Physical Resilience for an Uncertain Future – Part 3, by A.D.

(Continued from Part 2. This concludes the article.)

Putting it all together

In this section I’d like to distill all the preceding information into what it might look like in terms of an actual week of fitness. I will also show what a couple weeks in succession could look like, to give you an idea of proper progression.

I mentioned in the anaerobic section the analogy of your fitness attributes like the many sliding dials on a DJ’s sound mixing table. For the purposes of this example, let’s say this person is just starting out and has decided to prioritize their aerobic development, while trying to just maintain strength and higher intensity conditioning.

Example Avatar: 45 y/o male with some athletic history, and no current injuries. Played high school sports and pickup games of basketball in his 20s, but has not engaged in structured routine for the past 7 years. Current activities include some manual labor at home, occasional walking, and a hike every month. He is seeking to get in better shape to get off blood pressure meds and help set the example for his family.

His starter program:

Week 1

For all workouts his warm-up starts with a little light activity such as a 5 min jog/walk followed by some dynamic stretches (example video linked in resources)

Monday:

20 Minute walk/jog

Goal here is jog as long as he can hold a conversation pace, if he starts to lose that he will walk until his heart rate drops, and then jog again repeating the cycle until 20 Mins is complete

Tuesday:

Strength Training Day:

(He is still mastering the Fundamentals, so little external load is required

  1. Step-Up onto a knee height surface

3 sets of 10 each leg

  1. Pushups

3 sets of 10-15 or just before muscle failure

  1. Dumbbell or Barbell Row

3 sets of 10 each arm

  1. Towel Sliding Hamstring curl (see video in resources)

3 Sets of 10

  1. For this he completes a walk with 2 full ammo cans for ~200m and back

He catches his breath and Holds a plank for as long as possible

Rest 2 minutes and Complete a second evolution

Wednesday:

Rest – Take this day to go for an easy walk and perhaps carve out some time to stretch

Thursday:

20 Min Walk/Jog Same Idea as Monday … this time he is able to slowly jog the whole time!

Friday:

Strength Training Day:

(He is still mastering the Fundamentals, so little external load is required

  1. Squat (Bodyweight only for now)

3 sets of 20 each

  1. Bench Press

3 sets of 10

  1. Dumbbell or Barbell Row

3 sets of 10 each arm

  1. Deadlift

3 sets of 6 (This is kept light to focus on building technique)

  1. Sled drag (forward or backward 100m and back) moderate load at easy pace

Upon Return, catch breath and complete 1:00 of situps or crunches

Rest 2-3 minutes (or longer if needed) and Complete a second evolution

Saturday:
Leisurely hike with ~20lb pack for about an hour

Sunday:
Rest and enjoy day with the family

 

Week 2

Same warm-up is conducted.

Monday:

25 Min walk/jog

 

Tuesday:

Strength Training Day:

(He is still mastering the Fundamentals, so little external load is required

  1. Step-Up onto a knee height surface (holding a gallon of water or light DB in each hand)

3 sets of 10 each leg

  1. Pushups

3 sets of 15+ or just before muscle failure (seeking to beat last weeks total reps)

  1. Dumbbell or Barbell Row

3 sets of 12 each arm

  1. Towel Sliding Hamstring curl (see video in resources)

3 Sets of 12

  1. For this he completes a walk with 2 full ammo cans for ~200m and back

He catches his breath and Holds a plank for as long as possible

Rest 2 minutes and Complete a second evolution

The desired change this week for “E” is a longer plank each time and less rest required when transitioning

 

Wednesday:

Rest – Take this day to go for an easy walk and perhaps carve out some time to stretch

 

Thursday:

25 Min Jog (again focus is on an easy and sustainable pace, trying to stay below 150bpm)

 

Friday:

Strength Training Day:

(He is still mastering the Fundamentals, so little external load is required)

  1. Squat holding an ammo can at chest height

3 sets of 20 each

  1. Bench Press

3 sets of 12

  1. Dumbbell or Barbell Row

3 sets of 12 each arm

  1. Deadlift

4 sets of 6 (Same weight is used this week, but as we refine the technique we are adding another set to get more practice in the execution of the lift)

  1. Sled drag (forward or backward 150m and back) moderate load at easy pace

Upon Return, catch breath and complete 1:00 of situps or crunches

Rest 2-3 minutes (or longer if needed) and Complete a second evolution

For “E” this week depending how the first week felt, we could add weight or distance to the sled. Given the aerobic goal, we will up the distance to 150m each way.

Saturday: Leisurely hike with ~25lb pack for about an hour…slight elevation changes in this week’s route if possible

Sunday: Rest and enjoy day with the family!

Within the foregoing example, you’ll notice:

  • An emphasis on the aerobic piece with 3 sessions per week
  • The strength training work abides by the principles we discussed earlier
  • The time demand on any given day is <1hr
  • The equipment required is very minimal, a good chunk of which can be either found or assembled from what you already have!

 

What Will Be Your Focus?

