The fitness world is full of elitists who claim that their training system, program or philosophy is the best there is. And although I wouldn’t call myself “an elitist”, I am no exception. I’ve made the same assumptions in the past.
So how should you train? Honestly? However you damn well please. If it’s the Ultimate Arm Shredder 2500 and it keeps you coming back to the gym, have at it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Sure, some programs are better than others for getting yoked and others are better for building a huge number on the bench. But if your goal is not specifically lined up to get better at a certain sport (even then, the strength program itself is quite general), bodybuilding or strength sport such as powerlifting or Olympic lifting, things change.
“I personally can think about a million other things I’d rather do, including seeing the dentist.”
You don’t need to deadlift a kubelwagen, you don’t need to bench a medium sized farm animal and you don’t need to squat the sins of your forefathers. Unless that is what you want to do! And if you do, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong.
Same goes with long distance running for fun. I personally can think about a million other things I’d rather do, including seeing the dentist. But don’t let me tell you that what you’re doing is wrong. Because I would’ve told you so in the past. Yes, it’s wrong if you don’t enjoy it but otherwise, whatevs.
But what if heavy sin squatting or running like Forest is not your jam and you just want to train to get better at the sport of life? Well, you can jump from program to program every 12 to 16 weeks. You can focus on goals that are irrelevant to the previous. It doesn’t matter. You can follow what excites you and keeps training interesting for you.
As an example, I’ve been known to bash training that focuses a lot on the aesthetics only. But here’s the thing. As I wrote recently, I was lacking the training motivation after hitting the 36kg Get Up (heaviest ‘bell in the gym, mind you. #highfive).
Nothing inspired me to train, I had no goal. Yes, I still showed up and got things done but I had no focus. I didn’t enjoy my sessions and I was never looking forward to the training time. Quite unlike me.
So what can I man do? I signed up for Jason Feruggia’s Renegade Strength Club do to something different and to give the reigns of my program design to someone else. And his philosophy of training is more of a “modern meathead” type. Basically, train to get yoked while feeling good.
And since starting it I’ve been looking forward to every single session because it’s “new” and different and his programs make me do stuff that I wouldn’t normally do. Like arms. I am doing bicep curls and actually loving it because it’s different. I haven’t done a curl in years.
Instead of doing the endless cycles of high intensity fat loss and what not programs pick something to work on for the next 12 to 16 weeks.
“As long as you stay healthy, have a specific goal to work towards and balance things out over the year, you can focus on whatever you want.”
Improve your handstand or muscle up skills and ignore the CrossFit haters. Build to heavy get up and ignore the kettlebell haters. Do bicep curls as if you’d be the next cover model for Men’s Health and ignore the functional training purists (am I one?) and mirror muscle haters (is this me again?).
The thing is, as long as you stay healthy, have a specific goal to work towards and balance things out over the year, you can focus on whatever you want. Even do those exercises on Instagram if it tickles your fancy.
As long as you stay safe and don’t try stupid ideas that are doomed to cause issues down the track (muscle ups while trying to shoot a shotgun while covered in coconut oil).
If you are training for the sport of life, it’s all fair game. No matter what the purists say.
“And that’s all I’ve got to say about that thing.” – Forrest Gump