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Other/Mixed The Mind is Willing but the Flesh is Weak

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
So, I think where I'm headed with all this, mostly just what I've been thinking the past few days, is that I need a hard look at what my goals are, what my recovery looks like, and I just need to write my own adjustable program to suit those needs.... sticking rigidly to someone else's program is not guaranteed to give me the same results that they've gotten on it and that's a hard fact that I think I need to come to terms with.

As someone who has written their own programming for many years, I would highly advise starting out on the easy side of things. It is never difficult to add more, but removing things can get tricky if you're not sure how individual components work with the whole. Stay within your recovery abilities - burning calories that don't contribute to an adaptive response will only stall you out or at best slow your progress. Adaptive response is NOT LINEAR to any single training factor.

You absolutely need a few qualities to become your own trainer and go this route with success:

- patience. You need to be capable of "sitting back" and studying the adaptive response of the client and whether this aligns with their goals.

- confidence. You need to have enough experience to know a given approach will trigger an adaptive response if conditions are met. There is always some guesswork but it should be a matter of degrees, not fundamental.

Having too much flexibility in the program is def not a good thing over the long haul. That is not the same as auto-regulating, which works great over the long haul. Think of yourself first as a client, secondly as the trainer. Don't allow approaches or attitudes that would be unprofessional for a trainer to use, or that you would be incapable of applying to someone else if asked.

Have a reason for what you're doing and be able to articulate it. If you cannot, this is a big red flag that you're just chucking stuff at the wall. Sometimes its OK to chuck stuff at the wall, but only if your goal is to gain information and not to progress. Be honest with yourself about this and have a fallback if a given experiment heads South. Give yourself deadlines.


tl;dr:
Getting strong "workout of the decade vibes" but with some strong intentions of personal input rather than dogmatically and robotically following another's program.

Ultimately every person who makes fitness a permanent part of their life will have to go this route due to changing physical conditions as we age, and changing circumstances/availability of given fitness modes. Generic programs will become increasingly irrelevant. Good Luck!
 
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bluejeff

Level 6 Valued Member
I need a hard look at what my goals are, what my recovery looks like, and I just need to write my own adjustable program to suit those needs. If I can't do textbook S&S because my recovery isn't there, so be it. That is better than trying to adapt to something I don't have the capacity for when I try my hardest to optimize recovery. Taking someone else's recipe is really only getting me so far, and I think it doesn't make sense to keep smashing my head into the same ones over and over again with the same result. If it's my own program, I won't be bored, because it will be recipes that I enjoy. I can incorporate elements of programs that others have written that have strong principles, but sticking rigidly to someone else's program is not guaranteed to give me the same results that they've gotten on it and that's a hard fact that I think I need to come to terms with.
A question for you:
-how strictly have you stuck to the programs others have written? What I mean is this: I think it’s fair to say that a good number of folks like the idea of S&S or Q&D or PTTP or whatever, but then they start adding things to it, “tweaking” things…etc. Then they aren’t really getting the results the programs “promised them,” and they wonder why….

I’m not accusing you of this; however I think you would be doing yourself a favor to ask yourself how true you stuck to tried and tested programs before making your own.

I also say this because I have most definitely been guilty of this.
I'll probably make some mistakes along the way, but at least I will be actively playing with the parameters and learning what they do to me in a principled way, instead of just randomly selecting pre-designed parameter sets by authors that are well-reviewed.
As to my above point, I would advise that you avoid slipping into the opposite: randomly selecting things that “keep you from being bored.” There is a reason those programs are well-reviewed. Which brings me to :
I sense that a strong component in all of this will be mindset, in particular "temperament" and "discipline." Maybe sometimes I will get bored with the program that I wrote. That doesn't mean I should overhaul the whole program. It means I should examine the aspects of the program that I am bored with and make some changes to them if it is not necessary for them to be the way they are for the goals that I have.
Discipline and temperament, yes! I also see the word “bored” a lot. Can you see how those words compliment each other? Maybe you already know this, but a LOT of successful training is boring. One must be disciplined to do the same thing enough times to adapt to it.

I am not trying to be critical of your opinion or chosen approach, however, I do see a lot of the same sentiments I used to have around training. They did not help me reach my goals, I have to admit. I do highly encourage self-awareness. Make sure you know what your goals are, and make sure you know your reasons for those goals. Each time you get a new answer, keep asking yourself “why…?” Being bored with a program does not mean the program isn’t working. I’m sure you know that. I urge the self awareness aspect because if “not being bored” is your goal, then the solution is simple. But if results are your goal, the solution requires you to adhere to a particular regimen.

I say all that simply because results demand certain approaches. If you want certain results, you may have to deal with being bored from time to time. However, if you can get past it and start seeing the results you’re after, I would be willing to wager that you won’t be bored anymore. Results are motivating. Perhaps you will be lucky enough to be someone that that Charles Poliquin (in his training types) claimed to thrive off of variability. Good luck to you!
 

