Feeling the pressure of eating ONLY rice cakes and celery?
Hating your stair-mill because you aren’t getting anywhere fast?
Well, I have the easiest solution that NOBODY is talking about, and it makes me kind of annoyed. Most of my day is spent working with hard working youth athletes who have homework, and silly exams, and deadlines, and 4 practices a day. Do you know what is different about them in comparison to you? (I mean other than the 10-20-30-40 years between you?)
Nothing. Not one single thing. We all have jobs, we try to maintain our families from imminent meltdown, eat reasonably healthy, workout, maybe train for a 5k, and not crawl to deeply into a bottle of wine or bourbon once a week. The only difference is this.
As an adult we look at sleep as OPTIONAL
As a youth, sleep is MANDATORY (Thanks parental units 1 +2!)
Sleep is where we recover, and we clean out our brain of stress, and toxins, and all of the other things that keep us from losing weight, progressing our bodies where we want, and keeps us from being rational people with generally good intentions toward other humans. ( I mean even I get cranky on a 16 hour day on the gym floor.)
If you don’t believe me take a few minutes to watch this video put together by people with PHd’s and stuff!
When you are done watching the video. If you think there is somebody who should read this article to really help them succeed with their New Year’s goals please send it along and ask them to subscribe to our newsletter for my epic material! Or better yet the CA Youtube channel where we post a new workout and training tips weekly!
The perfect push-up is an upper-body focused exercise with full-body benefits.
There are many variations, but being able to perform the standard push-up is an important ability to have in your fitness toolbox. Whether you’re fairly experienced or just starting out, you can always benefit from increasing your knowledge of the movement, and a lot of practice, practice, practice.
Here we’ll be breaking down the push-up, going over the setup, technique, and major muscles involved. There will also be ways to help you get started, and cues to help make them even better.
We’ll keep it all short, simple, and (hopefully) practical. Then, get after it. The best way to get better at push-ups…is to do push-ups!
The Setup: Position yourself on the ground with:
Arms straight, with elbows and wrists directly below or just wider than your shoulders.
Think as if you were standing up with both arms forward, and trying to push someone’s car out of your parking space.
Press your palms and fingers into the floor.
“Grip the ground”. This helps engage more muscles in your arms and shoulders, and take some of the strain off of your wrists.
Legs straight out and close together, toes down.
Head straight, so that your neck is not arched up or curved down.
Your gaze is towards the floor, just ahead of your hands.
Contract your glutes, quads, and abdominals. One way to help is take a big breath out, trying to make everything tight while doing so.
Think squeeze your cheeks, engage your legs, and tighten your abs as if Superman was about to punch you in the gut.
Now pause, hold here, and check yourself.
Your body should be in, or close to a straight line starting from your ankles, up your back, along your neck, and through the top of your head.
Your hands are engaged and gripping the ground, toes are planted, and everything in between (legs, hips, abs, shoulders) is tight and ready.
This is the “up” position.
Your body is now all straightened out, locked in, and good to go.
Break from your elbows, and begin lowering your body towards the floor. Your legs, hips, and chest all move together.
Keep everything from the setup nice and tight. Control your movement.
Arms and elbows in close by your body. Think “arms glues to your sides”.
Breathe in (inhale) as you lower down.
Bring your chest to, or as close to the ground as possible.
“Graze the ground” or stop just above it.
This is the “down” position.
Reach the bottom point, push back up.
Breathe out (exhale) as you push up. Use your breath to help keep your abs tight, and get into a rhythm.
Think “push the floor away from you”.
Push yourself back to the starting “up” position.
There is it, one badass push-up! Now reset, and keep going.
What if the Floor is (too much): Raise yourself up, elevate your hands
If you’re at home or the gym.
Use a wall, side of a bed, back of a couch, armrest, chair, stairs…
Use a box, bench, or a barbell set in the squat rack. Adjust the hooks to the right height, set your body in position, and push away.
Wherever you are, just work your way down towards the floor as your strength improves.
Major Movers: Chest, arms, shoulders
Pectoralis major (your chest)
Triceps brachii (back of your arms)
Anterior deltoids (front of your shoulder)
Also Working: Everything else
There you have it, the push-up.
Use these steps to help you get that first push-up, and try out these cues to make your push-ups even more effective.
