Author Topic: 5BX / XBX - Beginning Fitness  (Read 3910 times)

Professor Ecks

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5BX / XBX - Beginning Fitness
« on: October 23, 2014, 02:06:16 PM »
As I am sure is the case with many of you, I am constantly thinking about getting into better shape. And most of the time, thinking is as far as it goes. However, as I have started taking action to get my financial house in order, I've discovered a little more motivation to move beyond thinking and start taking action on the health aspect of my like as well.

The question now is, what to do? MMM likes Olympic weights. Almost everyone here is riding a bike. There are already threads dedicated to ď100 pushups a dayĒ or ď200 squats an hourĒ and the like.

The problem is, Iím not there yet. I tried taking the stairs to my 13th floor office. I made it...barely. But I also was unable to get out of bed the following morning. And for over a week my gait had the coordination of a two year old, the flexibility of an 82 year old, and the pain of, well, I donít know. But it REALLY hurt.

So I started looking for some beginner exercise regimens to ease myself into this and I stumbled across a program that I think might do the trick. Itís called 5BX, which stands for ď5 Basic Exercises.Ē It was developed by some dude back in the 1950s for the Royal Canadian Air Force. It is basically 5 callisthenic and cardio exercises, done every day, for a total time of 11 minutes. 5BX was designed for the fellas, and the creator also made XBX (10 Basic Exercises) for the ladies, which takes 12 minutes. I'm not sure why either one wouldn't work for the other, but whatever.

You do variations of the same exercises every day, progressively adding more reps or degree of difficulty. You donít need any equipment, and hardly need any time.

I read that people like Helen Mirrin, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and George Burns are or were all practitioners. Now, two things those people have in common are they have lived LOTS of years and look(ed) to be relatively healthy even at age 70, 80, or 100. And if you do a web search about it, youíll see lots of comments like ďMy 85 year old father has done these exercises for 40 years and is the healthiest person his age that I know.Ē

Anyway, it seems like a really good option for those of us beginning the fitness journey, so Iíve decided to give this a shot. I plan to start November 1st and to progress through the end of the year. At that point, I will evaluate my progress and determine if I plan to continue or move on to something perhaps more challenging.

This website seems to have a pretty good rundown of the program. It has the info for the 5BX and XBX programs, as well as some other information you may or may not find useful.

5BX -

I know this challenge falls woefully short of badass, and thus will probably not garner a ton of interest from folks. It's not going to get anyone ripped or running a marathon. But I figure there may be a few of you out there in a similar position as me, and it might be nice to give this a shot "together" and keep tabs on each otherís progress. 


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Re: 5BX / XBX - Beginning Fitness
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2014, 04:44:04 PM »
I've got a fitness regimen already, I just wanted to drop in and say: Don't sell yourself or your challenge short! Just the fact that you're moving beyond thinking about doing it is badass! All it takes is a start and then you can take off with it. Calisthenics/bodyweight exercises are great for people at all fitness levels. I'm in my best shape and I haven't touched a weight in over a year. You got this thing man, now go kick its ass!


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Re: 5BX / XBX - Beginning Fitness
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2014, 04:58:03 PM »
Professor Ecks,

Thanks for posting this. I've never heard of 5BX, but it seems to track closely with my preferred method of pursuing fitness, which is to not overthink it. And by that, I mean working out:

  • shouldn't require expensive gym memberships
  • shouldn't require complex apparatuses that cost a lot of money or take up space
  • should be fun and require minimal planning (or else it's hard to stick with it)
  • should be done without paying attention to other people's expectations or standards

I would suggest using something like to track your progress. It's an free online account thingy that lets you track workouts, gives you points, and awards badges for various milestones. If you and other Mustachians are interested, we could also make a Mustachian group on Fitocracy that would allow us to track each others' progress, give encouragement, and throw down challenges. It's all free. In fact, I went ahead and created a group on Fitocracy called "Mustachian Fitness". Create an account and join! My username is "jonnyvsrobots". I'll also create a separate thread announcing this. Happy to put you on the group as an admin.

I've always been pretty average, not athletic but not out of shape, but I started taking fitness more seriously three years ago when my wife decided we should do a half-marathon, which also coincided with me turning 30. A few things that worked for me (YMMV):

  • Think of yourself as an athlete. You are, you just might be a little rusty or underdeveloped.
  • If you try running and get terrible shin splints (this prevented me from doing long-distance running for most of my life - I was always more of a cyclist), look into minimalist shoes. They aren't for everyone, but they totally changed how I run. I used to be a big heel striker and shin splints would sideline me after a mile. Now I focus on striking with my forefoot and I can run pain-free for long distances.
  • I still don't love long distance running, but I taught myself how to jump rope, and it's great and entertaining cardio.
  • Try swimming if you have a community pool nearby. I found out a year ago that I had a free pool a couple blocks from me that is never very busy. I am a terrible swimmer, but taught myself the breast stroke and it's good enough for fitness-sake.
  • Bad weather = fun workouts!

It doesn't matter where you start, just keep at it and you will end up shocking yourself with how much progress you eventually make. Congrats on starting the journey and keep kicking ass!


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Re: 5BX / XBX - Beginning Fitness
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2014, 08:46:36 AM »
The problem is, Iím not there yet. I tried taking the stairs to my 13th floor office. I made it...barely. But I also was unable to get out of bed the following morning. And for over a week my gait had the coordination of a two year old, the flexibility of an 82 year old, and the pain of, well, I donít know. But it REALLY hurt.

I applaud your plan but also wanted to say don't let experiences like this scare you away from an exercise or movement!  You'd be surprised how hard the first time can be and how much easier the second can be.  I'm pretty active with around 1500 miles on the bike this year already, but I only do weightlifting/strength training in the winter.   Last winter I was up to a work set of 3x5 back squats with 125 lbs on my back, after several warmup sets. (Which isn't GREAT but is fine.)

Last Sunday I started strength training again, keeping it light I thought, and just did 10 air squats, 20 goblet squats w/ 20 lbs and 2x5 back squats with 15 lbs on my back, followed with foam rolling like a good girl......and I could barely walk for 4 days.  Like, SERIOUSLY hobbling.   Last night I repeated the exact same exercise, and I'm feeling pretty good today!  I think sometimes the first time shocks your body -- and probably stretches your muscles in ways they are not used to -- but it gets better before you are even truly building strength of any sort.

Just a note of something I learned myself recently!!