Ap0c

Level 1 Valued Member
Thanks again all for the careful thoughts.

To clarify, rarely am I bored during the exercise. There is always something to pay attention to, even in the dreaded LSS work on a treadmill (which I complained about earlier), like your breathing, or the exact stride of your foot on the ground, or the consistent alignment of the skeleton throughout the stride. There is so much to pay attention to and that's what I love. The boredom strikes on the necessary rest days. So, I think my main challenge will be either

(a) Finding something active and mindful to do on rest days that enhances, rather than reduces, recovery (many great ideas in this thread).

or

(b) Actually managing to keep intensity low enough so that rest days aren't required. Based on my history, I think this is an unlikely prospect for me.

To answer your question @bluejeff, I did Stronglifts 5x5 by the book for 6 months starting with the empty bar and saw excellent results a few years ago. I stopped because I developed chronic pain where the hamstring meets the glute. After some PT and stopping the heavy back squats, it's gone away and never come back, though I've not been on a heavy back squat program since. I know which imperfections in my form were likely to contribute, but haven't performed the experiment to see.

I also did S&S. not by the book for a year, which saw markedly less results than doing it by the book for about 1 more year. Doing it by the book with a light weight gave me the space to think about the movement in such a way as to produce a swing pattern that felt much more powerful and safe. Similar with the TGU. However, despite doing it by the book, and verifying that my form "looks safe" to the extent that I can right now (still waiting on the circumstances to go find an SFG in person), I found that throughout that year I did minor tweaks to my back a few times (all with either the 20 or 24 kg), kept having to start at square 0 and work my way back slowly over the course of 4-8 weeks depending on severity of the back injury, and kinda just never went anywhere with it.

I also did one of the courses in "You Are Your Own Gym" about 7 years ago for the full 10 weeks, recently completed a TB base building cycle from Mass Protocol I also did an 11 week cycle of RoP somewhere in there, which was fun, but I could tell the last two weeks were going to take me out if I continued, so I stopped. In between some of these is a lot of "program shopping," and there was about 3 years of rock climbing where I didn't really program anything, but did see some general climbing gains which was fun. Had to stop due to persistent finger tendonitis.

So there is my long nonlinear history of programs I can remember running. I wish I could say I ran X or some variant of it for 10 years, got strong, and am still running it, but I haven't done that. The thing is, nowadays it seems I can hardly run something for longer than a few months before some overuse (or acute) injury crops up, and I don't know how to adjust the program while I take care of the inury. So, instead, I go sit with my dunce cap in the injury corner while I scrap the program and start from scratch with something entirely new. Not great for progress now that I reflect on it, but it would be worse to keep going on top of an injury. I genuinely think if I just never got hurt, I could run S&S 5-7 days/week for the rest of my life. It's fun, there's a lot to learn technically speaking, and I would get to do it every day. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to work.

So, you could ask, "why don't you run S&S 3-4 days/week?" and we find myself exactly where I am now, making a post about what I should be doing on my rest days to avoid utter and complete fixation/distraction by my next opportunity to swing the s*** out of that bell. Maybe I don't need a new program, and just need to accept the boredom (on the off days, not during the workouts), but I wish it weren't so.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Thanks again all for the careful thoughts.

To clarify, rarely am I bored during the exercise. There is always something to pay attention to, even in the dreaded LSS work on a treadmill (which I complained about earlier), like your breathing, or the exact stride of your foot on the ground, or the consistent alignment of the skeleton throughout the stride. There is so much to pay attention to and that's what I love. The boredom strikes on the necessary rest days. So, I think my main challenge will be either

(a) Finding something active and mindful to do on rest days that enhances, rather than reduces, recovery (many great ideas in this thread).

or

(b) Actually managing to keep intensity low enough so that rest days aren't required. Based on my history, I think this is an unlikely prospect for me.

To answer your question @bluejeff, I did Stronglifts 5x5 by the book for 6 months starting with the empty bar and saw excellent results a few years ago. I stopped because I developed chronic pain where the hamstring meets the glute. After some PT and stopping the heavy back squats, it's gone away and never come back, though I've not been on a heavy back squat program since. I know which imperfections in my form were likely to contribute, but haven't performed the experiment to see.

I also did S&S. not by the book for a year, which saw markedly less results than doing it by the book for about 1 more year. Doing it by the book with a light weight gave me the space to think about the movement in such a way as to produce a swing pattern that felt much more powerful and safe. Similar with the TGU. However, despite doing it by the book, and verifying that my form "looks safe" to the extent that I can right now (still waiting on the circumstances to go find an SFG in person), I found that throughout that year I did minor tweaks to my back a few times (all with either the 20 or 24 kg), kept having to start at square 0 and work my way back slowly over the course of 4-8 weeks depending on severity of the back injury, and kinda just never went anywhere with it.

