In my last post, I discussed some self-experimentation with intermittent fasting. From what I’ve observed, it seems to be working really well, but I can’t chalk up all of my progress to that. No, like any stern believer of the scientific method, I understand that there are infinite variables in our chaotic world. Even when brainstorming a list of every possible variable we could recognize or control, there are plenty more. When it comes to my training, I believe that I have things more dialed in than most, but I also know there are some factors I haven’t even thought of, and can never control. Enough with that philosophical crap though, let’s get down to what I have been controlling.
Attempting to balance my busy weekly schedule with training required some extra thought and planning on my part, which is a good thing. (Seriously, when is extra thinking a bad thing?) My weekends are certainly less busy than my weeks, so it made sense to train on both days. Between classes and observation hours, I’m on campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which were perfect for me to train on. It’s pretty easy to walk out of class, down the hall, and into the gym. My ‘new’ training schedule looks as follows:
- Sunday – Upper Body
- Tuesday – Full Body
- Thursday – Full Body
- Saturday – Lower Body
Let’s discuss what goes into each of those workouts, shall we? I’ll admit I was a little worried about using full body workouts, as I’ve never used them before. Once I wised up about body part splits, I began using an upper/lower split that I’ve come to love; it just makes sense to me. I tend to use mostly full body workouts for my clients and those I program for, and it makes the most sense from a time investment standpoint. It was just hard for me to get myself to do it. Funny, the way that is.
What I’ve figured out for my training is simple; breaking down movement patterns between Tuesday and Thursday so that everything is covered between the two days. For example, on Tuesday I’ll use a bench press variation, a heavier row variation, and more knee-dominant single leg work. I’ll throw in core stability work, chin-ups, and overhead pressing with dumbbells. If I’m not sprinting, or sprinting lower volumes, I’ll also add in some dedicated posterior chain work such as pull throws, bridges, or SHELCs. On Thursday, I flip things around, with heavier vertical pushing/pulling, and I’ll focus on technique and speed for the exercise I’m using on Saturday. This seems to be working really well, and I’ve enjoyed the set up, even if it’s a total mutilation of the dynamic effort/max effort method. In addition to the speed work and vertical strength, I’ll incorporate plenty of inverted rows and push-up variations. (I’m not sure you can ever do too many rows or push-ups.)
My first few full body workouts were surprisingly difficult, as I wasn’t used to them. The one that stands out the most was completing a tri set of Chin-Ups, Clean Grip Reverse Lunges, and Military Presses. After a few sets of these, I paused and thought “How the hell is this not considered cardio?!” I then wiped my face off, smiled, and kept going. I’ll have to research it one day.
Something that I’d like to point out is that I’ve really enjoyed increasing the number of deadlift variations that I’ve been using. It may be nothing more than mental stimulus, but I’ve discovered some creative methods to change the way I pick things up and put them down. In addition to the ‘basic’ trap bar, sumo stance, and traditional stance deadlifts, I’ve been playing around with stiff legged/Romanian versions of the above, deadlifts with 1.5 reps, deadlifts against bands, and a modified Reeves deadlift using a 5′ Olympic bar, which may be my favorite. Expect videos of some of these soon.
I don’t think that there’s a single person in the world that hasn’t sprinted then said “Yea, that’s awesome!” between slowing down and finding a garbage can. I’ve always been a fan of sprinting, and did a good job of sprinting more after seeing Martin Rooney’s awesome presentation at Perform Better this summer. Unfortunately, it was something that didn’t last that long, but I’m having a second go at it. I’ve been sprinting at least twice per week for the past 4 weeks, and it’s making a huge difference. I’ve heard from plenty of coaches that sprinting is one of the best exercises you can use. The research supports this recommendation for sprint training. For practically every fitness and performance goal you may have, sprinting is the answer. Since I’ve been working out at school during the week, I take advantage of the 3-lane indoor track on campus. It’s rather short, requiring 9.5 laps to complete a mile, and this makes long distance sprints difficult. It’s nearly impossible to make the turns without clipping the railing or colliding with the wall. What the short track does set you up for is some pretty damn fast wind sprints. If you’re used to running windsprints on a 400m track, doing the same on a 160m track’s a different story. The work/rest ratios go by much quicker, and the straight away to be sprinted is just over 40 yards. Honestly, who doesn’t love running 40’s? That’s just cool.
I’ve tried to finish each of my workouts on campus with some amount of sprints, and have really enjoyed it. On occasion, when I don’t have any company, I’ll throw my TRX up on an I-beam to include some row and push-up variations between the sprints. My favorite part about sprinting is that it doesn’t require any equipment. You just find open space and go. There really isn’t an excuse for not doing it.
Full body workouts, extra sprinting, and some more variety has made a noticeable difference in the past month, and I’ve found myself stronger, leaner, and just feeling better. In our performance and aesthetic driven world, I’m the most proud of the fact that I don’t feel like a worn down old man with beat up joints all the time. I think that in a few years, a lot of fitness fanatics are going to be backing down off of their proverbial high horses.
Enough with my training updates for now. I’ll include some more videos of what’s going on in future posts, and keep you updated. Next time, we’ll talk about cooler things, including pretty girls, Harry Potter, and my thoughts on dancing.