This morning I went to my porch at about 7:15 and drug the kettlebell out of the porch closet. It was 94 degrees. Much better than working out at 110 in the afternoon.
I’ve been thinking of Arthur Saxon who did a bunch of exercises like this for workout:
- Overhead Press
- One-Arm Press
- Bent Press
- One-Arm Snatch
- One-Arm Clean & Jerk
Do exercises like this and don’t do a lot of reps, or sets. Sometimes you can get away with just do one set, 2 or 3 reps per exercise. Contrast that to the standard 30 (at least) in most people’s training.
Use a heavier weight than you would if you were doing a lot of reps of an exercise. Life a weight that is 70-85 percent of the maximum weight you can lift. Perform the exercise flawlessly. Get instruction.
As you can imagine, this is very intense and focused training. 30 reps or higher cannot beat it: less time, better results.
30 rep and higher people are concerned with what particular muscle they are working and how long they should wait before they exercise that particular muscle again.
The Arthur Saxon-type training is concerned with what particular movement you are working and how well you are doing it.
Pressing a weight over head is classified as a shoulder/tricep exercise by the muscle crowd. When the movement crowd does the exercise, it involves the entire body, coordinated in unison, to elevate an object overhead in a technically precise manner.
The quality of movement is emphasized, rather than the quantity, and, as a result, you learn to activate a greater percentage of your muscles by using your nervous system more effectively.
Here’s the Lowdown: Everything you do is controlled by the central nervous system. Muscle-based approaches train the muscle. Movement-based approaches train the central nervous system to better coordinate and utilize the capacities of the body. The intent is different and the results are different, too. They’re better.
When your entire workout has something like 12 total reps of strength exercises, you tend not to fuck around as much.
All that results in better coordination of your body, greater definition and muscle tone, vastly increased strength, and more energy. Add in some high rep swings and you work your heart and lungs along with the strength and you get a complete workout that makes you lean and strong.*
* Being lean assumes you also don’t eat like a jerk. People who eat like jerks eat denatured food that ends up consuming more energy to digest than it gives you in return. No wonder 30% are obese in America. The land of the free where we can eat whatever we want, but shouldn’t
All this stuff I’m talking about is self-discipline, which is everything that fitness in America isn’t. It’s the problem from which we all suffer, some to greater degrees.
Use self-discipline to restrain yourself from mistaking motion for progress. A few well-executed exercises, restraint from non-food that consumes more energy for digestion than it provides, and making sure to do some activity or sport once a week is what you need to thrive, the other way—three sets of ten or, especially, not training at all—will only help you survive.
I know when I’m cheating it and not restraining myself from that extra helping of food, from eating too fast, from talking too much, from spending too much, or from having one too many margaritas.
Where I struggle is that it has to be done consistently. Every day, every week, every month, every year. Like brushing your teeth. In North Carolina last week, I ate like a jerk and drank pretty much every day (about 2 drinks per night). And now I’m paying the price. I’m lethargic, unfocused and I need to start eating right and not drinking to return clarity and vitality. This morning’s intent-ful workout set the tone to exit “vacation” mode.
When we talk about health care, this should be the first thing we talk about: using self-discipline to take care of yourself.