I recently spent some time chatting with an old friend and roommate and the conversation got around to working out and the gym. He knew I have been fairly active and into fitness from way back and asked me what I’m currently doing to stave off ‘middle age’ ‘hood. He’s started going to check out some CrossFit classes and gyms. I was very encouraging and let him know that that is a good start. Heck, just walking 30 minutes a day will have marked benefits for anyone; especially those who currently do no real exercise now. He was very excited to get back into weight training (CrossFit and such) because he hasn’t done anything like that since his military service days and asked about my opinions, recommendations and what I’m doing now. And if I’d send him over my current routine. I told him I would, but I had to preface that with the fact that where I’m at has taken a little while to get to. But he could take my routine, cut down weight amounts and add some other/different excises to make it his own. Remember that as long as you do anything more than you’re doing now you’ll see benefits. I recommended he start with CrossFit classes but be careful to not over exert himself and choose his trainers/gym very carefully. But he wanted details, specifics and some of my reasoning leading to my opinions and observations.
Nearly everyone is looking for that magic pill, diet or routine that will ‘instantly’ get them fit, thin and healthily with NO WORK, SACRAFICE OR EFFORT. Guess what? No shakes, no juicing, no ‘super routine’, no pills, no machine will do that! ONLY CONSISTANT, DISCIPLINED ACTION USING PROVEN TECHNIQUES AND GOOD DIET WILL! PERIOD.
So, this is what I’ve been doing for months now to get back in top form. My strength is increasing as is my endurance strength (power over time). I’ve got some pretty bad lingering injuries that will require surgery(shoulders), probably this year, but I’m working on keeping the stresses and motions from furthering those through exercise selections and proper form. And at the same time I’m working to build supporting tissues in preparation of anticipated recovery therapies.
Here is my current routines:
I use a modified 5 X 5 lifting routine to achieve strength improvements and endurance. I lift at a given weight and over a few weeks or month and as I improve I shorten the rest period between sets.
Then I’ll go up small amount in weight every few months or so and lengthen rest; then shorten as strength increases. Rinse repeat.
I lift with high intensity and move between exercises and reps fairly quickly.
This method has been used AND proven effective for decades! Reg Park (being one of the most famous advocates long ago) and many professional (especially current MMA practitioners) and Olympic athletes use these methods. I also incorporate Tabata / HIIT work into my cardio for a real power and a good heart blast.
It’s been decades since I’ve been in the ring and haven’t sparred much in a while, but I still practice loads of techniques and do bag work in addition to my lifting and cardio. I have had plenty of real world (street and field) experiences that have proved my skills and saved my life. A few close friends and family can corroborate (or provide alibis) as needed.
Some background on my philosophy and some opinions for those that asked and reasoning for my methods:
As for the current CrossFit rage I have a few opinions. [Like any opinion many will agree and disagree. I don’t care, I’m not debating a point simply stating my view and how I arrived at it and how I use my methods. My buddy, and you too, if you’re reading this for that matter don’t have to agree or do anything.] The trademark name CrossFit arose out of many cross training workouts already used by elite athletes (and armed forces) for decades that were then updated and ‘codified’ into a fantastic movement by Greg Glassman. He got smart and trademarked and marketed the sh&t out of it. Bully for him! It’s freaking capitalism at it’s best! [damn, wish I thought of it!]. CrossFit’s basic philosophy is very sound: …"it’s a strength and conditioning program as “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad modal and time domains," with the stated goal of improving fitness, which it defines as "work capacity across broad time and modal domains."
First, I believe that CrossFit has done more to bring true all around physical fitness – strength, power and endurance to the masses than anything in the last decade or longer! It has been the greatest introduction to having real body strength and endurance to those who might otherwise have scoffed at power lifting and ‘extreme cross training’ and the benefits of both.
Second, for someone trying to lose weight quickly and get into shape or a novice physical fitness person, CrossFit provides a great all around routine to quickly get in shape, gain some real useable strength and endurance.
Third, the benefit of having other people to workout with you and provide for encouragement and motivation can be a huge plus. Especially beginners.
Fourth, the other side…. As a guy who’s been heavily involved in physical fitness and athletic performance for nearly all my life, I worry that too many people who’ve never been fit ever, are beginning ‘extreme’ routines without having built up any underlying strength in their tendons, ligaments and bones. And then there are some not too well trained ‘trainers’ who do not know proper (read SAFE) lifting form, pushing novices way beyond their limits. Many new practitioners get ‘motivated’ to just hammer out a ‘WOD’ (workout of the day) with as heavy as weights and short as time possible without caring for proper form or safety. For a novice, safety should be the main concern so technique (form if you will) is the MOST important thing when doing compound lifting exercises. Many, out of hast lift poorly or worse dangerously, jump while too fatigues or otherwise hurt themselves because of poor attention to safety. This can be attested to by emergency room physicians seeing loads more cases of blown knees, broken wrists and wrenched backs. A very well trained trainer is a must.
Please, don’t get me wrong, I love CrossFit for bringing real training to the masses. I hope that more people get involved and see how much a difference proper weight training along with cardio and sports specific training can improve one’s health and lifestyle. CrossFit can be an HUGE asset to any regular training regime for whatever sport or goals you wish to achieve. And I highly encourage all to add it to your overall routines.
And as a buy who’s been in the E.R and had way more surgeries on broken/torn/ripped body parts than most, I surely know the dangers involved in pushing things to the limit. [Although I don’t think I got the limit switch myself. ]
I have always incorporated cross training into my physical fitness; whether it be interval speed drills, table jumping, mountain climbing, motocross, mountain biking, swimming, fighting/sparring, wrestling (jiujitsu etc.). Strength training/lifting with High Intensity Interval Training, is by far the best way to improve all around physical fitness and sports performance. BUT I train to do those things and not the other way around.
So, below a link to my current routine. [Reason for the link to the document is it changes as I add remove and improve. ]