MENTAL AND PHYSICAL CHALLENGES, AND A CHANGE IN PLANS
When I signed up to do the Brooklyn Half, my body felt great. But the moment I started training runs, my hip started giving me trouble. So I stopped running, but continued my strength training: a 6-day-a-week barbell and kettlebell training program starting 2 months out from the Brooklyn Half. I never missed a workout.
My friend Passa had followed a strict half marathon program along with our weight training, so I determined I would get to the park entrance with her, and then let her go. At mile three, we entered the park and I still felt pretty good. Not wanting to suffer the long, steep, s-o-b of a hill halfway through the park alone, I decided to stick with Passa a little longer, until we exited the park.
The rise of set, intentionally-constructed obstacle courses would largely have to wait until the 19th century. In Europe, this period saw a significant upswing of interest in physical fitness, which rose in tandem with feelings of nationalism that were surging in the continent’s respective countries. Frequent wars had shown nations like France, Britain, and Germany the necessity of keeping their peoples in fighting shape. Various schools of thought developed as to how best to do that, but most focused on gymnastics and functional exercises: running, calisthenics, jumping, climbing ropes, and using equipment like rings, the pommel horse, and parallel bars.
Apparently Healthy but Deconditioned Individuals
So what happens to the body when physical activity comes to a grinding halt?
People, be they elite athletes or regular gym-goers, get injured, take extended fitness breaks, or simply lose interest. Exercise physiologists refer to such people as “apparently healthy but deconditioned individuals,” and the effects of detraining are profound, to say the least—but it largely depends on the person’s initial fitness level. As Pino explained to me: “The fitter you are, the harder you fall.”
It’s a sentiment mirrored by Bergdahl, who says an athlete’s fitness drops faster the fitter they are.
The secret lies in leveling up.
Like a video game, the way to changing your health habits is by starting out at the first level, and only going to the next level after you’ve beaten the one before that. The problem is that most people start at Level 10 and fail, and wonder what happened. Most of us want to skip several levels, but we’re just not ready.
So the secret is to start at Level 1, and only advance once you’re done with that level. One level at a time, you’ll master the game of losing weight and getting healthy.
Here’s my guide to leveling up.
Typewriter Pull-up. Grab the bar with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up until your sternum is at the bar. Now, move your body toward one hand, taking some of the weight off the opposite hand. Keep your sternum at the bar. Return your body to the center and repeat on the opposite side. Return to the center and lower your body under control. That is one rep.
This is a huge victory for me, believe me. I don’t usually keep a good fitness routine while traveling — I try, but it’s never as good as when I’m home. This trip has been a big change for me, and today I’d like to share what has worked.
Here are 6 things I’ve been doing that have worked for me:
I keep the workout short and minimal. Every day, I alternate about 10 minutes of writing with my exercise for the day — either pushups or bodyweight squats. Just one bodyweight exercise, probably 4-6 sets (not including warmup sets) of as many as I can do. That’s it. But even with that minimal exercise, I’ve increased strength in those exercises and I feel that it’s been working fairly well. And because the workout is so simple, it’s hard to say no to it. But that’s not all I do for the day! More below.
When we did a survey last year asking readers what subjects they’d like to see AoM cover, one of the requests that popped up a few times was more beginner fitness articles. We get it — it can be intimidating to watch our YouTube videos with Mark Rippetoe and read articles about intense kettlebell training. If you’re out of shape and haven’t worked out for a long time, how do you narrow that gap between where you are now and deadlifting hundreds of pounds — or heck, simply getting a bit more fit for the sake of your well-being?
I asked myself that very question a few months ago. I can run a few miles and do a good number of push-ups, but the reality is that I could stand to lose a little bit of belly fat and get in better shape. It’s easy to be motivated when you live in Colorado — almost everyone around me is running marathons and hiking 14ers every weekend.
I recall the vivid example of Japanese athlete Chuhei Nambu who, in preparation for the Olympic games, throughout the day, in addition to the main practice, used every free minute for making springy hops and jumps—walking to school, on the way home, standing around with friends, etc. This helped him to set the world long jump record. Much later, in a personal conversation, he told me that all this had really helped him to turn his legs into, as he put it, “steel springs”. When I asked him, had not he got tired from such a multitude of jumps, he replied no, explaining that between each 5-10min session of jump exercise there were long breaks, sufficient for restoration. You see, this is the essence of effective fragmentation of training sessions—sufficient restoration between them.
via Jump! | StrongFirst.
you are one of those sincere people who read all manner of training articles and get motivated from one thing to the other (program, system, product, tool, guru, etc.) and, yet, surprisingly fail to progress much in any of them, then this article is for you.
So what is it that’s getting in the way? Consider the 10 possibilities below.
1. NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES
2. BREATHING PROBLEMS
But I bought this luxury. My body is the most expensive thing I own.
I spend $70 per month for my gym membership, which works out to $840 per year. I understand that you can choose to run outside and do bodyweight exercises at home, but I can’t have the body I want without a full weight room. Most women don’t realize there’s a major short-cut to the body they want: lifting heavy weights. The answer to being ultra-fit isn’t hours of cardio and knee push-ups, it’s doing squats with a barbell loaded up until it weighs more than you do.
I burn through 1 pair of shoes per year plus regularly purchase fitness apparel. This probably costs $500 per year. And then there’s my food. So much food and nutritional supplements. Together my fiancé and I spend about $600 per month on groceries, which is a lot for 2 people. I imagine the bill would be closer to $400 if we didn’t consume 2 chicken breasts each, every single day. I’ve outlined what a weight-lifting diet on a budget looks like, and it’s still not cheap, but it’s worth its price tag.