You need to make your body do what you want it to do. Get yourself set up, and practice, practice, practice.
They’ll get better. You’ll get stronger.
One last thing, if when you are done fixing your form for the better and you are looking for more from your fitness we are only a call or email away. If you are not yet one of our bad-ass clients then call or email now to set up the first workout at the last gym you will ever need.
Don’t believe me? Read these…
So I had this really science based, fact check blog planned for today about the importance of bodyweight work as THE platform for success or continued success at any level of athletic endeavor. That without it you can’t lift more, or run faster, or yadda, yadda, yadda. Then I boiled it down to Ego Check: volume and viciousness.
Then I started reading some things. You know, articles on the Internet, blogs, lists, and more bullsh*t about New Years resolutions, and Dr. OZ, and quick fix crap, so I decided to switch it up. So this is one part rant, two parts CA philosophy, and one half-part backflip into the randomized scatterings that are my brain. (Don’t worry, bodyweight Awesomeness will post next week!) [Can you say push-up?] 😉
I have a voracious (<- SAT word right there) appetite for books, and knowledge; and the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know anything about anything, and therefore I need to learn more. (It seems like Sisyphus pushing the bolder, but honestly I love it.) When you stop learning you might as well checkout. Quit your job and find something that makes you happy, and a big part of that happiness is a platform for growth.
So here is something to consider.
2+2 =4, but so does
3+1=4, and so does
9-5=4, and well… so does
64 / 16 =4 and then, well… you get the drift.
There are a lot of ways to get from point A to point B, and no matter what you call it. Or how pretty the box, bow, or gift-wrap is. It all boils down to simple concepts. So let me package 2015 Resolutions simply…
Stop to look around once in a while, do whatever it is because it makes you HAPPY!
Learn to be a little UNCOMFORTABLE.
Drink a shit ton of WATER.
Eat a vegetable based dietLIFESTYLE.
Training and exercise are not wars with your body, they SUSTAIN it.
Be EXCEPTIONAL at the simple things, this INCLUDES movement.
Stop judging others for what they do. If everybody is moving then guess what; you’re on the same F*cking team.
Check your ego at the door. If you knew better you wouldn’t be taking direction you would be giving it. (<- Also if you believe that, then you need to read more books)
(Just a snippet of what an evening here looks like)
When Colleen walked into Contemporary Athlete I was just as unsure about her, as she was about me, and what this place is all about. After the first session I expected, like most people that drop in, never to come back (By keeping my expectations low I get to be really, really excited when you come back!). I didn’t hear from her for a while, then Colleen called me and wanted to train, 1 time, then another, then two times a week, then three… Then there was a goal. With that goal came something so fun for me to be apart of, the unadulterated drive for a goal. Not random “exertainment” but, “Here I am, and this is where I am going.”
Everybody has the potential for greatness. The question is are you willing to suffer just a little to figure out what it is? -Bender
(Colleen @ #115, pulling 265#. Like A BOSS!)
I was really good at setting goals in my business, goals for my children, for my finances, goals for eating healthy and goals for just about every area of my life. They were real, they were defined, and they kept me honest and always striving.
When it came to fitness, my goals were non-existent. I wasn’t really unhealthy or particularly out of shape, so all was trending very status-quo for the past probably 10 years. My standard week included a couple spin classes, some bootcamp-style thingy, maybe a little weight circuit thrown in the mix. I had two pregnancies during that time that yielded two healthy kids (Robby now 6 and Angie, 4). I wasn’t overweight, I had energy, I looked and felt fine. And this is where I could have stayed parked for the next 10 years of my life or more. It would have been okay, not awesome, not epic, not impressive. This is where a lot of people stay very comfortably parked. Why? They either lack goals or haven’t set the right type of goals.
When I first came to Contemporary Athlete, I was a little overwhelmed and I didn’t feel like it was a good fit for me. It was unlike any ‘gym workout’ or fitness environment that I had known prior. I saw people doing pretty impressive things but I couldn’t quite see myself being one of them. I left feeling quite certain I wouldn’t come back. But then it started….this nagging feeling that I should do more than ‘play it safe’, that perhaps I was intended for a greater challenge. I decided to go back to Contemporary Athlete.
