Fitness for Champions
In this post, I would like to share with you some of my fitness goals for the year, as well as my philosophy on health and fitness. One of my biggest concerns with modern day society is that it is becoming widely accepted that as we hit middle age, it is perfectly acceptable for us to be on multiple medications, have clogged arteries, be overweight, and lose our strength and flexibility.
Rosie getting her kettlebell workout on!
Something that really bothered me recently was a New York Times article about Donald Trump’s health, in which they state that his arteries are very clogged, but that is ok and perfectly normal, because that is how most 71-year-olds are in America. When did we begin accepting this as the status quo?
I have been told by many that as you age, it is “normal” to gain weight, become more frail, and that is just how it is. Modern day medical society also states that as you turn 30, your muscle mass, bone density, and testosterone all start to deteriorate, slowly at first, and then quite rapidly in your 50’s and beyond. They state that the very best you can hope for is to maybe slow down this degradation.
However, recent studies, including Outside Magazine's recent article "Age is Irrelevant When It Comes to Fitness," have found that continuing intense and high interval training can not only slow down but altogether stop this aging process. In response to this, because I’m turning 30 this year, instead of becoming weaker every year, I am going to become stronger and more fit every year, up to my genetic potential. This means improvements in strength every year via the big lifts of squat, bench press, shoulder press, and deadlift, as well as improvements in VO2 max, via the ability to run farther and faster, for longer.
In addition, I am going to continue the anti-inflammatory Keto diet, and experiment with supplementation of adaptogenic herbs and medicinal mushrooms to maximize my health. To help jump start this lifestyle and get me motivated, I have signed up for a Spartan Beast Race in August in Colorado, as well as a Spartan Sprint Race in May in Colorado. Lindsay and I are also going to do the Santa Fe Half Century in May on our tandem bicycle. This Spartan Obstacle Course Race (OCR) seems like the perfect motivation for me to get into better cardiovascular shape, and concurrently build strength and endurance so that I can conquer the obstacles on race day. Basically, I want to become Batman.
In order to accomplish this, I have made myself a comprehensive training plan that balances strength and cardio, along with strong recovery activities. The typical week looks something like this:
Monday: Squats (heavy 3x5 most of the time, with occasional light 4x12)
Tuesday: Burpees (10x10, meaning 10 burpees every minute on the minute for 10 minutes)
Wednesday: Bench Press and Shoulder Press (heavy 3x5 most of the time, with occasional light 4x12)
Thursday: 10 minutes non-stop of 5 pull-ups, 10 push ups and 20 air squats, then repeat
Friday: Deadlift (heavy 3x5 most of the time, with occasional light 4x12)
Saturday: Running (alternating between long slow runs, track workouts, and hill sprints)
Sunday: Active Recovery (hiking, biking, stretching, yoga)
The plan is to do a slow progression, so that each week, when the prior week was successful, I introduce more weight and or reps into the cycle. For example, last week if I successfully did 3x5 squats at 265 pounds, then next week I will do 3x5 squats at an increased 275 pounds. In addition, each week or so, I want to move from the 10x10 burpees to an 11x11 burpees, to a 12x12, etc. until I max out at maybe 15x15.
I started this program a couple weeks ago and have completely stuck to it thus far --not missing a single day. The variety and listening to good music or podcasts while working out has kept the routine interesting! By slowly introducing more weight, more reps, more distance, more time, etc., I should be ready in time for all of my upcoming races this year!
Recovery is also critical, as I am not used to working out hard 6 days a week. The following are my keys to recovery:
Dry sauna immediately after every workout
Vibration therapy immediately after every workout
Epsom salt baths on Monday, Wednesday and sometime during the weekend
Nightly stretching routine
Supplementation with Magnesium, Ashwagandha, Creatine and Whey Protein
Working out in a fasted state in the mornings
Anti-inflammatory diet - Yay, Keto!
Inversions - I typically hold a headstand every night for a few minutes
Alternating hot and cold water during showers
Quality foods and nutrition
All of the above have been found to increase recovery. An interesting article on recovery by Kion can be found here.
That is the plan so far! I’m sure at some point some improvisation and updates will need to occur. However, by building in adequate adaptation and recovery efforts, I am hoping this plan will be a longterm recipe for success!