In the last two posts, I discussed the use of high-intensity training with functional movements to supercharge your physical training. Now I would like to discuss a third fundamental principle in the SEALFIT program which will allow you to train like Superman (or Superwoman…see end note). That principle is to…
Avoid routine by embracing constant variation.
Many think that the Navy SEALs are modern day Supermen. In the SEAL Teams, we trained hard and got the job done. One of our secrets was to never get into a rut. For instance, we would avoid taking the same route twice, and we changed up our patterns to maintain a low profile. This kept us out of harm’s way and from being an easy target. With our training, we also changed things up. One day we did PT, the next a run-swim-run, then an obstacle course. And our PT was never the same either. It turns out that this happens to be great advice for your own physical training as well.
Variation in your physical training stimulates your body, keeps you out of harm’s way in terms of burnout and injury, and makes you a difficult target for your “enemy” (perhaps your arch rival). In SEALFIT programming, I try to create this variation for you because I know, from personal experience (and from training many thousands of folks just like you), that you will likely fall back into your rutted patterns as soon as you get bored or think you have it figured out. By forcing you to change things up every day and never repeat the same workout, I am helping to ensure you will have a lifetime of injury-free training (mostly)…and in the process make you very hard to target!
Of course, this is not new and I am not a genius for figuring it out. P90X does it and calls it muscle confusion. CrossFit calls it constantly varied functional movements. And elite coaches have figured it out as well. California Strength of San Ramon, Calif., led by head coach David Spitz, has had remarkable success, producing five USA Olympic Lifting Champions and more than 20 medals in USA Olympic Lifting nationals. The reasons is chiefly that by constantly varying the exercises and other variables in the program, Coach Spitz is able to marginalize overusing movement patterns and are able to train more and harder because of it. His athletes avoid burnout and keep the injury risk low, while starting each day with an empty cup of expectations (except that they will train very hard) and then fill it to the brim.
If you are a mono-structural sports athlete this can be an exciting prospect for you. The typical endurance athlete performs just one form of movement, like running, six or seven days a week. Although you may be able to improve through increasing the overall load (mileage) or rate (speed) with that approach, the injury risk will eventually catch up to you. Over-stimulating the same muscles and movement patterns while pounding the same joints, tendons and ligaments relentlessly, is not pretty. With SEALFIT disciplined WOD training, you will produce athletic development of your entire mind-body system while continuing to do your skill-based training at a much-reduced volume.
This concept is even more crucial for the older athlete (read anyone over 30). Recent research at Wake Forest University has shown that varied strength and mobility training can do wonders to help an older athlete retain as much speed as possible as the years tick by. The study showed that for every decade that passed, runners who train with just running lose stride length and speed at the rate of 20% per decade. Mixing in the variation and functional strength / stamina training of SEALFIT would be a pleasant surprise for your body if you are in this predicament.
Like I mentioned earlier, by constantly varying exercises and workout patterns, you’re able to train with a higher intensity and move more load, more often. The potency is enhanced due to the stimulation of a greater neuroendocrine response when you train this way. That means that your nervous and hormonal systems produce more human growth hormone and testosterone for recovery. As a result, you get stronger faster, recover faster, incinerate fat faster and gain the lean muscle body of an elite athlete.
Trust me when I implore you to combine high-intensity, functional movement and variation—if your current program is missing any of these ingredients, you are missing out on your true performance potential and waiting for the inevitable next injury to sideline you.
Please mark your calendar for December 5th and join Matthew Reeve, me and the SEALFIT crew for our first annual “REEVE WOD.” This a charity workout to raise money for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which supports spinal cord injury research. Christopher Reeve, Matthew’s dad, was a childhood hero of mine as Superman, and the work he and his team are doing is making a big difference. Those attending our Unbeatable Mind Retreat will be doing a workout with my team and me at SEALFIT HQ. You and your team can participate wherever you are, or just follow us via live stream. The teams and individuals that get the most people to sponsor them will also win some insane prizes to be announced.
For more information, visit http://register.sealfit.com/reevewod/
Oh, and the answer to the quiz: Christopher Reeve was a talented all-around athlete, but despite his blue eyes and good looks, he was a slim guy…and Reeve refused to wear fake muscles under the suit. So in lieu of a bulked up costume, Reeve opted for an intense two-month training regimen supervised by former British weightlifting champion David Prowse, who played Darth Vader, in the suit in the original Star Wars films. The training regimen consisted of running in the morning, followed by two hours of weightlifting and ninety minutes on the trampoline….high intensity, functional movement and variation~! His Mathew Reeve, who will be joining us in December, is carrying on this tradition of training and is a big SEALFITer!