Less is More Sometimes


My experiment with The Punisher Workout has come to a close. After seven weeks of brutal routines twice a day I am exhausted and whooped. There have been few workouts in my experience that have equaled the effects of this past month and a half. My arms are bigger my legs thicker, and my waist smaller. The maximum weight in all my lifts has increased dramatically and I have achieved personal records in the Deadlift, Barbell Squat and Bench Press. In fact I’m going to need to buy a few more weight plates as I’ve maxed out on the weight I have. The key question though is this kind of workout for you?

The answer depends on your goals. A lot of my friends are training for Obstacle Racing and this type of workout is definitely not for them. In fact it’s probably the opposite of what they need to be doing. The Punisher Routine is designed primarily to achieve a certain look and secondary to add muscle mass and size. It was after all a workout for a movie star with nothing but time on his hands, and money to pay for food and protein. Therein lays my other issue with this workout. I believe my total results in size and growth were limited by my food budget. I just can’t afford to eat the protein required for massive growth gains; it’s just too expensive given the cost of food and protein supplements today.

My only other problem with this workout didn’t really make itself known until this past week and a half. I had noticed a constant feeling of fatigue and general lethargy. I would down a double shot of NO-Xplode pre-workout supplement and was yawning ten minutes later. I was having trouble sleeping at night and couldn’t understand why. This weekend the truth hit me like a ton of bricks though and is much of the reason why I have decided to end this training cycle; over-training.

Two a day workouts on a limited food budget and my usual all or nothing workout attitude had left my body rundown and unable to catch-up. I was literally too tired to sleep good and the exhaustive workouts twice a day, were taxing my body’s ability to repair and rebuild. Given the gains in size and power I have made this past several weeks I cannot help but wonder what I could have done with just one workout a day.

At this point I’ll explain why less is more. My sport is filled with daily stories of insane workouts lasting hours a day. In fact it seems to be the norm. Looking at the physiques of those doing the workouts it’s hard to argue with the logic. However that logic falls apart when you understand that I’m looking for a different effect then most of my friends. I’m not preparing for an obstacle course or event or a sport. I’m after a different goal. This is the point in which you the reader need to ask yourself a very deep question; what is your goal.

If you want to build a muscular yet lean physique then chances are you’re training too much and not resting enough. If endurance is your goal by all means you should train everyday and work yourself into exhaustion. However exhaustion equals stress and stress combined with inadequate rest, and nutrition equals cortisol production and fat retention despite the volume of physical activity. It’s the reason why many CrossFit athletes can throw up impressive times and accomplishments on WOD’s yet still appear overweight and superficially out of shape. If they could only combine they’re short intense workouts with a great balanced and healthy diet with good rest they’d be truly phenomenal in appearance and ability. Many people will say after reading that last sentence, “what’s he talking about? I am muscular and lean and I train everyday!” To that I reply are you really where you want to be though or do you find yourself continually chasing after a goal that keeps moving?

I train people in weightloss and the best way to lose weight is to build lean muscle. Lean muscle is built by stressing your body to the point where hormonal changes are triggered to compensate. Once you go past that point you’re just destroying muscle, muscle which must be rebuilt. Rebuilding muscle and building more muscle is not the same thing. This is also the difference between strength endurance; say the ability to lift 135lbs 100 times and absolute strength, the ability to lift 300lbs 5 times. Know the difference decide which you want and choose a workout accordingly.

Since I’ve spent much of the last year training as an endurance athlete I’ve decided to experiment with some body building and weightloss routines. As a trainer my goal is to find the most efficient way to shred body-fat. Hour after hour of endurance exercises just isn’t very efficient. My clients need to get the maximum effect with the minimum dose. Don’t confuse this with minimal effort. The kind of workouts I’m talking about use intensity and attention to form that 95% of athletes in my field just don’t have. The workout I’m talking about triggers massive amounts of growth hormone production and protein synthesis in as little as 30 minutes of lifting yet raises the metabolism and aerobic production of energy for hours later.
That’s where the “Plan of Attack” comes in. It’s the 8 week program I’m about to embark on to prepare myself for beach weather and the bathing suit season. I still have goals for obstacle racing this year but I’ve realized obstacle racing and competitive finishing position is not what my life is about. More than anything I am a fitness professional, and I have to explore ways to help my clients lose weight effectively and build the body they want. That way has to be about more than beating them into submission every workout. Anyone can tell you to do intervals and aerobics until you puke and yes you will lose weight. But you could accomplish more with less if you only took the time to think about how your body works and responds to your exercises.

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