That was 10 months ago and I’ve been training regularly ever since the day I made that decision. The work is hard, both mentally and physically. I experience many highs and proud moments and push through the low moments that make me better. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been physically and in the best shape I have ever been in. I discovered my niche in Olympic weightlifting and finally have goals. This coming September I will be competing in my first powerlifting competition. It will be a challenge for me, but I’m feeling more and more prepared to accept the challenge. Deciding to train with Dave at Contemporary Athlete has been one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself.
I’m on a journey. There are bumps in the road, many challenges, highs and lows, bruises, tears, sweat. But there is a community of people who understand because they are walking (or sprinting, jumping, squatting or lifting) beside me. We all have goals and dreams and every time we walk through the doors of Contemporary Athlete, we are all moving an inch closer to achieving them.
This journey has made me understand a few simple truths…
If your goals don’t inspire you, it might be time to reevaluate them.
Growth will never happen in your comfort zone.
Don’t fear the unfamiliar, you might be missing something amazing.
The Lake Placid Ironman is closing in on us, Sunday actually; I started to think about something I am privy to see that many other people are not, unadulterated unwavering confidence. (As a personal note: I interestingly enough do not have this trait.)
As a coach I see a lot, but what I learn most comes from my youth athletes. It reminds me so much of something that I think we forget, or lose track of, or it is drilled/beaten out of us. It’s not always about what you know, or what your level of ability is, or resume, or CV. That sometimes, many times actually it’s strictly about self-confidence, and within that. Many times you just gotta “fake it, to make it”.
Kids are just as scared as the rest of us, but interestingly enough they are masters of self-talk. The thing that allows them to pick up weights way heavier, or run further, or swim harder, or sit in guard on the verge of sleepy time longer than anybody thought, is that they self-coach, they are their best cheerleaders, and they can teach us to engage what I like to call the “Megalodon Affect”
C. megalodon is regarded as one of the largest and most powerful predators in vertebrate history, and likely had a profound impact on the structure of marine communities. Fossil remains suggest that this giant shark reached a maximum length of 14–18 metres (46–59 ft), and also affirm that it had a cosmopolitan distribution. Scientists suggest that C. megalodon looked like a stockier version of the great white shark.Carcharodon carcharias.- (Wikipedia)
Athletes are competitive by nature, right? No, they learn it along the way. They learn push their limits, trust others, self-coach and self talk. The hype-up is so important. The Megalodon Affect is all about that. To be a shark, you need to act it, to not be afraid of those swimming in the ocean around them, and to know you can stand with them no matter what. The ability to talk yourself out of your limits, because honestly all those limits are, is fear.
So find that moment, that time when you pushed past your fear, and channel it, talk yourself back onto the cliff, and then run and jump into the abyss knowing that you will land, that there is nothing to fear, and that in order to survive amongst sharks all you need to do is not back down, and to just keep swimming, wide eyed and on the hunt.
When I opened Contemporary Athlete I had grand dreams (don’t worry, I still do!) of rows of amazing athletes of all ages doing agility drills, with fast moving feet; much like the fingers of a highly efficient stenographer banging away systematically. The uniform whirr of the wheels of ergometers churning away splits in a harmonious cacophony of acceleration and anguish. The cyclists, and tri-athletes; riding their trainers. The graceful yet mind tricking movement of men and women fluidly powerlifting impressive weights from the floor to overhead positions. This is the CA, this is the dream, and all dreams start on the foundation of a big multi-dimensional base…
(it all starts somewhere)
With that in mind, we live in a fast passed world. Our culture has a desire for instant gratification; and results, yesterday, not tomorrow, with little investment. Social media, fast food, email, smart phones, 5 – minute abs, 3 – minute glutes, perfect push-ups, and no minute guts.
Thursday night I started to teach the Snatch, to a group of 3. For the very first time since I opened almost 2 years ago. The snatch is one of the readily agreed upon 7 fundamental barbell movements for building speed and strength. Now this isn’t the first time I have taught this kind of movement by any means, but what it is, is the first time I have taught it to absolute novice athletes. Normally the situation is one of fixing or forwarding the effectiveness of the athlete. In this case, it is. “This is a barbell, now I am going to help you learn how to use it effectively.”
