by Markus Bender

Fitness means something a little different to everyone. For me fitness means a lifestyle. However, by either doing too little or too much, balance in life is something few people seem to master. I don't live to workout, I workout to live! Because of this approach, I feel and look great at 50. Fitness should not be complicated. Fitness should be a simplistic part of your daily life.  

Ask yourself two questions • When you get on an escalator do you just stand there or do you walk up?  • Do you like to park close to things or do you purposely park farther away and walk?  

Putting that extra effort in little things throughout the day make a significant difference in being fit.  Let’s start with the greatest age “reverser” on the planet. Weight training! I'm convinced of its impact for two core reasons. One, strong toned muscles make you look great on the outside, but most importantly, it also makes you feel great on the inside!  Two, it is a huge preventative measure combating degenerative bone disease (Osteoporosis). I discovered early in my training that less is more and that by not following the “normal” rule of spending hours in the gym I maximized my benefits. The great news is that you too can gain these benefits in less than nine minutes a day.
My 'Bend the Rules' approach to weight training is not easy, but it is short, effective and practical. Who has the time to spend on a long workout? I know I don't, but I know everyone can find nine minutes a day for an effective workout. 

My guiding principle is to train only one muscle group a day by doing four sets, focus on basic movements, the foundation of strength training. For example, if you are working on your chest then bench presses, push-ups or flies are your best movement choices. Make sure you know how to implement each movement properly. Each set should be performed to reach total muscle fatigue. Reaching muscle fatigue releases creatine, a necessary element in building muscle mass.

Whatever muscle group you are working that day, the following steps are the keys to your success. Start with an initial light warm up of a dozen reps just to get some blood flowing to your joints. Your workout should begin with the heaviest weight  and decreasing the weight after each set. Between each set a 30-second rest is mandatory. If you are looking to pack on the muscle, choose the heaviest weight with which you can perform six to eight reps without strain.

Reasons to train only one muscle group a day:
• Provides focus for intense workout for optimal muscle growth • Keep your workout short to keep you hungry for the next workout • Training each muscle group once a week gives it the right amount of rest to avoid over training • Muscle doesn't build up a resistance to being tore down • Practical & Realistic.

Most people want to do more, but it is important that you don't. Leave th gym knowing that you did what you needed to do for that day looking forward to tomorrow's workout. Remember, it's all about consistency and not about how many hours you spent at the gym. No matter what, keep on exercising day after day, week after week, and year after year. 

Keys of the 'Bend the Rules' workout:
• Work one muscle group per day • Do four sets total • In descending order start with your heaviest  • Push muscle to  total exhaustion in every set • Rest 30 seconds between sets

This column was brought to you by Bend The Rules “We Make Sure You Covered.”

by Markus Bender
Photo by Roger Reiner

What does it mean to be fit?  What is fitness?  Fitness means something different to everyone. Fitness is a topic that may induce dread for some and excitement for others. In either case, it is an important addition to everyday life.

Hello everyone, my name is Markus Bender, and for over 30 years I have been working as a personal trainer and consultant in the fitness industry. After drinking and smoking and adopting bad behavior at school at the age of 13 and 14, I started working out at the age of 15. At the same time with some guidance and inspiration from above, I was able to motivate myself and start weight training, a program that change my life forever, and put me back on a positive path of taking care of my body and soul. It was then that I discovered through trial and error, a practical and effective method to achieve the body I desired, changing my life forever. 

This unique and outstanding routine became the core of my training philosophy, which the publisher of PINK refers to as my ‘Bend the Rules’ philosophy.  With ‘Bend the Rules’ as  the foundation, I opened my first gym in Ashland, Wisconsin, at the age of 19. Ten years after I opened this gym I decided to move west to Beverly Hills, CA. There, my client-centered, results proven approach earned me a strong clientele list, which included American hero Buzz Aldrin.    
In the coming issues of PINK, I will share with you the secrets of my 'Bend the Rules' philosophy. Through this program I will show you how in nine or less minutes per day you can build and maintain a lean muscular body. I will, for example, explain how isolating a single muscle group with short, intense and simple workouts each day will keep you in great shape your entire life. Unlike other fitness programs  my program is straight forward, easy and can fit into any hectic schedule. 

The best proof I can provide that my training philosophy work is me.  At  50, I look and feel fabulous!  We all know that it is easier to stay in shape at a young age, but after 40, it can feel as if our bodies are literally falling apart on the way to the junkyard. However, I am living proof that you don’t have to end up that way. 

In the upcoming issues, I look forward to sharing  my 'Bend the Rules' training philosophy with you. I am available to answer any questions you might have, and I always welcome your feedback and comments. 

You can contact me directly at