I thought I would try to give a full background on how I exercise and why, but instead I will just share what a Heroic Stoic’s exercise regimen looks like, by briefly describing how I exercise Heroically and Stoically. Ready? Basically, here it is:
I have an intense (every set to failure), short (less than 20 minutes) weight training session, which I perform infrequently (every 6 – 10 days). I try to ensure that I get lots of rest (sleep, as well as adequate muscle recovery between workout sessions). I perform no classically aerobic stuff (No running, no treadmill, cycle, etc.). Of course, nutrition is a key factor in my health, and I generally (about 80% of the time) eat unprocessed, unrefined, and simple carbohydrate-free foods, but I will type about that another day (for now, think “Meat, Fruit, Leafy Green Veggies”). My last workout was on August 28th, and was as follows:
- Leg Squat for 1 minute and 47 seconds – until I could do no more
- Incline Hammer Press for 1 minute and 13 seconds – until I could do no more
- Cable Back Pull for 1 minute and 40 seconds – until I could do no more
- Shoulder Hammer Press for 1 minute and 45 seconds – until I could do no more
- Pullover Machine 1 minute and 43 seconds –until I could do no more
When I say “until I could do no more,” I mean I performed as many repetitions as I could until either I could physically or mentally do no more. This means, I either could not hold the weight up or I felt so tired/fatigued that I HAD to stop….this is what is commonly referred to as “to failure.” I usually rest about 2 minutes in between exercises, so the whole thing took about 18 minutes. When I can do squats for more than 2 minutes (I didn’t), I increase the weight. When I can perform the other exercises for more than 1 minute and 30 seconds (like with cable back pull), I increase that weight.
As I mentioned, I perform this workout or something like it every 6 to 10 days (depends on my schedule). That’s it! Any other exercise I do is for fun. OK, I admit sometimes I sprint because I get bored (again, maybe for another post).
So what are the results? I am strong and fit, I am full of energy, I have a slim enough/moderately athletic build (picture below), and as of now I have no serious pathologies. I am almost never sick. Looks aren’t everything (thank goodness), but for those who need a visual:
Make no mistake, my workouts are not easy, and they require great mental toughness. I didn’t invent this way of exercising, it is traditionally called High Intensity Training (HIT), and I’ve been influenced by some of its well-known proponents, such as Arthur Jones, Mike Mentzer, Ellington Darden, and Ken Hutchins.
However, I owe my workout philosophy to the book, Body by Science: A Research Based Program to Get the Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week. I have found no more comprehensive, instructive, and motivational piece on High Intensity Training, than what is found in this book by Dr. Doug McGuff and John Little.