All we did was move the bar. In systematic and excruciatingly boring ways. Yes, they were sweaty, and probably tired, and likely sore and a bunch of other things you can call exercise. They weren’t hurt, confused, or operating in dangerous patterns all in the good old name of “getting your sweat on”.
(resistance is individual)
Which during my drive home last night I pondered on all of the stupid s*** I hear said and read constantly on memes when it comes to training and exercise. In the case of memes it’s usually emblazoned over a hard bodied, abs ripping, sweaty individual or an ass that potentially was carved by Michelangelo himself.
“Go hard, or go home”
“Engage your beast mode”
“Tears will get you sympathy, sweat will get you results”
“Train like a beast. Look like a beauty”
“When I’m dripping with sweat, I feel bad ass”
“The alternative to boredom is exercise, not food.”
“Keep squatting till your legs fall off”
“Sore Muscles, Happy Pain”
“Sore? Tired? Out of breath? Sweaty? Good. It’s Working.”
“Gonna run till I don’t Jiggle.”
This list goes on, but this should give you enough to start the ball rolling. The idea though, is to do a little more, a little better every consecutive time you train. As an athlete, sometimes in the search of “better” or “best” you might cross your threshold and end up with your head in a trash bin. This is NEVER the goal or idea. It’s a byproduct of testing your limits and if it happens 1:1000 times than your ratio is pretty good. For 95% (<- not a real statistic) of people this should NEVER ever happen though. ELITE is called that for a reason. It’s not EVERYBODY, that’s the point.
So while the new power-lifters work on their range of motion with PVC pipes and the Barbell. Looking for the perfect set up, and motion at a weight/limit that is appropriate for the journey toward excellence. They will get more flexible, and strong, and lean but it all boils down to training smart and efficiently. Which means don’t be a fool and buy into a phrase I recently heard and wish I could coin.
In the last 72 hours a lot has been going on in both my personal life and business life. What has been interesting is the thread of connection back to a place some 1,800 miles away and 10 years ago, I called home. I have been privileged enough to be part of a successful program and what I learned during it and my time at SMU has given me an edge on life, and business. In this I have been taking solace/escape in the trials and tribulations of my alma maters basketball team during their March madness run.
(surprising nobody has yelled at us yet for not warming up)
I wear a lot of college gear, (thanks to all of my collegiate athletes hooking me up with hoodies that I wear proudly). If you didn’t know though I am a proud pony. What that means is a bit different than most though. I am part of the Mustang Nation not just as an alumnus, but also as a letterman. I was fortunate enough to be part of a highly successful program, one that continues that success everyday. Being part of four championship teams I got to ride high. So watching your fellow athletes, train, study, train, eat, study, train, get hurt, get healthy, compete, and not be able to see them succeed is hard.
Rough days of training. Endless trampoline/dry board work, weight training when my body was already wrecked, the Nat, Eddie’s always good natured temperament, Jim’s constant push, dragging my a** to evening classes barely able to stand, studying with one eye open knowing I needed a nap but my course load didn’t care. Long trips across Texas in vans, competing on the road and knowing you have to go back to a mountain of work when it was all over, good or bad. These are the things fans don’t quite get. While I was there the “big” sports struggled while the rest of the teams were producing conference champions and championships, All-Americans, world-university games competitors, national team members, national champions, and Olympians.
(This was my world for a long time)
Yet some of the hardest days were standing in the student sections with all the other athletes from the other teams, and the rest of the school body watching yet another blowout on the gridiron or the court. Those were the hardest days as an athlete. Not the close loss but the ruthless beating. It wasn’t the coaches, athletes, facilities, it was just something that was off and it seemed nobody could figure it out.
With the NCAA non – decision for the tournament, you can say a lot of things. One way or another they didn’t make the field of 64. So be it. To the NIT they go, and watching them struggle and rally has been something all athletes no matter their colors understand. For me getting text messages from friends, teammates, family, with score updates while at work reminded me of so many great things but biggest of all some key lessons.
(Lets be clear, this sucks)
Being an athlete teaches you how to get knocked down and how to get up again. Learn from it, and to perform no matter what. How to manage your time, stay cool under pressure, multi-task, depend on others to do the same, risk big, fail often, and understand that all you can expect on any given day is to be average. You just have to make sure your average is better than everybody else.
