Simplify. Strip down. Streamline.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with doing less training. It’s been going pretty well and the one thing it has shown me is that you don’t need to train as often or as hard as you think you do. Remember: training makes you weaker and smaller – it’s recovery from training that makes you bigger and stronger.
What I have been doing is training with weights twice a week. On Mondays I’ve been doing deadlifts and bench press along with some assistance work. On Fridays I’ve been doing squats and bench press also with some assistance work. On the other days I was doing some cardio.
It was interesting that my strength didn’t drop at all and I didn’t feel as if my muscles were fading away. It was also quite a novelty not to be in constant pain from training.
But all of that is in the past. I have learned what I needed to learn from training less and it is now time to move ever onwards and upwards.
I need to get into serious shape. Being big, strong and flabby is not enough. I want to be lean, athletic and stacked.
Those highly intelligent and good looking folk who are wise enough to follow this blog will possibly note that I have made such claims before. This time it’s different. Honest.
Over the past few months I’ve been experimenting with different types of diet and different styles of training. Through a long and laborious process I’ve worked out what works best for me. Hopefully, as I’ve used myself as a lab-rat, you won’t have to discover for yourself the effects that too much peanut butter can have on the digestive system.
Nor will you have to put yourself through insane workouts that demand that you train your legs to the brink of oblivion three times per week. I’ve already done it. For 6 weeks. Just to see what would happen.
I’ve spent a lifetime in performing bad workouts with inadequate nutrition just so you can learn from my mistakes. Dave Carter – stunt-trainer and extreme-nutritionist to the stars. Watch what I do and then do the exact opposite.
Here is a short list of the things I know to be the absolute truth:
- You can train hard, you can train long, but you can’t train hard and long. Keep your workouts to about 45mins.
- Strength training is the most important element to most training programs. After a thorough warm up start each session with some good basic strength training.
- You need to be strong in the five basic human movement patterns. Squat, push, pull, hinge, carry. You could add to that rotation or anti-rotation.
- Practice makes perfect. As the weights get heavier and heavier your technique will begin to break down. Put aside your ego, strip at least 50% off the bar and gradually build the weight back up focusing on keeping your tekkers spot on.
- Doing cardio is very different to doing conditioning. This is a recent lesson for me. Don’t confuse keeping your heart-rate at 70% of your age related max with actually pushing yourself hard enough to make a difference. I’ve been stopping on the crosstrainer because my allotted time is up and not because I’ve been about to drop dead on the spot.
- It’s all, ultimately, about your diet. For the love of all you hold dear to your heart sort out your bloody diet. Without this being spot on you are wasting your time. Seriously.
- Eat protein with every meal. You need to consume between 2 and 3 grams of protein for every kilo of your body weight. In approximate descending levels of awesomeness; egg white, chicken and turkey breast, fish, whey protein, lean meat, cottage cheese, other protein powders.
- Keep your carbs under control. This one can really vary between person to person. I’m quite carb intolerant. They make me fat instantly. I need to keep my carbs down to less then 200 grams per day if I’m going to stand any chance of ever seeing an ab again.You might be able to handle them better then me. the only way to know for sure is to play around with them.
- Fat is good. If I’m going to be keeping my carbs down I still need to be getting a reasonable amount of calories into me every day. Good fats in the shape of avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and fish oils can really make a huge difference.
- Fruit and veg by the ton. Yes I know there’s plenty of sugar in fruit but you really need to be part humming bird to eat enough of it to make a difference. All veg is brilliant, it fills you up and contains all sorts of good stuff.
The basic plan is going to be; warm up 5-10 mins cardio, activation warm up and mobilisation, strength training for 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps and some kind of hideous conditioning circuit to finish with.
5 min run. Christ, even this was horrible. I am a slug.
Active warm up – as I was going to be squatting today I did various squats, lunges, good mornings and jumps to enliven my central nervous system. All done with a light weight and nice and fast.
Squats – 3 sets of 5 reps done arse to grass with 60/70/80kg. This is in keeping with the point I made earlier about using a way lighter weight for perfect technique.
Squats – 1 set of 20 reps done to a bench with 100kg. Although it’s a bit less then what I’ve been used to recently it was still unbelievably foul.
Kettlebell circuit – This was done as a ladder. Do 1 rep of each exercise, then 2 reps, then 3 reps, etc. I had vague and noble plans to get up to 8 or 10 reps. I got to 4. I am a slug.
Squat – swing – press – row – farmer’s walk around the gym. All done with a 28kg kettlebell.
Till next time,