Dave Goes Barbarian: Training Philosophy

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This is the second post by Dave Pascoe where he talks about his own journey down the Barbarian rabbit hole.

Fellow Barbarians! Hearken now to tales of High Adve-

Y’know, I really need to shelve that sckaldic declamation stuff for a while. It’s actually hard to think in. Still, pull up a chunk of sod or log bench, hoist a tankard, and get comfy by the fire. We got some talkin’ to do.

Last week, I mentioned that I’m approaching official Middle Age™ in the not exactly distant future. I am determined to be fit enough to hike or fight my kids into the ground (I mean, not now. Wee Dave isn’t yet five. It wouldn’t be a fair contest) and my eventual grandkids, as well. Maybe even some great-grands, somewhere along the way, too. A large part of my motivation formed watching my own grandfather neglect his body for more or less my entire life. By the time he died, he could barely stand unaided, and it about broke my heart, remembering him from when I was small. His medications caused complications that required still more medication, or outright fought with his other physical issues.

That will not be my fate.

Motivation is good. I like motivation. When I’m feeling it, I get a lot done. But motivation is transitory (which vexes me no small amount). When motivation flags, though, what do you have to fall back on? Habit, and routine. These are things you should build. They’re things I fully intend on rebuilding. Last year, I started lifting, using the Starting Strength Novice Linear Progression. I wasn’t then, and am not now, a true novice. I’ve trained lifts for a long time. And I had momentum going. For a while. Then life interfered, as it often seems to. For most of the guys who are deadicated meatheads, gym rats, lifters, this is their Thing. This is the core piece of their identity, what they turn to when there’s spare time. For me, it’s just not.

I also mentioned CrossFit. I spent several years engaged in the Crossing of Fit, to one degree or another. At the peak, I was attending classes five or six days each week. At that point, I was pretty lean, but not building hardly any strength. On the of the guiding principles of CrossFit is the concept of constant variation. Which is awesome, provided you’re also doing all the other pieces that need to feed that drive. Looking back, I wasn’t feeding me enough to feed that, so I wasn’t gaining much. And recovery is an issue. I felt like I spent my time in a fog. Not sustainable.

And that’s what I’m aiming for with revamping my training regimen: sustainability. I need a routine that works my body in such a way that I am fit and capable, as well as strong. I need to be able to use my mind afterward, which CrossFit isn’t great at. You push so hard all the time that your body is completely taxed all the time. And unless you’re eighteen or so, recovery is an enormous issue, and usually a neglected one.

So Dave, I hear you ask, what’s your training philosophy? Training needs to be difficult enough to present a challenge, fulfilling, sustainable, and fun. I need to be able to maintain training anywhere I go, with what gear I have available, more or less regardless of what curves life throws me. Simple, right? Well, it hasn’t proven so. But I haven’t laid that out for myself before, either.

I’m mightily ashamed to admit that I have done almost jack since I spoke with you last. I managed an entire set of push-ups, and that was almost a throw-away gesture toward “no, really: I’m actually getting back into this.” But y’know what? I can do push-ups. And I’m going to get to where I can do pull-ups. And I’m going to lift. I’ll get back at it, tomorrow, and I’ll speak with you again soon.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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