So as schools both public and private, universities and grade/high schools look at their budgets and slash and burn sports (and the arts but thats for a different post). You forget that those things are what teach character, and at the end of the day, it’s the athlete that is going to stand naked in the thunderstorm with a metal rod in hand because if that’s what they have to do to get ahead then they are going to do it. They just want it more, and they might just do it to beat you.
The 22 point run SMU went on Tuesday night against Clemson in the second half to win and head to the final is a true testament to their character. It comes from years of being kicked when you’re down. To great teachers like Coach Brown, a supportive community, and the best thing that could have happened, was for them to not make the tournament, now they have something to prove, and that makes them dangerous.
(nothing like getting snowed in on the road)
On Thursday night in a packed Madison Square Garden in their final game of the season against Minnesota this show down will be epic. No matter how it unfolds every athlete that will be watching that game will feel both the pain of defeat and the joy of success; because at the root of it all, we just want to be there all over again.
Personally I’ll be in the second row, behind the goal with the rest of the Red and Blue.
Once upon a time on a beautiful spring night after getting out of work, a young, optimistic athlete’s world changed drastically.
A half-mile from his home, a driver who was trying to make a changing traffic light struck that persons vehicle doing about 50 mph.
The vehicle spun around a number of times and ended up facing in the direction of on-coming traffic. Fortunately the victim was wearing his seatbelt and in was in peak performance shape so he thought he might walk away from the accident unscathed.
Six weeks later after a number of medical visits, it was discovered the victim had broken three vertebrae in his spine and was lucky to be walking. The outcome was grim; sports were out of the question and lifting heavy was not to be done.
This devastating news sent the victim reeling out of control. Without sports, this athlete had lost his identity, was depressed, and was slowly drinking and eating himself to death. At the lowest point, he had packed on an extra 1/3 of bodyweight and was barely recognizable.
Does this sound like every world-class athletes comeback story?
Well it kind of is. It’s my story, and it’s the antithesis for
12-12 Reboot, Reform, Reclaim
Ten years ago, I was that person in the car accident and it closed a door to part of my life only to open a much greater one. At one point of time the scale read 225#, which doesn’t seem too bad until you realize my healthy weight range is between 160-170.
As I struggled to get back to the old version of myself, I learned some hard lessons. What it feels like to train as a severely de-conditioned athlete, how to eat smart, hydrate, and ultimately how to push yourself through those bad sessions/days/months. I came out of it a year later stronger, faster, and tougher than ever before.
I was able to “reboot” my own life and reclaim my health, so why couldn’t that same formula apply to others? We’re not talking about a quick fix, Band-Aid, infomercial BS sales pitch but an actual fix.
I started going through old notebooks full of training plans, and food journals, and diaries. The reboot program was born, and it is all about finding that person (possibly again), with a great support system, some solid guidance, and a realistic timeline.
I invite you to consider this journey to make a lasting and permanent change to your health and wellness.
(I wrote and posted this without Haley, Lauren, or any number of people who love to correct my grammar proofing it. So if you want to know what goes through my brain here ya go.) – Also sad fact Haley’s head might explode because of it… 😉
Hi there ninjas!!! So the word on the street is that today is my birthday (31). Which made me think about writing this entry. I hear a lot of people complain about their birthday, getting older, more health issues, yadda, yadda, yadda. I generally turn a furrowed brow.
Your birthday is this great opportunity. It’s when you came into this world, via any number of possible reasons or means. I personally like to think that it was snowing, thundering, and lightning all at the same time on my epic entrance but according to my parents that wasn’t the case. (I’m going with it though.)
So you can cry about being older and blah, blah, blah. Or you can train in any number of ways to make it the entrance into a better year of “racing”. So a few years ago I started the birthday challenge series, for myself. I train for it. I train hard, as it generally is something daunting, mildly stupid, and makes my parents generally laugh at me and ask if I need medication when I tell them what it is for that year. So I thought it would be a great time to do a little reflecting and throw out the birthday challenge for this year. Last year it was all based around entering my 30’s, by doing a lot of awesome stuff including ripping a 600 lbs. (DL) off the ground. I’ll tell you more about that though shortly.
Like my programs: part 1.
