What is your attitude towards training and fitness?
Are you trying to get stronger for a specific competition? Are you trying to look better for beach season or are you simply trying to feel more energetic and be less winded when you play with your kids? Since everybody’s notion of fitness differ based on what they are trying to achieve, it’s important for you to decide what your goals are and develop a stance and direction on what you really want to accomplish.
Personally, I focus on a solid training routine that involves weights, HIIT, mobility, and recovery.
My workouts are typically not very structured and consist of CrossFit, calisthenics/gymnastics training and some weight lifting. I create workouts on the fly just based on how I feel that day. While it does seem a bit random, I’d like to think I have a balanced approach to fitness.
An example week of activities (days of activities overlap):
- 4 days of Crossfit WODS (work out of the day)
- 2-3 days of heavy lifts
- 2-3 days of calisthenic workouts
- 1-2 days of hiking, running, or other outdoor activities
- 5 days of mobility movements and stretches.
As I get older and away from what others consider your “prime”, it’s less about how strong my lifts are, aesthetics and beating others on the CrossFit whiteboard and more about mobility, injury prevention, and skill-based training. I still want to win, look decent and lift heavy, but it’s no longer a priority.
What I have concern for most besides getting cancer or some other diseases is to have limitations on movements in everyday life. I don’t want to be the older gentlemen who are walking extremely slow across the street with my back hunched while carrying a cane. I want to be able to get out of my car or bed and be able to walk up a few flights of stairs with ease and energy. In order to do this, I practice mobility exercises on a regular basis. This includes mobility WODs (work out of the day), daily stretches, and massaging or foam rolling areas that are tight.
An often understated but extremely important part of fitness is recovery. There is no fitness without recovery! Your muscles are tested and broken down during hard workouts and your gainz come when you are recovering and at rest. That is when your muscles heal, adapt and get stronger. That is why I try to prioritize getting good sleep. The days of bragging about how little sleep I got because of partying or “working hard” are over. You can work much more efficiently, productively and feel mentally stronger with proper sleep.
Another part of recovery is eating properly which I try to do “most” of the time. I talk more about my eating habits here.
I’ve been going to CrossFit boxes for many years now and it’s been great. The combination of Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics and functional cross training makes it so you’re rarely bored of the programming. The various ways you can test yourself physically and the community they cultivate are also reasons why I enjoy it. Where else can you do yolk carries, rope climbs, flipping or hammering tires without looking silly?
My ideal CrossFit programming is structured so you can work out every day and if necessary, scale down the workouts in weight and movements to avoid injuries. Injuries usually occur when people get too excited, overconfident, don’t practice the proper movements, or lift heavier weights than they should.
Striking a balance between pushing yourself and not going over your physical limit that day can be challenging but essential if you want to “CrossFit” long term.
CrossFit has turned working out into a sport and has integrated competition, fun and skill into something that used to be considered general cross training.
Lifting Heavy Weights
Weight training is an important part of my overall fitness. Whether you are trying to maintain or gain muscle, heavy resistance training is one of the only ways to do this. As you gain more muscle relative to fat, your resting metabolic rate increases and your body burns more calories and fat on a daily basis. While this may make it so you have to eat more every day, it also helps you maintain a healthy weight and body fat percentage.
Strength workouts can also lower all-cause mortality and studies suggests that it is just as important as aerobic exercise1
Another big part of my exercise program is calisthenics, body weight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, body weight squats and holds. You can get a great workout without using weights. You can also gain strength and balance when you advance to more difficult movements. Are push-ups too easy? Try triangle pushups. Still too easy? Try them with one arm. Here’s a video of 50 different push-up variations, all requiring different levels of skill and strength:
Changing the variation to make exercises harder or work out different muscles groups can be done for all calisthenic exercises.
Another great thing about calisthenics is you can do them almost anywhere without needing access to the gym or dumbbells.
Learning or training for a new skill or movement is a great way to stay in shape while feeling a sense of accomplishment while you advance in the progressions of the movement. An example is the handstand walk. In order to handstand walk you will need to improve your balance and build strength in your core and shoulders.
By improving your handstand walk you’re training multiple aspects of your body, including strength, balance and coordination. You also build your grit and persistence since you constantly failing, tumbling down, and putting yourself in an uncomfortable position.
Other skill based movements I am working on:
- Strict ring/bar muscle-ups
- The Front lever
- The Planche
- The Full Snatch
- One-handed push-up
- One-handed pull-up
Typical workouts include a strength portion, a high-intensity cardio work out (metcons), ending with some practice movements and mobility work. If done efficiently, this should take an hour and a half or less.
- 5×5 Heavy Deadlifts
- 5×5 Heavy Weighted Chin Ups
- 21 – 15 – 9 (sets of calories of the exercises below)
- Wall balls
- Burpee over bar
- Practice Handstand Walks
- Stretching, mobility work or foam rollout
What are you trying to accomplish with your training routine these days?