The Maximum/Moderate/Minimum/Micro/Manifesto V (Moderate.)
Recently, I decided that I wanted to really ramp things up in the gym.
At 47.5 years of age, I want to be able to deliver the most aesthetic physique and be as strong, healthy, and energetic that I have ever been.
No simple task, but not impossible either.
I poured over extensive training journals that I have kept for decades, taking note of what worked well, and what didn’t. I studied and considered the various approaches that I experimented with in not only training, and nutrition, also taking into account whatever was going on in my life outside of the gym (what my work-day was like. How much rest/recovery/sleep I was getting etc. This is why keeping a detailed journal holds so much value.)
With the volume of material I had at my fingertips, I started to notice patterns.
One obvious pattern was the powerful combination of consistency and progression. Another revelation was that certain “key movements,” (exercises) delivered more “bang for my buck.” more rapid results, quicker development than others.
Yet another revelation was that as a natural trainee, there was substantial value in relatively high frequency in performing these key movements, but on the other hand, I noticed that I had to govern the intensity. As a natural, it is not a great idea to continually go at maximum intensity every time you go to the gym. This is a recipe for injury. (I know, my journals don’t lie.)
Think about it. Will you have better progress long term by “practicing” a lift, engaging the exercise anywhere from twice, to up 6-7 times per week, varying effort based upon your real time physiology, or by employing high intensity techniques once per week, forced reps, endless drop sets, etc? —-You know, the programs that are featured in the magazines by the anabolically-enhanced.
If you are using pharmaceuticals, your recovery is guaranteed, and in fact you are in an anabolic state all day and night.
This is the track & field equivalent of having a 8 second head start in the 100 meter sprint. On a side note, that 8 second start sounds like a great advantage, but just look at the individuals that take this easier path. The short term advantage almost on a case by case basis becomes moderate and sometimes extreme health issues in a few short years. Heart issues, cancers, joint problems, and that is just the physical component.
So, in the spirit of The Maximum/Moderate/Minimum/Micro approach, and to utilize physical training as an example, I would say that 80-90% of my workouts fall into the Moderate category. Yes, there are times when I push the limits and even beyond (Maximum) of my capabilities, but these sessions are very few and far between. (If I had to estimate, maybe 8-12 times per year.)
Generally, I have a plan in place beforehand, and I can usually execute it. This morning was a prime example of what I would consider a Moderate workout:
Wide-Stance Squats (very wide) 55×10, 95×10, 115×5, 135×5, 145×3 150×3, 155×1, 165×1, 175×1
Dips BWx10, BW+10×10, BW+44×5, BW+60×5, BW+75×3, BW+85×3, BW+100×1, BW+105×1, BW+110×1
Pull-ups BWx10, BW+5×10, BW+20×5, BW+25×5, BW+35×4, BW+40×3, BW+50×1, BW+60×1, BW+60×1
Each rep of each and every set was well within my capabilities. No grinding, no stress or very little. The idea is to do these awesome exercises and do them often. I have squatted everyday this week and am seeing some great returns already. Most of my sessions look like this, with sometimes quite a bit more load on one or more of these lifts.
The warm-ups dictate the final set(s.) This is Moderation.