So what I have learned: 31 things
Or as I like to say “Smarter…?” (These are in no particular order)
1. Surround yourself with people way more awesome than you. (If you’re lucky, and damned lucky, you can hang onto their coat tails for a long time.)
2. Be a great friend (I struggle with this one. The CA consumes me.)
3. Smile! (It’s not hard and it will make you and anybody around you happy.)
4. Eat more cookies. (Seriously, as long as it’s not a whole sleeve of Oreos your good.)
5. Be a good son. (My parents are generally right, just don’t tell them I said that.)
6. Set crazy awesome goals, for yourself, and for others. (If they seem doable, you are being a wussy.)
7. Ask for help. You can’t do everything alone, and people make the journey better.
8. Be confident, even when your not. (If your not using it, you’re losing it.)
9. Listen, don’t talk, just LISTEN.
10. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable, that is how growth works.
11. Lift heavy sh*t. (Do it often, make it hard, and don’t worry what you look like in the mirror. If the bar is bending everybody is watching whether or not you want them to or not.)
12. Read, voraciously (<- that’s and SAT word, I learned it in a book 😉
13. Give, give until it hurts a little. It will come back to you, and it will make you happy.
14. Cry, it’s ok, really. (Just make sure you are muttering some words that make no sense. Then you can pass it off to yourself as being a moment of temporary insanity.)
15. If you use an elliptical. Stop they are stupid. Go run outside. There is sun, wind, rain, trees, real air, and occasionally pretty girls will pass you, make sure you smile! (Those things will make you happy)
16. Dark Beer, and IPA’s. (If I need to explain this your not of age yet.)
17. Cook and eat real food. (Stop running around like a crazy person and enjoy something simple like making something for yourself and others that keeps you alive.)
18. Dance. (I generally do it naked after I shower. If your going to make an a** out of yourself you might as well do it naked, it’s more fun that way.)
19. Buy the person next to you a coffee. Just because. (Thanks Heather)
20. Ask good questions. (Think before you speak)
21. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate (Thanks Coach!)
22. Own less stuff, things don’t make you happy, awesome people do.
23. Own less clothing and only that which fits. (I know I’m a little special but 100 articles.)
24. Wear a helmet. Yeah I said it. It protects your skull.
25. Plan one crazy trip, expensive or not; and then figure out how to make it happen.
26. Race. Why? Because it’s fun.
27. Figure out who your alter ego super hero is and channel that bada**.
28. Skinny jeans negate your war beard. (Also if you can fit into them do more squats.)
29. Tell people you love them. Just because; they need to hear it, and you need to say it. It’s a win win.
30. Lists. Why? Because they make you accountable to yourself. (I keep mine in my shoes. 5:56 has been at the top of mine for a long time. If you don’t know what that means buy me an IPA, I’ll explain it.)
31. High Five. (Your awesome, and anybody you touch is gonna be awesome, so make sure everybody can hear it. Also aim for the elbow, then you never miss.)
Birthday Challenge: 30 year-old Combine:
Last year: The concept, go big, then go home.
1 RM Push Press: 285#
3 minute push-up challenge: 127
1 RM Back Squat: 525#
1 RM Front Squat: 485#
1 RM Clean: 365#
1 RM Snatch: 265#
1 RM Deadlift: 600# –Boom slam dance
Sub: 6 minute 2k: 6:03 – Damn close but not there yet
Sub 19 minute 5k (Run): 18:57 – I am pretty sure part of my soul died on that one
So I passed solidly into my 30’s stronger and faster than I have ever been before.
This might be the scariest one yet for me. With being out of training for the last 7 weeks thanks to the good old Lyme’s. It seems a bit like climbing up the slide at the playground covered in baby oil. (This could make for a good Youtube video)
Erg for time: 31,000 meters: For time.
(Well I won’t die right now at least)
Lift heavy things, a lot.
(This legitimately scares me)
Combined weight: 31,000 lbs.
(It’s a little more but it makes the bars easier to load)
5 x Snatch @ 115
4 x Bent Row @ 135
3 x Push Press @ 185
2 x Back Squat @ 275
1 x Dead Lift @ 405
For time: or 31 minutes, which ever comes first.
A quick Follow up:
31k erg: 2:12.4
( I learned a lot about myself and how much I hate the color white that the walls are painted)
31K Club: 29:20
(got in in under the 31 minute mark but definitely had to channel my inner bada** to get it done.)
