – I try to use it.   You can too.  Remember – Amateurs Built the Ark.  Professionals Built the Titanic.