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Continued Evolution

May 24, 2010

The following is from Martin Rooney (

“I can’t get my little boy to stop eating sugar,” the mother said to the wise man. “Please help me.”

“Come back and see me in two weeks,” the wise man said.

With a quizzical look on her face, the mother reluctantly walked away. Two weeks later, she brought her son to see the wise man.

“Stop eating sugar,” he said to the little boy.

“Why did we have to wait two weeks for that?”

“Because,” the wise man said, “I myself had to stop eating sugar.”

I love that anecdote because it should instill a mantra in each of us to only “practice what you preach.”  I have the pleasure of training with my fiance each time I ‘m in the gym and her biggest complaint is when I have her do something that I either don’t or won’t do.  It’s why I feel the need to continue to tinker with my diet and training programming, and why I think it’s absolutely necessary to continue to self experiment.  There are so many correct ways to do things. 

Jim Wendler said, “we all agree on 99% of training concepts, but it’s that last 1%; the minutia, that we’ll fight to the death to defend.”  It is in this 1% that I am currently treading, attempting to deliver a worthwhile, overarching “plan,” even if it’s going to be a loose one. 

The main thing is: to bottle up how our ancestors trained into a scheduled workout can be challenging.  They were carrying buffalo back to camp, not because they wanted to look good naked, but because Mrs. Grok and Grok Jr. were hungry.  Can we bottle this emotion up at the gym?  Sure – we can visualize that dress 2 sizes away fitting like a glove or tap into some Zen-like state to channel a similar intensity from some (dark) place deep in our brains. 

Even if you nail the “intensity,” what is the most efficient way to train all the facets of fitness that our cave-dwelling predecessors HAD to have just to survive?  That’s the rub.  PBB is about building the body from the inside out to achieve a high level of physical health by developing all parameters of strength, aerobic/anaerobic fitness and body composition.  We train our bodies to express the strength, fitness and look we want to achieve, then eat our way there.  

We know that hunter-gatherers typically hunt 3-4 times per week on non-consecutive days.  We also know that most workout plans call for this same level of training.  4 days per week to train vastly different energy systems, improve muscular output and develop neuromuscular efficiency means that exercise selection is key.  To properly split the workouts up, we have to elicit the most efficient amount of stress for a given amount of time in the weightroom/field/etc.  Full-body workouts are a necessity, as are full-body movements such as the Squat, Deadlift, Miliary Press and Chin/pullups.  These lifts recruit the most motor units in the most efficient manner possible and allow us to quickly gain both strength and hormonal adaptations – ie. these lifts let our system know it’s been in a fight.  Also, when not lifting for strength, sprinting and “work-work” (aka strongman training) are the most efficient means of efficient development of the anaerobic and aerobic systems (check this if you still don’t believe…) and also improve strength. 

Wow, tofo, you’ve reinvented training… I’ve never heard of a program focusing on lifting heavy and intervals!  Very observant.  I have some tricks up my sleeve and these will be outlined going forward, so bear with me.  The primary focus of the PBB lifting/conditioning program is getting stronger, but it’s how were going to go about it that will be a little different – were going to hang out in that 1% to try to squeeze the most out of a 4 day program and still leave room for some individual adaptations and creativity.  Can I be more vague?  Probably not, and I’m sorry (that I’m not sorry).

May the force be with you.

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