Training Rhythm May 6, 2024

Do you have a family and a job? One of the problems of handling the demands of life is the time constraint. You want to work out but it's hard to fit it in. One way to build and maintain the habit is to establish a training rhythm. This is the simple way of saying, "Just show up with some specified frequency." You might not be able to do an hour or even a half hour of training. That's ok. But you need the space holder in your schedule so you can build to full or longer sessions.

What does this look like in practice? If you go to an off site gym to work out, then go there twice a week at 6AM. Do what you can when you're there. If you've got a program then warm up, do some mobility drills, begin ramping up to your top weights or exercises to fill that 30 minutes you have available. Or if you're winging it without a program, then walk the treadmill or ride the bike for a few minutes. At the least, walk into the gym, walk around the gym, and then go home. But show up.

Here are some other things to help build the rhythm...

1) Get a training partner to answer

2) Train at home in your garage (the commute is shorter and you have one less excuse)

3) Use a written program with the dates on each session

Losing And Gaining Weight Quickly : Some Thoughts April 7, 2024

In losing or gaining weight quickly, there are some things to consider. 

1) Your set point

2) How fast

First, let's look at your set point. The general rule of thumb is that the weight you've held for a year is what you will gravitate towards - so you're fighting nature here. Once you've attained a certain weight you have to hold that weight through new habits (that is your mindset, training, diet, and sleep) for another year to get that semi permanent. Of course there is a limit to this and you do have to continue to maintain those habits if this new weight is far out of your normal physiological range. Meaning, if you're big to begin with, like over six foot and over two hundred pounds lean, then getting to 160 and staying there might be a bit of a challenge. No, this is not an excuse to keep excess body fat. I'm just saying you have to eat and train for the composition and weight you want to be.

Second, let's look at how fast you're trying to gain or lose. If it took you 20 years of eating and abusing yourself to get overweight and beyond healthy composition, it will take you more than a few months to regain your best composition. Also, consider that you can yo-yo your weight easily, but if you want to get to and maintain a specific weight, you need to establish habits that you will be able to keep over time. Meaning, if you want to lose a bunch of weight, you need to sustain the right changes to stay there. Another aspect of losing or gaining weight quickly is your diet. Part of weight control is balancing your macronutrients - fat, protein, carbohydrates. When determining your diet consider your food sources. If you eat a lot of animal then you're going to get more fat so you need to compensate with more carbs from elsewhere. If you eat a lot of vegetable then you're going to get more carbs so you need to compensate with protein from elsewhere.

Another aspect of weight gain/loss with speed is how your composition will change. In general, if you try to gain weight quickly you will gain fat. If you try to lose weight quickly you are likely to lose muscle. You must adjust your training and your diet to account for this possibility.

Let me this all together in a real life example. I've been 185-190 pounds, 12-15% body fat for years. If I want to change that, I'm going to have to sustain the habits for a very long time. If I just want to fatten up or lean out for a few weeks, I can do that easily but I will return to 185 semi lean quickly. In 2011, I got up to 228 pounds while powerlifting. I gained that weight (from steady at 206 for over a year) in about two months of eating calorie dense food and sleeping a lot. Most of that weight I gained was water and fat. I was at that weight for a few more months (and unhealthy) but was not putting in the effort to stay there (meaning I stopped eating like a horse). I was slowly losing weight. I wanted to lose all that extra weight and get to 200 (not 206, still too fluffy) and that took about four months of eating clean Paleo and changing my training to include more variety and endurance methods.

Don't expect miracles, eat for the weight you want to be, sustain the healthy habits.