In 2016 I did a lot of events. After completing the History Channel reality documentary, The Selection: Special Operations Experiment, easily the most difficult challenge I have ever attempted, I fell into total exhaustion – mind, body, and spirit. I had one more goal in 2016 and that was to complete 50 miles at World’s Toughest Mudder. Luckily, I was able to get by on residual fitness, but it wasn’t easy, and it only added to my exhausted state.
Woe Is Me
I thought I could “will” my way back. I wrote a gung-ho post the first week in January proclaiming 2017 as “my year” to dominate. But, I wasn’t ready. One month into sessions with my trainer, I had to bail out. Mentally, I was fighting some strong demons, and physically… well, I just couldn’t make myself care. All I wanted to do was… NOT train.
By April, I found myself weighing in at 215 lbs. During Selection, I was 185. Yup, I gained 30 pounds. I was eating cupcakes and ice cream, fast food and soda, and really just wasn’t giving a shit. What else? everything started hurting. The most pronounced example was a perfect day of surf in March where I spent 3-4 hours in the surf that day, surfing with my friends and having a blast; but by the next day, I couldn’t lift my shoulders to the steering wheel to drive. Aches and pains were abundant and I wasn’t even doing anything significant. It’s a really crappy cycle when you think about it – it’s hard to get motivated when everything hurts and you’ve fallen so far behind, but if you continue to ignore it, everything will hurt even more and you fall even further behind until you reach where many in our culture get to – APATHY.
So, what is this? What is the #liveforaliving 90-day Experiment? It’s a journey of discovery, putting thought into all my years of training – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and developing a program that I expect will be incredibly effective at bringing me back from the living dead.
How It Works
First, is the recognition that I am going to be 47 years old this year. Recovery, something in which I am terrible, has become a more necessary element to my training and cannot be overlooked this time around.
Second, is the recognition that above all else, diet will be the most important factor in achieving my goals. It can be the most challenging for me to adhere, but can easily make or break my efforts to achieve 20-year old fitness in this 47-year old tank.
Third, and arguably the most difficult, is the recognition that there are no excuses when it comes to putting in that day’s work. This sometimes sounds easy, but it’s not, and most importantly, I can’t make my goals someone else’s problem. If I commit to helping someone at 6:00 a.m. with something random, then I better get up at 4 to run first. Training comes first but implemented such that nobody else I care about is inconvenienced.
Fourth, for this 90-day period, I will rely almost exclusively on bodyweight movements. Right now, I am weak. Period. I can accept that. The last thing I need to be concerned with is additional load as I work to build my body back to the spider monkey man I was while living and training in Nicaragua.
The program will consist of a minimum of two (2) strength days, (2) conditioning days, (4) running days, and a plethora of activity in which I already love such as surfing, skateboarding, land paddle boarding, SUPing, 5K racing, etc.
Strength days are designed to build my overall strength. No concern with movement speed or completing the workout in any kind of time hack. The goal is smooth, clean, strict movement, working on pure strength. The benchmark of success for me will be the ability to complete a dead hang muscle-up at the end of the 90-days.
Strength days will consist of the following staple movements done to single-set failure for four complete rounds.
- Bodyweight squats
- Pull-ups (all variations)
- Pushups (all variations)
- Handstand pushups
- Overhead lunges
- Jump squats
Deadlifts will be done infrequently as a way to build overall strength quickly. Yes, it’s technically “load” but it’s arguably the most functional movement in existence and I feel it fits the program.
Conditioning days will include a series of movements for 4 round completion per session. The benchmark of success for me after 90-days will be a lean, 180 lb. physique, running sub-20 5K races on the regular.
Movements for each round include (:45 on / :15 rest – work up to 4 rounds):
- Burpee broad jumps
- Jump rope
- Knee taps
- Mountain climbers
- Legs side-to-side
- Seated side-to-side leg raise
- Russian twist
- Fast foot shuffle
I will not be running more than 5K at a time during training. Yes, I may run more miles on the trails, or while doing some kind of off-the-cuff ultra event where I may run/walk for extreme distances, but the goal in training will be quality miles …with our dog “Jax,” and without. Some days I will run with Jax as simply the morning awakening, and other times, I will do two-a-days, first with Jax, then on my own. No strict running programs, no exact weekly mileage, just a minimum of days of running somewhere, at some distance, at significant, productive pace.
I am going to lean heavy on a low-carbohydrate style of eating. For one, it matches me well, and besides this horrible sweet tooth, “meat and vegetables” is my preferred style of eating. I don’t really like starches, anyway. Second, my lady friend has all sorts of dietary issues and has to eat keto to be at her best.
But here’s the thing. I am not going to be a food Nazi. Remember that whole “not making it others’ problems?” If I’m somewhere this just doesn’t make sense, I will adapt. My whole entire program isn’t going to fail because I ate some rice, or some ice cream, or had some milk in my coffee.
So there ya go. I put this entire post out there for two simple reasons – accountability and support.
Lastly, I will be documenting this entire experience here at Live for a Living and I am hoping you will encourage me and help me to stay accountable.
Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.