The first week of any new training regimen is the best, and the worst. It’s new, exciting, and anything new comes with quick results as a body scrambles to adapt to the new stresses. I find that is especially true with high-intensity training. It will kick your butt. I mean, really kick your butt. There are no easy days with high-intensity training. The better shape you get into, the harder you can go. It’s an all or nothing sort of approach to training, but it’s not something I like to dive right into. I took last week to prepare my body and mind for the onslaught that begins today and will last for the next six weeks.
The options with this kind of training are almost infinite. I have laid out a plan for myself considering my specific fitness goals as well as known limitations or areas that require extra attention.
As an ex-powerlifter, I am not concerned with gaining more strength. At 5’10” and 230 lbs I am not interested in getting any bigger. At 58 years of age, my goals are to improve my muscular and cardiovascular endurance, my speed and reaction time, my muscular acceleration under load, my agility, flexibility, and muscle tone. I don’t want to be shredded, but I could drop a little body fat. I have enough old injuries to last me a lifetime so improving joint integrity and stability is also key. Food loves me, so I want to burn as many calories as possible when I train. I don’t believe in restricting calories to burn body fat. I prefer to feed my body all the fuel it needs, so it’s more efficient and operating at optimum levels metabolically. Then I make it do enough work to reduce body fat over a reasonable time frame working with my body and not against it.
Seven days ago I kicked off my new routine with a week of training to prepare for the next six weeks of high-intensity training. I was in the gym every day for about 30 minutes each workout. I never stopped moving during these workouts; I was always doing something. I used a stopwatch to time my intervals then pushed myself to do as much as I could do during each interval.
I never did the same two workouts in a row. My body will adapt to anything I throw at it so if the work is changing all the time my body never stops adapting. Adapt means getting stronger, faster, more flexible, greater endurance, faster recovery – in short, it means progress in all of the areas I want to improve.
The biggest challenge this week, however, was not physical, it was mental. I had gotten used to doing eight reps, grunting extra hard for the last two then gawking at myself in the mirror for five minutes as I languished between sets with the rest of the herd.
The workouts were boring, and my body never changed. This past week was a huge change. I had to push myself with no rest, so my heart rate was constantly elevated. I had no endurance at all. I was short of breath, and my muscles were on fire the whole time. When I am not used to that level of distress and discomfort my brain constantly tries to convince me to quit and get comfortable. Consequently, I spent the first few workouts arguing with myself about quitting rather than focus on slaying the workout.
By Thursday I had grown a pair and got down to business. On Saturday I was doing what seemed impossible the Sunday before and I felt ready to rock and roll full speed on the program this coming week.
Training is only one aspect of this mission. Eating and recovering is just as important as what happens in the gym. I have adjusted my schedule to get at least 8 hours a night and a short nap during the day if needed. We work twelve hours or more a day so having enough food ready and convenient is an obstacle. Today Ana and I pre-cooked what we felt we would need for the week, and it’s all ready to be warmed up and devoured in a moments notice. We have included plenty of antioxidant foods as well as anti-inflammatory foods and a multi-mineral multi-vitamin.
I will be keeping a daily diary of my workouts and will be posting then daily on this site in case you are interested. Understand I have been an elite trainer for over 35 years and I have designed this program specifically for my level of health, fitness, strength, my lifestyle, my level of intensity when I train, and so on. I don’t recommend anyone follow it as your needs, limitations, abilities, etc. will not be the same as mine.
It’s going to be a great week, and when its over I will be much closer to my goals than I am today, more the week after. It won’t be easy. In fact it will be some of the hardest training I have done in a very long time. I can’t wait to embrace the suck, push past the difficult so I can get to the impossible and kicks its ass.
I’ll see you on the other side.
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