In the health and fitness world, metabolic conditioning is a term used loosely and frequently. It is generally associated with Cross-Fit; intense workouts, derived from lifting heavy weights in great succession, racing against the clock, or against other athletes. Now in some cases this is true. I have also heard it used to describe a workout consisting of a series of time based work dictated by minimal rest. Another word I hear a lot is “Tabata.” Tabata consists of very quick bursts of work followed by very short amounts of rest, done cyclically, until exhaustion. Then, given a longer rest period to recover before beginning the next cycle. These are two very different workout styles, amongst many, within the metabolic conditioning realm. The truth is this current hip thing is really an old concept that has finally trickled down to the general public.
High intensity interval training, also known as (HIIT) is all the rage, but it is something all athletes have done, and probably done a lot of. It is generally best to balance the rush with the gush, and leave a little room to siphon off some of the workout steam generated -which is where athletes can really gather speed when not working on their aerobic capacity.
I would like to try to decipher this. A metabolic conditioning workout should be based on a desired outcome dictated by the level of fitness and ability of the individual doing such a workout this has been researched in depth by The Journal of Strength and Conditioning. The human body has several different methods of getting energy. In order to tap into those different energy systems, different ratios of work to rest must be implemented in order to cause adaptations in the body for a desired performance goal.
A desired goal to maximize efficiency of a particular energy system is usually the response one is looking for from the body; so the way the patterning of work and rest are structured makes that exercise “circuit” metabolic conditioning. For example, a person looking to “bulk up” should have a different amount of rest in relationship to work, than a person looking to become leaner or run farther. Structuring a workout where timing is disregarded and getting through it as quickly as possible is not nearly as effective for performance goals as a planned attack, with regimented work to rest ratios.
Here are the basics of Exercise Metabolism:
Everything we eat must be broken down into smaller things in order for the body to use them. This means of creating energy is known as metabolizing, and in layman’s terms is known as the metabolic system. There are three pathways that are primary to making this happen and each has their own place and purpose. By tapping into them correctly for performance or physical goals should be the idea behind writing the training circuit.
The Immediate System: (ATP-CP)
Think of this as explosive energy your Olympic lifting, sprinting, and jumping. Any exercise that takes less than 10 seconds to accomplish is utilizing this system. What is important is how long the work to rest ratio is. The exercise is so physically taxing that it can take roughly three to five minutes to fully recover.
The Intermediate System: (Anaerobic system)
It is used for shorter duration high intensity work such as your middle distance running (400-800 m) or swimming (100-200m) and your middle range weight lifting. This could be any exercise that takes anywhere from one to four minutes to complete. Depending on the ability of the athlete recovery time can take anywhere from one to three minutes.
The Long-Duration System: (Aerobic system)
This is your marathon running or century bike riding or 1500m swimmers or triathletes. The work is low to moderate in intensity and can go on forever as long as the athlete does not run out of energy (fat). The recovery for this kind of work is a mere seconds.
Now with those hard guidelines for energy usage detailed in the human body there is always crossover and interplay. No one energy system operates all by itself within exercise. The ratios at which they are called upon generally work in one primary system or another.
Developing the appropriate Met-Con Circuit:
The idea is to create efficiency for a specific energy system, one that will allow performance enhancement or physique. Also thanks to great amounts of research done by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, this system creates increased EPOC. So the metabolism runs higher after a Met-Con session for a few hours.
Now once you figure out what it is that you are training for then you can really tailor your training program. The key factor for making this all work is your rest periods. Not enough rest you risk taking your anaerobic training session and turning it into an aerobic one. Too much rest and you leave your ATP-AC phase and create an anaerobic or even an aerobic workout. In order to make this really effective use large non-isolated actions. Start with bodyweight activity and remember when lifting weights to use proper form at all times and self regulate. If it doesn’t seem safe don’t do it, or find a facility or trainer that can help you learn those actions correctly and safely. Getting hurt training will not only ruin race day, it will put a huge chink in the armor of invincibility you once had. To remain competitive, it’s usually best to stay out of the ranks of the walking wounded. After all, health trumps strength any day! So stay healthy, and stay strong, with smart workouts!