I also did one of the courses in "You Are Your Own Gym" about 7 years ago for the full 10 weeks, recently completed a TB base building cycle from Mass Protocol I also did an 11 week cycle of RoP somewhere in there, which was fun, but I could tell the last two weeks were going to take me out if I continued, so I stopped. In between some of these is a lot of "program shopping," and there was about 3 years of rock climbing where I didn't really program anything, but did see some general climbing gains which was fun. Had to stop due to persistent finger tendonitis.

So there is my long nonlinear history of programs I can remember running. I wish I could say I ran X or some variant of it for 10 years, got strong, and am still running it, but I haven't done that. The thing is, nowadays it seems I can hardly run something for longer than a few months before some overuse (or acute) injury crops up, and I don't know how to adjust the program while I take care of the inury. So, instead, I go sit with my dunce cap in the injury corner while I scrap the program and start from scratch with something entirely new. Not great for progress now that I reflect on it, but it would be worse to keep going on top of an injury. I genuinely think if I just never got hurt, I could run S&S 5-7 days/week for the rest of my life. It's fun, there's a lot to learn technically speaking, and I would get to do it every day. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to work.

So, you could ask, "why don't you run S&S 3-4 days/week?" and we find myself exactly where I am now, making a post about what I should be doing on my rest days to avoid utter and complete fixation/distraction by my next opportunity to swing the s*** out of that bell. Maybe I don't need a new program, and just need to accept the boredom (on the off days, not during the workouts), but I wish it weren't so.
Do some stuff in your off days that won't interfere much with recovery.

HIIT, agility footwork, some heavybag, origami?
 

Gypsyplumber

Level 5 Valued Member
For those who do strength practice 5+ days/week: How do you all practice the restraint that is required for high frequency training?

For those who do strength practice less than 5 days/week: How do you deal with boredom on your off days? I've tried LSS work, but it's so incredibly boring compared to swinging bells and pumping iron.

I like to train every day, but I also like to train hard, and I'm finding that at my desired intensity level I have to knock my number of training days down to just 3 or 4 per week. This leaves me very bored and restless on the off days. All I can think about is the next training session and how fun it will be. It even distracts me from my actual job. That's how much I love it. But, when I crank the frequency up, I just overtrain.

Standard recovery variable check-in: Sleeping 7-9 hours/night, weight is stable/increasing, no serious red flags with form although I'll admit it's not perfect. Regarding form, I have always tried to pay a lot of attention to this variable and will ever strive to pay more attention to this variable, but after several years of consistent movement practice and mindfulness (and working with a couple PTs), I genuinely think something else might be the main problem., but obviously I will continue to check in with my form as I go.

Thanks for any advice!
I look forward to my training days too. My off days lately I’ve been doing lots of mobility, stretching, and yoga. It’s not the same satisfaction as strength training but it helps for longevity and recovery. And it’s nothing like really pushing your flexibility limits and prying the hips open.
 

Ap0c

Level 1 Valued Member
Having too much flexibility in the program is def not a good thing over the long haul. That is not the same as auto-regulating, which works great over the long haul. Think of yourself first as a client, secondly as the trainer. Don't allow approaches or attitudes that would be unprofessional for a trainer to use, or that you would be incapable of applying to someone else if asked.

I think I know what you mean here, but would you care to elaborate on flexibility vs. auto-regulation?

Do you mean it is OK to update simple parameters in a given session like volume or load for well-defined reasons, but less acceptable to update more complicated parameters like exercise variation? Maybe also you mean, don't write down a program with a huge variance on the parameters, e.g. "Bench Press, 2-12 reps, 2-7 sets, no progression scheme." Rather, use a sharp variation in one of the parameters as an ace up your sleeve in case of an emergency, but otherwise have rather narrow session settings, e.g. Bench Press, 8 reps, 4 sets, X%, except if my shoulder is nagging - some progression scheme based on goals?
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
I think I know what you mean here, but would you care to elaborate on flexibility vs. auto-regulation?

Do you mean it is OK to update simple parameters in a given session like volume or load for well-defined reasons, but less acceptable to update more complicated parameters like exercise variation? Maybe also you mean, don't write down a program with a huge variance on the parameters, e.g. "Bench Press, 2-12 reps, 2-7 sets, no progression scheme." Rather, use a sharp variation in one of the parameters as an ace up your sleeve in case of an emergency, but otherwise have rather narrow session settings, e.g. Bench Press, 8 reps, 4 sets, X%, except if my shoulder is nagging - some progression scheme based on goals?

To me, autoregulation means the base load for the day's work might be determined by velocity, or even RPE with a given warmup load.

It might also be the use of AMRAP at the end of a defined string of sets, or AMRAP in a given time frame, or taking as much rest as needed at a defined stopping point before continuing.

The program should have a pretty clearly defined amount of work that prevents doing too much as well as too little, and provides context to each individual session. Have an articulable reason for doing what you're doing.

Some folks get pretty good results doing whatever, whenever, which is great for them but that's not programming.
 
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