Realistic Goals (in Fitness)

I’m enjoying having the weight set in my office. I don’t have to go anywhere, pay for gym memberships, deal with pinheads, or follow someone else’s schedule. I can put on my music, play with different exercises, and set my own pace. Sure, it’s only been a week, but I’m already remembering how good weight lifting felt and I feel like I can keep at it.

I already pull some workouts from Men’s Health, but a while back I picked up a copy of Muscle & Fitness on an impulse. There’s a great home workout in this particular issue, and there are a lot of great articles on specific routines and some diet strategies. Between the two, I should be able to stay motivated and put together a good routine.

However, there’s one problem with Muscle & Fitness: it’s geared toward the real musclehead. Sure, anyone can do most of the exercises in there, but many of the articles mention hypertrophy and extreme bodybuilding. I had to ask myself if that’s realistic, and more importantly, is that even what I want?


You won't like me when I'm angry.

For one thing, that’s a huge commitment, and probably more than I’d be able to accomplish with the time and equipment I have. For another, my wife doesn’t find that very attractive. The veins gross her out, and the overall look is almost inhuman.

The deal killer for me, though, is the weight lifting is supposed to supplement my karate training. I want to get stronger for judo, and utilize weight lifting to cut some fat, but if I go overboard and really bulk up, I’d lose a lot of flexibility and probably a lot of speed.

Can he shake hands with Mr Happy?

Would a guy like this be able to perform a proper side or roundhouse kick? Probably not. And forget kata; it would be a mess.

I do think it’s important to have a realistic goal in mind, though. A visual target gives one something to shoot for, and if it’s realistic, it’s more attainable. My goal is based on a simple example: Michael Chiklis.

Yeah, the guy who played Vic Mackey. And The Thing in the Fantastic Four flicks. Odd choice? Maybe. But bear with me a second. Observe Mr Chiklis in an old cop series called The Commish:

Fat guy with a little badge.

I didn’t watch the show, but my folks did, and I seem to remember him as the jolly fat guy running a police department. It ran from ’91 to ’96, and Chiklis hit 30 halfway through its run.

Six years later, he shows up on The Shield as the infamous Vic Mackey, by all accounts a huge departure from The Commish’s Tony Scali. And at nearly age 40, he looks like this:

Vic Mackey

You talkin' to me?

Older, thinner, in better shape. He’s not huge or ripped, but he looks good. He looks fit and healthy.

This, I think, is totally doable. Karate, I believe, started me on the right path. Now I’m hoping the weight lifting — and yes, some running — will help finish it off. (Hell, with the direction my hair is threatening to go, I may even go for the same haircut. Again.) I may not be able to afford personal trainers, but my karate instructors know their stuff and I’ve got the magazines to pull ideas and information from. I don’t know what Chiklis weighed before and after, but it looks like I’m going through about the same thing and I’m built about the same way.

Let’s see if I can’t make this summer count.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.


  1. Richard Wolff says:

    I like the way you think, seems you’ve set yourself a realistic goal and I’m looking forward to reading about your progress. Post some pictures along the way as well!

    For me, it’s a constant struggle with weight, and I have to eat really well and exercise quite a lot to keep my weight where it should be, so I know the feeling!

    Good luck!

    • Mike says:

      Thanks, Richard! I probably should post some before pics at some point. I’ll have to think about how to approach them so they’re not just gross fat guy. ;)

  2. Ted Kruczek says:

    Mike I think you are an inspiration the majority out there that are trying to drop a few pounds, and I gotta admit – wanting to look like the more recent Michael Chiklis is an awesome plan.

    I started doing the Spartacus 2.0 workout from Men’s Health after doing their Fat Burning Routine for some time and think it is a phenomenal workout, but not easy to just start doing.

    The thing that helped me the most is switching to a 2:1 diet. Two parts vegetables to every one part grain, with as much meat as you want to eat (breaded counts towards your grain). Felt more energy and it was hard to pretend I used up all the carbs I was eating before they turned to more fat.

    All the best with this Mike and keep us all up to date – I will be following your quest to be Vic :P

    • Mike says:

      Thanks! So far, so good, but I’m just getting rolling. If I can be as dedicated with the lifting and other aspects as I am my karate training, I don’t think it will be a problem. Then you can call me an inspiration. ;)

      As for diet, that’s where I’m weakest right now. I haven’t been a soda drinker for ages, and I’m not big on candy or pastries, but at the same time I’m horrible at eating fruits and vegetables. I’ve worked on it, but I should be doing a lot better. I just love my meat, potatoes, bread and pasta too much. Fortunately the meat side includes a lot of chicken, pork and fish, not just red meat. I’m heavy on dairy, too. Love milk, cheese and eggs.

  3. Mauldor says:

    Very interesting reading indeed, I am currently training also but do not want to get to the stage of mass muscle head type thing. I currently use routines from – hope this helps you.