Thursday, September 11, 2014

Heroic Workouts: A case for beating yourself down

I try to write everyday whether it be for work, a short story, for my book and/or a blog post. I try to find inspiration somewhere to practice my craft.

For whatever reason I have been more inspired to write health related articles than say some of my other things. For some reason utter exhaustion is good for the creative process. The type of exhaustion that comes from staying up to late, having good sex or just engaging in intense physical activity.

Fortunately, I am riding high on all of those things today as I sit at my desk writing blog posts instead of newspaper articles.

This will be the third post I've written for the blog today (but have waited three days to publish). Perhaps after this post I'll retire the blog for the next few weeks.

Today, I am thinking about in my mind what I would consider a heroic workout. It is the type of workout that is stupid, slightly pointless and utterly exhausting.

My fitness pursuits have been more free flowing as of late and I'm becoming more and more inspired by the likes of Ido Portal, Barstarzz and Steve Maxwell. I'll probably always love the barbell more than anything else but for the past year I've hardly touched one aside from a few cleans and pendlay rows I did about a week ago.

Needless to say I've sort of walked away from a set routine approach coming from a place where I did just about any permutation of the 10x10, 5x5 and the 3x3. Jaimie Lewis at Chaos and Pain (NSFW) blog sort of set my mind free of these concepts and probably has had the most profound impact on my approach to fitness or at least weight lifting at least.

The philosophy there isn't so much about calisthenics and kettlebells but just attacking the weights hard with no set routine and whole hell of a lot of fucking malice for them. This concept certainly made lifting fun for me again and frankly left my fantasizing about my next workout and what I was going to do and not dreading my next session of Wendler's 5/3/1.

Well I can't say I attack the exercise with as much vitriol as I used too and although I still am implementing the seemingly random nature of this philosophy in my practice today only being a little more holistic in my implementation of fitness.

Not going balls to the wall all the time is good and it probably allows you to get more practice in without physically destroying your body as much. Jason Ferrugia in a podcast I recently listened to cautioned against this balls out approach for some person who wrote into the show.

That's all great and shit but personally I think every once in a while you need to take the pants off and let the balls hang. Every once in a while you need to do a fucking heroic workout and break yourself down.

Not all the time of course but at least once in a while. Not only are they fucking fun but for me personally I think when I do recover I come back stronger and better. It is almost astounding how much stronger I am once I've allowed myself to recover from one of these fucking things.

You can't do them all the time because that would be asinine and you'd never allow yourself some recovery. However, do  one or two of these every other week or month and shit not only is it fun but I wager somewhere you are probably doing something good for your hormones.

I'm not an endocrinologist but it just seems natural that primal man would go through spurts of over-training followed by lots of under-training. From time to time you'd suffer and this is what develops that unbeatable mindset and some god damn fucking confidence.

I feel happier and stronger when I cyclically break myself down.

Lately, for my heroic workouts I've been doing one of two things I either A. create my own WOD (workout of the day) that will probably be miserable or B. I've been implementing a deck of cards to determine the course of my workout.

Creating the WOD is not nearly as fun and can be slightly less motivating. The cards idea I got from a friend who was in the joint for a few years. I've used cards before for inspiration thanks to some of the wisdom of catch-wrestler Karl Gotch but my friend sort of reminded me of the damn thing.

Each suit represents an exercise or exercise type to be performed and then you do the prescribe rep ranges based on the number of the card. Royals are 15 and aces are 20. Simple enough and random as hell as well which keeps things interesting.

When I did it with my buddy it was a legs exercise, abdominal exercises, eight-count bodybuilders and diver-bomber/hindu push-ups. Simple enough and pretty effective which blasted my chest.

However, the deck got me thinking about other variations you can do of it using all sorts of implements: kettlebells, macebells, dumbbells, a heavy bag or just use a weight vest to do a little bit of progressive overload.

I'm not training for the Crossfit games, I don't really bodybuild any longer and well frankly power lifting just doesn't seem in the cards for me any longer. The only thing that keeps me going is flexibility in my training program and the ability to perform stupid human tricks for people.

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