As part of my job, due to the online circles I tend to move in, and within my friendship group, I end up discussing health and fitness a LOT. To say it borders on an obsession would not be overstating things. I don't see these conversations as work in a lot of cases, because I'm discussing things I'm truly passionate about and have a deep interest in learning more about. A common theme these conversations seem to have with people of a more recreational or occasional relationship with fitness tends to be the extreme nature of my training. This is not something I write casually after one or two recent chats, rather it is the very reason for starting this blog. You see, for pretty much anyone who is in good health, and has been training for a couple of years or more, what I do is far from extreme. In fact, I practice almost entirely what I preach - excluding the times where I give into my weak, human side, and the crazy challenges I take on, but more on those in a moment - both in regards to training, and nutrition. My goal is that it's practical, easily fits into a busy life, is on the whole enjoyable, and gives me the results I seek; increased fitness, reduced risk and experience of injury and measurable performance.
What I do, which I believe many people come to see as extreme, is maximise my workouts. By this I mean a few things; I include a very broad range of movements in my training, I often use high intensity, I deliberately take on high-skill movements, I squeeze 10-20 minute short bursts of work in, I move on "rest" days and throw in stretches, challenges or skill work in the moments it takes to run a bath, or breaks from typing on the screen of death. I don't weigh or measure food, and my recipes, if one could call them that, ordinarily take 10-15 minutes to cook, use a single pan, and consist of merely heating food up. My training takes an hour per day, very occasionally longer, 6 or 7 days most weeks. My food shopping and preparation is an hour per week. I don't consider this extreme in any sense, rather efficient. It's my belief though, that largely through the over-commercialisation of the fitness (most of which has nothing to do with fitness at all, but that's a whole other post) industry to market unnecessary machines, devices, gadgets and supplements to the general public, that what I do looks odd to the uninformed. This effect is compounded by the plethora of fitness influencers and even so-called experts that plague social and conventional media platforms alike, where the emphasis is far more on appealing to the demographic of the platform for popularity, reach and ultimately sales, rather than informing them.
All of my misgivings about the industry aside, if I strip back what I do to a set of principles, hopefully, it will demonstrate that what I do, while some of it may look complicated, is in fact very simple. This list is not designed to be exhaustive, nor have I formalised it in any doctrine, it is simply supposed to be illustrative for the purposes of this blog.
Strength Train 3-4 Times per week, at least once for the lower body (squats), once for the lower body/back (pulls) and once for the upper body. Strength is a wide-ranging physical quality, and can be trained many ways.
Include short-range, mid-range, and long-range movements in sequence, in most sessions.
Add intensity 3-4 times per week. On average once per week, go all-in.
Use supersets (or tri-sets) for opposing movement patterns. Think pull-up versus push-up or kettlebell swing versus hanging leg raise.
Train full-body movements for strength and intensity, with a focus on smaller movements for injury prevention, skill development or the development of weaknesses.
Train across different time domains.
Use, and therefore become proficient with, many different implements.
Use load, leverage or tension to train mobility.
Balance things I like, things I'm good at with things I don't like so much, and things I suck at.
Use CrossFit's principles and teachings as the template for my training, add ATG principles for injury prevention and balance, and bias towards anything crazy that I fancy doing.
So what about those crazy challenges that I do? Well, the main reason I do them is because I want to. I wasn't always in shape, and I didn't always have the physical capacity to achieve the things that I want to. Now I have more capacity, I want to use it while I have it, and to pay homage to the work I have done to get it. But more than that, I have always been laughed at, questioned derisively and sneered at for the way I approach training. I like to demonstrate that by following little more than a training plan built to optimise life, you can achieve what most people regard as incredible. Why? I believe that historically, humans were on average capable of feats that today are reserved for the top 1-2%. Put another way, I believe that my achievements stand out not because they are impressive, but because the bar has gradually dropped. I believe in the early 1900s, my fitness would have been barely above average, general health, medical advances, and progress in equipment, clothing, facilities and training methods all taken into account. All in all, this blog is about regaining our ancestral physical freedom, a freedom that used to be the norm, but now is a triumph over the manifold trip hazards we encounter every day of our lives.
Onto today, I trained at about 11:30am.
Run 10km at an easy pace, with a 9kg weight vest. Every 2km, perform 20 push-ups.
A great run over the Chase, with some good hills, and plenty of mud. This felt great and the weather was perfect for it! The odd gusty headwind and steep climb made me work a little, but overall I held a relaxed pace and focused on nasal breathing.
Just old faithful again! Click to buy, use TH5 to save!
I ate breakfast at 8:30 am. I had 6 large eggs, scrambled, 3 rashers of bacon and a handful of berries.
At 1pm I had a protein cookie and a Grenade bar. This was an error in planning, and shouldn't have happened.
At 4:30pm I had roast beef on top of a large jacket sweet potato, all topped with cheese.
I'll likely eat again at around 8pm. I'm having a fillet steak, followed by fruit, yoghurt and honey.
Today was fun, and it was nice to have an extra 30 minutes to write down some more of my thoughts, that I hope you find value in. If you read this and find it of value, why not share it in your Instagram story, or on Facebook, and use the GIFs available for Physical Freedom? Just type THT in the GIF search bar to add one! Remember, you can add links to your Instagram stories now too!