So we’re half way through January and by now I really should be back into the swing of training. Or more to the point I should be no longer using the excuse ‘still recovering from my Christmas break’. The truth is though enthusiastic, I’ve not bounced back from my break like I anticipated and I probably need to give myself a kick up the arse.
For the last two weeks I have attempted the Fitness Zoo crossfit challenge and failed miserably. This week I managed to complete it, but in a rather pathetic 67 minutes, when I was hoping to finish it inside of an hour. I need to really push myself next week and nail it! (And by nail it I mean get a time of under an hour, which is still slow but I’ll be disappointed if I don’t manage it).
I think my problem boils down to not having a specific goal. I’m looking back at my 2014 fitness goals list and it’s a muddled pot:
– complete Tough Mudder Yorkshire (again)
– bench 90kg
– Deadlift 120 kg
– Squat 120 kg
– run a sub 50 min 10k
– deplete my body fat % to single figures
Last year I trained hard for Tough Mudder and having one orange headband under my belt, I can identify where my weaknesses were. I learned from last year that although it was (and always is) good to improve my overall strength, it was my stamina and conditioning that let me down more than anything else. Tough Mudder requires a shit load of stamina and good leg endurance as a majority of it is running, off-road and up-hill. As such in preparation for Tough Mudder 2014, I want to cram as much cardio and endurance training into my program as possible. As far as my fitness goals are concerned, more of this training would certainly tick the boxes for helping deplete my body fat % and improving my 10k time. However, my other goals are basically get stronger, build muscle and break my lifting records.
I really enjoy weight training and I love the sense of achievement when I break a PB. Just before Christmas I finally managed to bench 80kg for 5 reps, beating my previous PB by 5kg and 2 reps. I was well chuffed and want to keep going and eventually break 90kg, maybe even 100kg. I enjoy training my legs too and have got my squat up to 120kg (albeit on a smith machine) and deadlift to 100kg, which I think I can push further. As any bloke who trains may or may not admit, I’d quite like to bulk up on muscle too, especially before summer. But there’s the kicker, these goals are not completely mutually exclusive, but they do tend to pull me in different directions.
I posted a strong man based training program a few days ago and I would love to have a go at it, but it is generally centered around explosive strength and raw strength, rather than stamina and prolonged exertion. While getting stronger is always good, for Tough Mudder I need to stay stronger for longer. At no point during the 2-3 hours I’m on that course is my 1RM squat or shoulder press really going to benefit me. So I guess I’m answering my own question here, I need to focus my goals into a more achievable and specific remit.
It makes sense that between now and August, I should work hard at getting my general fitness and conditioning level better. So that’s going to entail mostly cardio based training and some cross training. I’ll still throw the odd weights session in, but I’m going to limit it to maybe once a week, in favor of more endurance based training.
So the first 7 months of 2014 now are going to be comprised of:
Crossfit – for cardio, endurance, general conditioning and some strength
Running, lots of running, for distance and with hills
Boxing circuits – strength and stamina
Circuit training – with weights, super-sets and triple sets etc. with some HIIT
And some more running.
I’m also going to try and fit in some maximum interval training which will hopefully help with my stamina no end and increase my tolerance to lactic acid build up.
The plan is if I focus my training more to this end, I should be in good stead for Tough Mudder, with it will come faster 10k times and by rights I should burn some fat in the process. Hopefully I’ll lean up too, and then post-Mudder I can then think about achieving some more strength based goals (and bulking up a bit too). It does mean I will have to resist the temptation to do some straight up weight training and delay some of my goals, but 12 months will hopefully be enough to fit it all in. With some more focus, I feel like my goals are all achievable.
With that in mind, I’m going to hit the gym today and try this work out:
4 rounds, 20 reps for time.
Atomic burpees (burpee with a pull up)
Dumbell Clean to Press
Clapping push ups
Hopefully this will give me a good cardio, strength and muscular endurance work out. If I can still stand after, I may do the ‘Sally Up’ plank to finish. Wish me luck.