Matt,My report on the last 6 weeks.I've worked hard at changing what I eat. I snack on walnuts and fresh fruit, and forego sandwiches at lunch for salads and fish (on most days). Dinner is whatever the wife makes (which on most days is well balanced). I don't bother counting calories. I am just focusing on eating better, and think the change in diet and increased activity will be enough in the long-run. As for an exercise routine, I have been doing a lot of experimenting. Your posts have been very helpful here. You discuss quite a few exercises I had never heard of, providing plenty to research, which usually expands into a entirely new area of fitness for me (example, muscle-ups).My favorite from your catalog is the Bulgarian Training Bag. Your dyi version was very cool, but I opted to meet with Greg Maurer at the Hockessin Athletic Club to get a hold of the original design. I dug it, and ordered one for my own (26 lbs.). This thing kills me in less than 20 minutes.My current routine is:D1 (Saturday) - Run/walk Alapocos Run. Can't run the whole thing yet so I do what I can and walk the rest. I change this up freely with uphill sprints, which are brutal on this trail. Appreciate your thoughts on running more than 400m and think this is a fair compromise. I enjoyed running distance in the past, and would like to regain that experience eventually.D2 (Monday) - Gym: squats 3x15 with in between sets of pull-ups; bench press3x15 (both squats and bench turn out to be 2x15 with muscle failure on the last set, once I get to ten reps on the last set I bump-up the weight. I am leaving weight off here because it’s a little embarrassing, give me some time).D3 (Tuesday or Wednesday) - 30 minutes w/BagD4 (Thursday or Friday) - 30 minutes w/BagI'd like to change this up to include another day at the gym, but it will have to wait until after July 9. My Bag days are work-out at home days. I plan to incorporate pull-ups, some ab work, and other body-weight exercises on these days, but haven't gotten around to hanging a pull-up bar. All in good time. Overall, I am feeling much better and am 12 lbs lighter than the last time I emailed you. Weight loss is not a huge priority for me, but it is a favorable metric right now so I'll use it.Still working on defining goals, and still thinking about how to change-up my weight-lifting routine when the time comes. You do a lot of Olympic style lifts that I understand are best for strength building. But I would need to invest the time to learn them and develop good form. On my own that could be challenging. That's a few months down the road though. As always, thoughts, comments and criticism are welcome.Talk to you soon,
Cuba Gooding Jr
Thanks for the update, Cuba, its great to hear how well you're progressing. The beauty of your situation is that at one time, you were in the military and fit, by general standards. Therefore, your body recognizes that and it is easier to get back to that state of well being than it would be for someone who was never there before. And still, because of your fitness hiatus, you are training as a beginner. When beginners train, every single thing they do works, unfortunately, it will not work forever. Our bodies adapt to everything. I choose to work hard on a few things at a time, then switch every 4-8 weeks before things get stale, yet I have benefitted from the gains I made while on the program. Other programs like CrossFit, for example, are constantly varied and change daily, so many people never really get to benefit from a particular exercise because they may not repeat it again for a very long time. All this depends on the programming at the particular institution, not CF in general. My primary goal is increased strength, not endurance, so I focus my energy that way. I also feel that strength will have more carry over to all facets of fitness more so than any other aspect such as flexibility (yoga lovers), endurance (runners and bikers), agility or what have you. Strength can enhance all these other attributes more so than they can enhance strength. So, one thing I like to do in a training program is perform regular maximum effort exercises. Rotate the exercises regularly. The best exercises to choose from are squats, deadlifts, presses and pulls. Add in some unilateral training and you got a great start.
Using things like the Bulgarian Training Bag are a great way to enhance your mobility, cardio and stamina, but anything you can do for more than a few seconds won't help your strength much beyond beginner levels. For a new trainee not sure where to begin, a great 2 day split to use goes something like this for the primary exercises.
Pull ups 5x submax
then whatever else you want to do that keeps you happy, this assistance work could vary greatly depending on the athletes needs.
Then trails or BTB or anything else that provides joy and excitement, see above.
This is very simple, and can be used whether you train heavy 1, 2, 3, or 4 times a week. If you train once a week, you would do workout 1 this week, then workout 2 next week. If you train heavy twice weekly, you could do W1 on Tuesday, then W2 on Friday or Saturday. Three times goes W1, W2, W1 one week, then W2, W1, W2 on week 2, rinse and repeat. Four times a week goes W1, W2, W1, W2 on something like Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri. I would even change the reps from 4-6 on Mon and Tues to 8-10 on Thurs and Fri. Beginners need not get too crazy and sexy, just add weight and reps and get really good at the basics. Then you will progress to intermediate status quicker and will only then need more detail and variety in training.
The olympic lifts are not for everyone, but with sufficient strength can be a wonderful tool for power development. I recommend seeking professional guidance when starting to incorporate the quick lifts. If you are not relatively strong, the quick lifts may be a waste of time and can be potentially dangerous. So have fun, keep asking questions and seeking out new information, I'll be here for ya.
Train to win,