Thursday Thoughts: There Is No ‘One True Way’

Anywhere you go on the internet, you’re bound to come across people who will tell you that there is One True Way to whatever your goals are, that you have to follow their routine precisely or else you might as well just pull into McDonald’s and gorge yourself.

The thing is, I’m someone who delves into things deeply when I get interested in them. I become something of a sponge, absorbing all the information I can find. With fitness, it’s been no different.

Over time, things change, and so even if I forgo fitness for a while, I still come back and delve in deep. I need to see what’s changed, what new information has science provided.

Because of that, I’ve learned one really great lesson about health and fitness: There is no One True Way.

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Lack Of Motivation

One of the good things about training at home is that I can train pretty much whenever I want to. I’m not beholden to anyone or anything. If I wake up at three in the morning and want to lift, I can do that. There’s literally nothing to stop me from doing so. It’s pretty damn awesome.

Unfortunately, the downside is that it becomes easy to procrastinate because you can always do it later.

Because of that, it’s really easy to lose motivation, and that’s something I haven’t had for a couple of weeks now.

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Optimal Versus Sustainable: Why Different Approaches Should Be Considered

Over the weekend, I was watching as Joe Rogan interviewed Dr. Layne Norton and Dr. Dom D’Agostino. Both Norton and D’Agostino have their Ph.D. in nutrition, though they advocate for very different lifestyles.

D’Agostino is a ketogenic diet proponent while Norton is, like me, a fan of flexible dieting.

As Norton was discussing diets, one thing he kept harping on was that a diet had to be sustainable over the long term.

Rogan, who is known primarily as a comedian but actually has a background in martial arts first and foremost, began asking if the need for a “sustainable” diet was really just an issue of discipline. I get why Rogan asks that, too. As a lifelong fighter, Rogan is nothing, if not disciplined. He trained and competed for years before ever pursuing comedy. He’s disciplined, so he doesn’t get how someone can have difficulty with someone if they’re disciplined.

However, that got me to thinking about how I would address this argument. You see because I happen to agree that the sustainability of a diet or exercise program is the most important variable.

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Those Days When You Just Don’t Feel Like Training

Not every day is going to be filled with motivation. You’re not always going to feel like lifting heavy weights and getting all sweaty.

I know. I had one of those days today. I was feeling down for no really good reason and just didn’t want to do much of anything. I just felt like I wanted to crawl back in bed and take a good, long nap.

So what do you do when you just don’t feel it?

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Early Thoughts On Giant Sets For Conditioning

As noted over the weekend, I was going to try and do a little something to not just keep my workouts from running long, but also to provide some conditioning work.

That was to do giant sets for my accessory movements.

So far, as of this writing, I’ve gotten precisely two sessions done with giant sets, so what follows are some very preliminary thoughts on the topic of giant sets and their role in conditioning.

First, let’s talk about what giant sets are for anyone reading who is unfamiliar.

A giant set is basically going between three or more exercises one right after the other as part of one giant…well…set. (just two exercises is called a “superset.”) For example, you can go from chin-ups to Romanian deadlifts to dumbbell rows, for example. You do those, then you get to take a rest.

For the uninitiated, they don’t sound like much. I mean, it’s the same work you were going to do, right?

In practice, though, they will kick. Your. Ass.

There’s really no other way to put it. If you’re deconditioned, they will make you hate life in ways you may well have never experienced. Further, it’s not the kind of conditioning that’s notorious for interfering with your strength/muscular increases. At least, that’s the theory.

The truth is, giant sets are conditioning. They’re conditioning that is slammed into your normal training, though, so it’s easy to forget about them as you look at your program.

What we need to ask ourselves is, are giant sets sufficient?

Looking at it from where I currently stand, I’m going to say “maybe.” Especially in conjunction with the light lifts for time in the new program.

Right now, giant sets provide all the conditioning work I can probably stand. It’s kicking my butt right now and I’m not sure additional conditioning would be beneficial. In fact, more conditioning work might be counterproductive. After all, I’m already going to be doing a version of high-intensity interval training four times per week.

But that’s right now.

Over time, your body adapts to stuff. It adapts to things and becomes more efficient at it, thereby negating the benefits of what you’re doing. That’s why just running two miles a day stops being beneficial after a short time.

I can easily see giant sets hitting that same point.

Yeah, you’re adding weight and all that, and you can reduce your rest time, but at some point, you’re just not getting much more in the way of conditioning. Do giant sets still condition you?

My thinking is that they do, but they will no longer be sufficient to do more than maintain your current level of conditioning.

So what then?

Honestly, I don’t know. I’ll probably add in some jump rope training and maybe some plyometrics into the mix, as well as potentially adding some kettlebell swings into the routine.

But that’s a ways down the road. Several weeks at a minimum.

For now, I think this will do the trick nicely.

When you start trying to get conditioned, you need to start relatively slow. You don’t go from your couch to running a marathon by starting off with five-mile runs. You run a bit, then expand what you’re able to do.

For me, giant sets are just that. They’re conditioning for now. Then, I’ll add more as I need to.

The truth is, I will likely never be satisfied with my conditioning. I will always want more, pretty much because I look at conditioning as I do ammo.

What I mean by that is that no one ever survived a gunfight and said, “I wish I’d carried less ammo.” On the same token, no one ever thinks they have too much conditioning.

My goal is to have sufficient conditioning and strength where I don’t have to wonder if I have enough of either.

No, I won’t get there purely with giant sets, but I do see them as a good start. If not, then I can step back and try something else. That’s the great thing about training. If something doesn’t work, you can adjust fire and do something different.

For me, though, I’m confident that giant sets are a huge leap forward for me and my training.

Training To Be A Badass Can’t Be Your Whole Life

Yesterday, over at Bearing Arms where most supposedly self-defense focus training falls down, I laid out my thoughts on. Admittedly, I have to go on anecdotal information about training since it’s not humanly possible for me to train with everyone.

Now, I might well be judging those trainers too hard. Most are providing a service and all that and they’re providing exactly what their customers want. The problem is with we, the consumers of said training.

What I laid out in that post, however, covers a whole lot of ground. There’s a lot of things to learn and train in. After all, between firearms training, hand-to-hand training, and physical training, you’re looking at hours upon hours per day potentially, all geared toward making you an uber-badass.

The thing is, you have a life. You may have a family. You probably should have either a job, school, or both. You have a whole lot going on. Continue reading “Training To Be A Badass Can’t Be Your Whole Life”