As a rough template, the following is a breakdown of how I would recommend someone start if they had a different focal points. These can also be used after a period of 3-4+ months focusing on primary area when a shift is desired.

 

Strength Focus (strength is the desired primary trait and the other areas are set to maintenance)

Strength training: 3-4 sessions per week

Aerobic Work: 1 session per week

Anaerobic Work: 1 session per week

 

Anaerobic Conditioning Focus (this would be for someone who has a solid background of aerobic fitness and wishes to improve their high intensity capacity)

Strength training: 2-3 sessions per week

Aerobic Work: 1 session every OTHER week

Anaerobic Work: 2-3 Sessions per week (some of these can be done immediately following strength training as sort of a “finisher,” in the event someone does not have 5-6 days to spread out their fitness

 

The Balanced approach (when you want to slowly improve multiple modalities, and essentially sustaining forward momentum in fitness indefinitely

Strength training: 2-3 sessions per week

Aerobic Work: 2 sessions per week

Anaerobic Work: 1 session per week

Also, when looking at the above it should be important to note that no matter which focal track you are on, a minimum of 1 but preferably 2 days per week should be “rest” days or at least free of structured planned exercise.

Conclusion

I understand that in one single resource I could not possibly hope to capture all the fitness needs of a diverse audience, but I hope this at least serves as a jumping-off point for your individual research and leads to the implementation of a sustainable fitness program that gifts you with boundless resilience!

At the end of the day something is better than nothing, and any action you take in this arena will move you in a positive direction. You may hate lifting weights, which is fine, but maybe you don’t mind lugging ammo cans and hiking with a heavy pack, “perfect is the enemy of good enough”, and you will still be a physically capable and competent person despite the specific of how you attain your fitness. Like much else, this all exists on a spectrum, it’s good to stop eating junk food and soda and go for a walk each day, it’s better to prioritize eating whole foods and breaking a sweat with some form of exercise you enjoy, and it’s best to harmonize a program that syncs all these factors in a way that makes consistent progress that is sustainable for YOU.

Being prepared, from a physical standpoint, means you are ready for a multitude of scenarios and are able to overcome those obstacles, events, and stressors to bounce back and perform at your highest level again and again. If you are 30+ pounds overweight and suffering from reversible chronic disease, you are not as prepared as you could be, and you have more power than you may have been led to believe. I encourage you to audit your current program or routine, see where you may be able to improve, or even take the first step! Fitness and health are one of the best investments you can possibly make for yourself and your family, and a massive step you can take towards personal preparation.

Included below are some of my favorite resources that dive deeper into the topics we discussed above. In my 14 years scraping every recess of the fitness industry I have seen fads come and go, but the foundational pillars are here to stay, these all pass the test of time and contain proven rock-solid advice and approaches. I look forward to diving deeper into any topics of interest in the future, and please do not hesitate to reach out if I can help you in your fitness journey!

 

Resources:

Tactical Barbell I&II

A phenomenal resource to help you put together a specific program that aligns very well with the principles discussed

Tactical Barbell

5/3/1

A very simple but effective way to progress in the fundamentals of strength training

5/3/1

 

 

80/20 Running: Run Slow to Run Fast

80/20 Running

 

Precision Nutrition: A very well rounded approach to nutrition applicable to those at all levels of knowledge!

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/

 

Weston A. Price Foundation

A wealth and knowledge of eating “nose to tail” and the way our bodies have historically thrived

https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/abcs-of-nutrition/dietary-guidelines/

 

8weeksout

A good place to dive into if you wish to get into the nuts and bolts of conditioning, at a more advanced and technical level. Has a primary niche of MMA/combative conditioning but applicable knowledge for ALL goals!

http://www.8weeksout.com/

 

Youtube vid DIY sled…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCG9e7LcU6I

 

Youtube vid DIY sandbag…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaGFNWLNj7Q

 

Dynamic Warm-up for beginners

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz_NXxhQCJc

 

TRX Straps… Awesome Home gym investment that has a lot of versatility, and allows beginners to train upper body pulling patterns safely and without have to load the movement too much.

TRX LINK

 

Garage Gym reviews

An awesome place to get honest reviews of economy all the way up to high end equipment and everything in between!

https://garagegymreviews.com/

 

 




4 Comments

  1. Fantastic article! Thoroughly researched and well written. Personally I cannot overstate the benefits of strength training. I have been doing it for over 4 years now, and the difference it has made it my life is huge. Aside from the obvious strength and aesthetic gains, the improvements in my mental well being and confidence have helped me immensely in all areas of my life.

    Women are often afraid of ‘bulking up’ if they so much as look at a barbell. But you definitely shouldn’t be! It takes a long time to build serious muscles, and it is not even possible for women to bulk up that much compared to men due to our hormone differences. When you start lifting, you will find that building a bit of muscle will in fact give you the ‘toned’ physique you want, and will make chores such as digging the garden and carrying your shopping so much easier! I definitely recommend adding in a bit of strength training to your fitness routine.

    Thank you again for your great article 😀

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